I am taking part in a 30 day writing challenge from Juliet Peay. We are supposed to write and publish our response to a prompt every day for 30 days. So, I’m just going to post here.

Today’s prompt is “What does confidence mean to me?” and I have some thoughts.

What does confidence mean to me?

I talk about confidence a lot in the context of my coaching practice, because the people whom I coach often lack confidence. They need to stand up in front of audiences – their peers, their bosses, customers, analysts – and present information that, at best, is full of uncertainty and guesses. This uncertainty is due to the nature of their work – it’s fundamentally about predicting the future.

To me confidence is being able to manage yourself well, and create value for your audience, guide them to where you want them, despite not being certain of much.

I have confidence myself. I don’t know if I always did, but I remember having it for a long time. I don’t get nervous about getting in front of an audience. Well, that’s not totally true – there are always some nerves, I must admit. But mostly, I look forward to it, especially when I’m able to prepare enough.

This confidence about standing in front of an audience is only one aspect of confidence, but it’s often the most challenging aspect.

What are the components of confidence?

  • Realizing that I know what I know, and often, that’s more than anyone else. At any rate, it’s enough!
  • Realizing that if I don’t know something, it’s not the end of the world. If I get a question I don’t know the answer to, I won’t lose face by admitting I don’t know the answer. And often I do know enough of the answer that I can move forward.
  • My ability to have confidence definitely depends on my having built a reputation for being competent, for being a good communicator, for being someone who can simplify a complex situation, both in terms of finding the solution and in talking about the solution.
About the author

Your host and author, Nils Davis, is a long-time product manager, consultant, trainer, and coach. He is the author of The Secret Product Manager Handbook, many blog posts, a series of video trainings on product management, and the occasional grilled pizza.

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