Why Confidence Matters in Business (And How to Boost It)

Confidence is self-belief in your own talents, skills, capabilities, and worth. It’s also the degree to which you believe you can achieve something or be successful in a future pursuit. And while it’s really just a state of mind, it’s one of the most important ingredients in entrepreneurship. Do you know how to create more of it?

Why Confidence Matters

“Confidence impacts every other psychological contributor to performance in business,” writes Jim Taylor, Ph.D. “If you’re confident, you’re going to be motivated, relaxed, focused, and have mostly positive emotions. In contrast, if you lack confidence, you will likely feel unmotivated, stressed, distracted, and experience mostly negative emotions.”

Confidence and success share an interesting relationship. Some say confidence breeds success, while others believe success leads to confidence – and there’s a case to be made for both. However, one thing is clear: It’s virtually impossible to be successful in business without some degree of confidence. If you’re lacking in this area, you need to reorient your approach.

4 Tips for Boosting Confidence

You don’t need an infallible master plan – you just need to be proactive. Sometimes it’s the simplest steps and habits that make the biggest difference. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Take Risks

Sometimes the safest play is the best play. But if you’re constantly playing things safe, you tiptoe around every important issue. It’s wise to take the occasional risk.

Risk-taking forces you into situations where you have to take action. And when you’re successful, it gives you a little signpost that you can look back on in the future. It allows you to say, “No big deal – I’ve done this before!”

2. Dress to Impress

What you wear has a direct, discernable impact on how you feel about yourself. Unfortunately, most people wear clothing that (a) doesn’t fit, and/or (b) doesn’t feel good. But with some simple tweaks to your wardrobe, you can turn this confidence killer into a confidence booster.

For men, the key is to buy slim tailored fit suits that work with your body, rather than against it. For women, it’s about having the right mixture of conservative business attire and spunky fashion. Colorful pops – like a tasteful statement necklace – go a long way towards making a statement.

3. Become More Assertive

“Part of being confident is being believable, authoritative and communicating well,” entrepreneur Shaun Thompson writes. “This doesn’t mean going over the top by being disingenuous, argumentative and monopolizing conversations.”

You can achieve confidence by being assertive. This is where you move from being a passive member of a group to a contributing member. It involves speaking up, taking social cues, and adding value to conversations and situations.

4. Be Prepared

Do you remember when you were a student and you forgot to do an assignment for class? Naturally, this lack of preparedness caused you to put your head down and avoid eye contact with the teacher. The last thing you wanted was to be called on.

Now contrast this with a time where you read the book, did the homework, and felt like you knew the material frontwards and backwards. How did your body language and focus shift? Instead of trying to avoid being noticed, your hand shot up and you spoke freely.

When you’re prepared, you’re far more confident in your ability to contribute value. Thus, if you want to feel more confident in business meetings and client pitches, start by doing your homework.

Adding it All Up

As intangible as confidence is, it’s arguably one of the most important factors in finding and maintaining success. While difficult, the key is to separate your self-confidence from your results. In other words, don’t let the ups and downs of your career as an entrepreneur send your confidence on a rollercoaster. Results do matter, but they aren’t the only factor.

Instead, your confidence should be a quiet one – firmly rooted in your identity, higher beliefs, and a peace of mind that you’re pursuing what’s best. Ironically, when you tie your confidence to these stable pillars, you actually increase your odds of being successful. In turn, this has the ability to boost your confidence even more – creating a powerful, self-feeding cycle that will take you to new heights.