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June 24, 2013


In a recent sports report, retired running back, LaDanian Tomlinson, attributed the struggles that NY Jets starting quarterback, Mark Sanchez is experiencing to his lack of self confidence. We all have ideas about what self confidence looks like, but do we really know what it?

In a comparative study of confidence in single children and children with siblings, Dr. Mamisha Goel considers self confidence as one of the complex personality traits that combines a person’s “thoughts and feelings, strivings and hopes, fears and fantasies, his view of what he is, what he has been, what he might become, and his attitudes pertaining to his worth.” Dr. Mamish Goel’s Comparitive Study.

Self confidence is tremendously important to attain if we are to have a happy, successful life and unfortunately it is also something many of us struggle to attain throughout most of our lives.

It is infectious. Confident people inspire confidence in others. They are more likely to gain approval and acceptance in work, with friends, with peers and in their personal relationships. That is because self-confident people are generally more positive – they tend to believe in themselves and their abilities. They live life more fully than a person with a lack of confidence. A lack of self confidence often produces a sense of negativity and is self-destructive, preventing someone from living a full, productive life.

There are two main ingredients to self-confidence. The first is a sense of self-efficacy. This means we see ourselves being able to master skills and achieve our goals in that area. We build self-confidence because we show ourselves that by learning and working hard on something, we’ll succeed. This is what gives people the drive to accept challenges in life and to persist, even when things don’t go as planned or intended.

The second ingredient is self-esteem. This comes from a combination of things; one of which is the feeling that we have the approval of the people around us. It also comes from our own feelings of competency at what we do, feeling that we are doing the right or virtuous thing, and believing that we can successfully complete what we set our minds to.

Since self-confidence is not something we are born with, and something that develops in us over time (hopefully), the good news is that it is something that we can learn to build and improve.

It is not something that happens quickly, however, because a solid sense of confidence comes from real achievements and accomplishments.

Believe In You

Believe In You

It starts with an honest assessment of where we are in life, where we want to head, and a firm investment in whatever it takes to get there. The first step is to begin. It may sound ultra-simple, but the first commitment is to start doing something about it. Why not compose an accounting of past achievements that have already been successfully accomplished? It can serve as a strong foundation to demonstrate ability that we DO have. It will do us good to refer to our past success often as we start of our new challenge.

SWOT Analysis

SWOT Analysis

The other day, I accepted a writing assignment to do a SWOT analysis for someone. This is a technique that many businesses use to evaluate the Strengths – S and Weaknesses – W that the business possesses. By objectively assessing strengths and weaknesses we possess, we can then think about the Opportunities – O and Threats – T that we believe lie ahead.

In this sense, people are not very different than businesses. When we want to accomplish something, if we call upon objective thinking about ourselves, we should be able to have a pretty balanced idea of what we’re up against; thereby increasing our odds for being successful at it.

The ability to set and achieve goals is the heart and soul of self-confidence. Devote the time and attention necessary to be realistic about what matters the most to you and what you want out of your life. Refer back to the analysis you made of your strengths and weaknesses and set goals that accentuate your strengths and minimize your weaknesses. Think ahead to your opportunities and let them serve as a consistent source of motivation for you. And finally, understand your threats and do what you can to strengthen yourself against them.

This process is crucial prior to being able to determine your first step. Once you’ve completed the analysis and planning, make sure you have a clear, precise first step outlined.


I’m a licensed clinical social worker and have worked extensively as a counselor with children, adolescents, couples and families. I combine professional experience in the mental health field along with my love of writing to provide insight into real-life experiences and relationships. I hope my down-to-earth approach to living a happier, more meaningful life is easy to understand and just as easy to start implementing right away for positive results!

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