Confidence (or self-confidence) comes when you believe that you have great value, much to offer, and are worthwhile in your uniqueness. Are you a confident introvert? If not, this is something you can change. You can gain confidence in your worth and uniqueness and the gifts you have to offer the world. Sometimes introverts may lack confidence as they are turned inward more often than outward. Often introverts need to think before speaking and sometimes are not given the time. Being in unfamiliar situations can cause a lack of confidence as well. We all have individual strengths and needs. Confidence comes in knowing what our own strengths are and not comparing ourselves to others. I have gained much confidence in myself through gaining self-awareness and understanding my strengths and needs.
Self-Awareness Can Improve Confidence
At a recent conference, I reflected on some examples of how becoming more self-aware has helped me gain confidence. I often go to conferences for work; they are always on different topics and are in a variety of formats. Because the topics and settings are always changing, these types of activities can be uncomfortable situations for introverts.
Confidence (or self-confidence) comes when you believe that you have great value, much to offer, and are worthwhile in your uniqueness.
This particular conference I attended was a 2-day conference. There was some lecture, some panels, and a lot of small group discussion. Throughout the conference, we were placed in small groups to discuss various topics. I knew a few people attending, but most of the people I was meeting for the first time. There was one discussion where I was not that familiar with the topic, but everyone was supposed to express an opinion. As an introvert, I usually need to think before speaking and I like to have given the topic at hand some thought before expressing my view. In this case, I didn’t have a fully-formed opinion that I was ready to discuss. The self-doubt began to creep in. What if I had to speak? An introvert can feel great pressure in these situations.
In this case, I relaxed, listened to the discussion and made a couple comments on the comments of others. I was not put on the spot, but if I had been I have learned to be honest. I could say “let me think about that,” “someone else took my answer,” “this is not something I am directly familiar with so I will pass,” or “let me get back to you.” I also could have done a little preparation and studied conference topics I was unfamiliar with ahead of time. This of course is not always possible with a busy schedule, so I have learned to be comfortable with my expertise and admitting when I am not the expert on a particular topic.
Confidence Comes in Recognizing Your Strengths
In another discussion, I was an expert, and probably monopolized most of the conversation. The topic was something I had given much thought to and had a lot of experience in. I had a lot to say without further thought needed. I am very good at seeing the big picture of things and analyzing all the information I can get my hands on and then coming up with some great ideas. With this strength of mine, I need to recognize that I do need some time to think and often think alone. I also need to recognize that when I do come across an unfamiliar topic in conversation that there is nothing wrong with me, I just need more time to process. I may admit this or try to prepare ahead of time. I don’t worry if I am being too “quiet”, but learn from the conversation and make my appropriate contribution. I may need to ask for time to think about something and I may even need to get back to someone after the conversation or discussion.
This is one example of how self-awareness has given me more self-confidence. I think this is a common struggle for introverts as we often need to think before speaking. And often we need time to prepare and ideally think about ideas ahead of time. Where else do you need a boost in confidence? Understanding and embracing your uniqueness can give you that boost… not in trying to be like someone else, but bringing your best to each situation.