What is confidence? How to build confidence?

Confidence – that wonderful feeling that so many others seem to have so easily, but when it comes to generating it for ourselves, can sometimes seem impossible.

Having confidence can be an incredible determinant of how we live our lives and what we achieve for ourselves, and the lack of confidence can also really hold us back.

It’s as though confidence is a tangible resource that’s supposed to be proportional to our experience or ability - and yet others can have confidence despite no experience whatsoever.

But what exactly IS confidence? My clients often come to me saying something like “I’m not a confident person and it’s holding me back’… or ‘I don’t have the confidence to do what I really want to do”, but when I ask them what confidence actually means to them, they’re surprised to realise they’ve never actually thought about it. And yet they know they need it!

To build confidence, it’s important to get a good understanding of what it actually is.  And part of my work as a coach isn’t to ‘turn my clients into a confident people or ‘help them to get more confidence’, because this is not what confidence is.

Instead, I help them to think differently about confidence and themselves, and that in itself can create transformational results.

So here I am going to outline some truths about confidence – what it is, and what it isn’t, so that you have a more accurate understanding of what it actually means.


1)   CONFIDENCE IS NOT the same as self esteem.

Self-esteem is your belief in your VALUE as a person, as a human being. Lack of self esteem is often recognised as thinking that one doesn't matter, an overall negative perception of self, no trust in ones own opinions, difficulty accepting compliments, a lack of social skills and failure to identify ones own strengths and weaknesses.

 CONFIDENCE IS a belief in your ability to do something.

It’s not about YOU, but about what you can DO. It is possible to have high self esteem and low confidence and vice versa. Why is it important to know the difference? Because often people are trying to fix the wrong problem and then wonder why it's not working...


2)   CONFIDENCE IS NOT a personality trait.

There is no such thing as ‘I’m not a confident person’. Because that would mean that you’re not confident at doing ANYTHING. There are some things that you feel confident at doing, and some that you don't, therefore, are you a confident person or not?

CONFIDENCE IS related to a specific task.

As I mentioned previously, it’s about your belief in your ability to do something. Therefore if you ever find yourself saying 'I'm not a confident person' change it to 'I don't feel confident at [specific task]' Isn’t that suddenly a lot more manageable, when we isolate the specific task that we don’t feel confident at doing?


3) CONFIDENCE IS NOT a requirement to do something.

You might not feel confident at speaking on stage, but that doesn't mean you CANT do it. If I threatened to take your life unless you went and spoke on stage, would you still say you cant do it? No, you would go and do it. Therefore you don’t need confidence in order to do something.

CONFIDENCE IS the result you get FROM doing something.

Is a toddler confident in their ability to walk? Probably not. But they GET confident by doing it. Were you confident the first time you drove a car? Probably not. But you increased your confidence, the more you practiced. You don’t need confidence to go and do things, you need courage.


4) CONFIDENCE IS NOT something you have. 

You have a right hand. You have a left hand. You don’t HAVE confidence. Confidence isn't real. It's not something you possess. 

CONFIDENCE IS something you feel. 

And what you FEEL is dependent on what you think or believe. Confidence therefore is the feeling you get from believing that you’re capable of doing something. So if you want to feel more confident? Believe in your ability.



It's not a set level throughout our lives and it’s not that something people have more of than others. We aren’t born with a certain degree of confidence that we can access. 

CONFIDENCE IS something you can increase and decrease.

You have everything you need in order to be as confident as you desire. Why? Because confidence is just a feeling, which is based on our beliefs. And our beliefs can change. You may have once believed in Santa Claus or the tooth fairy. But just because you believed them, didn’t make it true, and you also changed those beliefs (I hope). You can also change your beliefs about yourself and your ability.

6) CONFIDENCE IS NOT the absence of fear. 

Being confident does not mean you're NOT afraid, or nervous, or not feeling outside of your comfort zone. 

CONFIDENCE IS acting in-spite of fear. 

You can believe in your ability to do something but still be nervous about doing it.  You don’t have to wait for the uncomfortable feelings to disappear before you can feel confident. Be confident in your ability to handle whatever you’re fearing might happen.


Lack of confidence is probably the number 1 issue that my clients say they're struggling with. But look what they have to say by the time we've finished working together: 

"The impact that Aimee’s coaching has had is remarkable. It has strengthened my self-esteem and confidence and given me a step-by-step approach to achieving my goals, both career-wise and in my personal life." - Emma

"Aimee has made me realise if there’s anything you’re not 100% happy with, you have the power to change it. Prior to coaching, I was directionless, less confident and anxious. I’m no longer single, my health, finances and my career have never been better, and I am now more in control of my life and more confident as a result.” - Sarah

"The coaching helped me to discover not only personal reserve of strength, but also helped me develop the self-confidence to take control over my life path. Today, I am thriving with the self-confidence that coaching has helped me develop within myself. My self-awareness and ability to better recognise and understand how I think and feel in different situations has helped me deal with what I thought was uncontrollable anxiety and also helped me determine some key goals and ways to reach those. I’ve even developed into someone who not only believes in herself, but is also a cheerleader for herself, and I am truly excited about my future. I’ve become healthier, lost weight, and have become an outgoing person, now comfortably initiating conversation with strangers - something that used to terrify me. Thanks to Aimee’s support, I have also been offered a promotion that in the beginning, I didn’t even think was possible.” - Alex

So if you’re interested in creating results like this for yourself, and be able to feel more confident and able to achieve the things you want to in life, contact me to find out more about arranging a trial session for private, one-to-one coaching.

Aimee Teesdale