Written by: Lily Woi, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Confidence comes in all shapes and sizes. Everyone has a different interpretation of what confidence feels and looks like, depending on their personality.
The most dominant and prevalent interpretation of confidence is still based on how loud and outgoing you are. For those who are more introverted and reserved, this is unfortunate.
I am one of those.
I am a shy, sensitive, reserved, and introverted person. I was always told by people I needed to be louder, to speak up, and that my voice is unheard. It made me very self-conscious.
Of course, all this advice was given with the most well-meaning intentions.
But it backfired.
I struggled so much because I kept trying to be someone I’m not. My confidence level tanked. On my worst days, I remember hiding in the bathroom stall because I got so overwhelmed and self-conscious of my insecurities.
That all changed when I learned another type of confidence. A type of confidence that fits my personality. A type of confidence that led me to be who I am today.
And that is Quiet Confidence.
To break it down, quiet confidence is the inner belief and certainty about one’s abilities, worth, and values.
I am able to now center myself on this belief, to go about my work and life knowing that I am capable and that there is no need to prove myself to anyone.
What a powerful feeling.
I’ve managed to build up my confidence in a way that I am unapologetically proud of who I am. To confidently know that I don’t need to be the first person to speak or the most or the loudest. Knowing that (and seeing) that one sentence is powerful enough when shared with value and the belief that I am capable.
I created a space for myself and stepped into it with full, unapologetic authority.
Commanding attention and respect in a quiet way.
I’m living proof that a shy, sensitive, reserved, introverted can exude confidence, be seen, be heard, and be respected by others.
My mentor prompted me on this journey in the early days of my career. He noticed my struggles and insecurities. He sat me down and told me, – it’s okay if you are not the loudest in the room. You don’t need to be loud to command attention, to show you’re capable, to show you’re confident. There are many other ways.
Figure out what ways work for you without sacrificing yourself.
Here are some of my learnings on being quietly confident in a world full of noise.
Focus on the internal and external. Stop focusing only on external things like straightening your back, lowering your voice, or even saying certain phrases. It doesn’t work if you do not work on your inner self. In a way, all of these external things can easily feel gimmicky and inauthentic because it doesn’t align to your internal view. Focus on both.
Connect and live your value. Figure out your core values and understand why those are important to you. There are a lot of free exercises and tests you can use on the web. Live by your values and use them to guide your decisions. Knowing deep down that what you’re doing aligns with your value gives you confidence as you know you’re on the right path. It doesn’t mean you don’t falter or don’t deviate from your path, but you’ll be able to learn, adapt, grow, bounce back and get back on your path.
Actively listen without judgment. Be curious, listen more than you speak, and give people your undivided attention. That means no multitasking and no trying to think about your response before the person even finishes speaking. A good way to test how actively you listen is how quickly you’re able to respond to the other person – if you can immediately respond, chances are you’re not actively listening. When you’re curiously listening, there is no right or wrong answer. There are only learnings, and through that lens, confidence comes easier.
Speak to add value. Ask more questions than telling. And then only speak when your point adds to the conversation. Whether it is to refocus the conversation, to bring in another perspective, to share your own perspective, to emphasize or reiterate an important point, etc. Don’t ever feel you need to speak for the sake of speaking. Take that pressure of from yourself. Sharing one valuable insight, perspective or question is more memorable than sharing 10 filler statements.
Know and play to your strengths. To be confident, you need to know with certainty what you’re good at and be able to play to it. But only for the things you’re actually excited and energized with. Just because you’re good with numbers, it doesn’t mean you need to work in a numbers profession if you hate it. Playing to your strengths should leave you with more energy, not less. There’s also no need to be modest and reserved about your strengths. Seek out opportunities to utilize more of your strengths. It both adds value to other people’s work and life, as well as, it’s an instant confidence booster for yourself.
Embrace your weaknesses. Lastly, it is equally important to acknowledge and accept your weaknesses. You don’t need to be a superhero and be good at everything. No one is perfect. Be courageous enough to embrace your weakness and ask for help. Also, you don’t need to improve all of your weaknesses. It could also be as simple as surrounding yourself with people that can complement your weakness. But to be able to do that, you first must be able to embrace it, be okay with feeling vulnerable and ask anyway.
There you go. I’ve been there – the shy, quiet, reserved, awkward introvert. It doesn’t need to stay that way. I’ve learned how to overcome and develop solid sustainable confidence that fits me. I’m now able to command attention without speaking and, most importantly, without feeling self-conscious. You can do the same.
If you are keen to go deeper, I’m offering a complimentary 30 minutes call for my loyal Brainz readers. Book here.
With much love,
Lily Woi, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine Lily Woi is a professionally trained coach and an expert in helping individuals to accelerate their career progression and develop authentic leadership capabilities. She has spent years working in corporate consultancy training and advising clients to deliver multimillion transformation programs before starting her career coaching business (Lily Woi Coaching). She develops current and future leaders to be self-directed, resilient to change, grow their presence and build authentic leadership styles that motivate and inspire others. She is known for her personalized approach, tailoring content to individuals' learning preferences and work experiences to instill real practical change in an enjoyable way.