The Real Key to Being Confident

photo by Ryan Cryar on Unsplash

The courage to be vulnerable is not about winning or losing, it’s about the courage to show up when you can’t predict or control the outcome.

Brenee Brown

Over the summer I helped a friend of mine who is Director of College Counseling at a private high school here in Los Angeles. Stephanie (names changed) hosted a college essay writing boot camp for incoming seniors. Applying for college is stressful for myriad reasons – one of them being that a student has to submit a personal essay that gives the colleges insight into their character.

I was moved by the students’ efforts and by their stories – stories that were raw and jumbled, in some cases inchoate, and all of them real and vulnerable.

Over lunch I shared these feelings with one of the teachers. Lara smiled and said, “They haven’t learned how to bullshit vulnerability!”

I hadn’t thought of it that way – and she was right. These high school seniors haven’t figured out how to pretend to be vulnerable because they haven’t learned how to lie to themselves – yet!

As the boot camp was winding down, I had a call from Walter, an attorney whose daughter was getting married that weekend. He needed help with his toast. The outline he shared with me sounded less like a toast and more like a roast. My first reaction was – ouch!

Walter didn’t want his toast to sound “sappy” which was a lighthearted way of saying that he didn’t want to be vulnerable.

Earlier this month, at one of my workshops on public speaking, a young woman asked me how a person goes about “getting” confidence.

Since my website is “the business of confidence,” I should have a canned answer – something pithy and clever that will make people smile.

But, I don’t!

How does a person go about “getting” confidence? 

Is confidence something you get?


Is confidence something you do?

I’ve been thinking about the times I’ve been confident and the times I’ve not been confident. 

In all those situations where I felt confident, I was able to imagine the ME who I wanted to be. I was able to imagine that ME because I was willing to be vulnerable. I know it sounds counter-intuitive as confidence is often associated with cockiness.

When I think about some of my 2022 clients who have gone about the “business of confidence,” I think about Darren who became a lawyer – even though he had gotten his college degree only after being a union truck driver for thirty years.

I think about Nathan who has become the “go to” guy for his clients even though in the early days of his career he’d had difficulty starting a conversation in a Starbucks setting. 

I think about Ryan who wanted to stop being angry at his team and stop treating them with the harshness his father had treated him. And who has stopped.

What does it mean to “be confident” for each of these folks? 

Being confident is all about making peace with where you’re not confident 

Knowing that you no longer want to be uncomfortable for all the wrong reasons.

Growing in confidence where you are


Acting out in the manner that resembles who you are determined to be.

To be confident is to be willing to be uncomfortable – willing to be vulnerable.

Flip your fear. Find out what intimidates you and instead of shying away from it, be so inspired that you race towards it.

Lewis Howes


AND – you can only race toward your fear if you are vulnerable.

Confidence doesn’t guarantee success.

You could do something you had been afraid of and then discover you don’t have the skills to succeed.


What you finally do ultimately doesn’t give you what you thought you wanted.


Gives you a different kind of success.

Confidence demands that we be willing to grow from the consequences of the choices we make – from both the successes and the mistakes.

Confident people practice being vulnerable by running towards their fear.

Rummage around these questions:

·     What is it you’re really afraid of?

·     How valid is the fear?

·     In what way YES and what way NO?

·     What is your goal?

·     Is it a goal or a wish?

·     Are you willing to be vulnerable so as to make that goal come real?

·     Where is your support to cheer on your vulnerability?

I don’t think confidence is something you “get.” 

Confidence is a decision – choosing action over paralysis.

Those students I helped with their college essays did not “b.s.” their vulnerability as they only knew how to be vulnerable.

Father-of-the-bride Warren learned that the greatest gift he could give his daughter and new son-in-law was the gift of his raw emotions.

The “business of confidence” is really the business of becoming comfortable being uncomfortable. It’s only in that uncomfortableness that one lives confidently.

now THAT’s the business of confidence!

The 10 Things All Trustworthy, Trust-Generating Pros Do


You can’t be everything to everyone,

but you can be something great for someone. 

Arielle Jackson



Although I only play miniature golf I had the privilege to speak at the Titleist Performance World Golf Summit. I spoke on how coaches, trainers and teachers can create trust between themselves and their clients.


I explained that no matter what your field trust springs up when your client believes that you “see” and understand them.


In my talk I highlighted the basic communication skills that go into creating trust: listening, managing emotions, understanding your biases and using well-chosen words.


Since that talk, I’ve recognized a marked difference between those who are able to create a trusting relationship and those who seem robotic. Yes, clearly there’s a difference in communication skills BUT there’s also that “something else.”


I’m now convinced that the “something else” hovers around whether the coach, teacher, healer (substitute “manager” or “leader”) trusts their own individual self – trusts not just their professional skill set, but trusts their own person and their ability to enter into a relationship with others.


In order to establish trust with your client you need to trust your own self.


What does it mean to trust your own self?


While it’s about being “confident”, it’s about more than confidence. When you trust your self certain observable things happen – or at least, you’re willing to let happen.


Trusting yourself means that you –


  1. Believe what you’re doing is worthwhile and you’re committed to the job. Golf legend Scott Foley said it best: “I’m here to touch the individual lives of the people that I work with. I was raised on the idea that when you wake up in the morning and when you go to bed at night the goal is to leave the world in a better place than you found it.” 
  2. Readily and willingly make yourself vulnerable and are not easily embarrassed.
  3. Experience empathy for what your client is feeling, thinking.
  4. Respect failure and mistakes and so are patient because you know the process demands it.
  5. Convey knowledge and competency with a non-arrogant alertness so that a potential problem is addressed with, “here’s how we’ll handle it.”
  6. Telegraph joy in what you’re doing through a palpable sense of liveliness, exchange and laughter.
  7. Focus on the client and are not self-absorbed because the on-going dynamic of the relationship is paramount.
  8. Understand the inherent power of story – realizing that a command of facts alone doesn’t generate trust.
  9. Go about your business rooted in the belief that the ultimate goal is to hear a client say, “I hadn’t thought of that before.” It’s all about discovery.
  10. Are grateful – for the skill, the client, the opportunity. Everything rests on this.  Seriously, have you ever met an ingrate you trusted?  How can there be trust without gratitude?


I think these ten traits flow from being able to answer the most basic and simple of questions: “Who do I want to be?”


Answer that question and you will inevitably come to trust yourself – and so create a trusting relationship with your clients.


A recent client of mine told me that he wants to be known for five characteristics: Intriguing / interesting / powerful / knowledgeable / humble.


He believes that he is these words and also that he can become “more” of these words.


I’ve been working with him only a short while but I can see how those words mark him and why his business practice is getting noticed.


The truest of truths is that people will most trust you when you trust yourself. 


Why?  Because the more you trust yourself, the more you’ll –

  • trust your client
  • trust the process of the relationship
  • help the client trust him / her self


Trust is a circular experience.


A client or colleague trusts you when they believe you “see” them.

You can only see them when you see and trust yourself.

The more you trust yourself, the more you can help your client trust his or her own self. 

Help a client trust their own self and they will come to believe that they can “do it” – whatever skill that “it” might be.


Ultimately, the circle of trust begins with you.

There’s no magic to any of this, though when trust happens, it can be magical.



Do you want to break through the negative thinking that is preventing you from being influential and heard?


To explore how one-on-one communication skills coaching can help you present you with enhanced confidence,

contact me at:


This One Precious Day!


The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware,

joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.

Henry Miller


I recently came across this reflection snippet from Danielle LaPorte.

I don’t know the context from which this comes, but it has grabbed my imagination and challenged me to ask myself,

what am I doing in this moment and will it eventually benefit someone?

I don’t know the context from which this comes, but it has grabbed my imagination and challenged me to ask myself, “what am I doing in this moment and will it eventually benefit someone?”


Read this and see if you’re similarly challenged. . .


Right Now:

  • Someone you haven’t met yet is already dreaming of adoring you.
  • Someone is writing a book that you will read in the next two years that will change how you look at life.
  • Millions of children are assuming that everything is amazing and will always be that way.
  • Someone is in profound pain, and a few months from now, they’ll be thriving like never before. They just can’t see it from where they’re at.
  • Someone has recently cracked open their joyous, genuine nature because they did the hard work of hauling years of oppression off of their psyche—this luminous juju is floating in the ether, and is accessible to you.
  • Someone is genuinely forgiving the seemingly unforgivable.
  • Someone is curing the incurable.


What are YOU doing Right Now?!


Do you want to be more in the moment right now

so as to develop and nurture successful professional relationships?

To explore how business skills coaching can help you present you with enhanced confidence – and joy

please contact me



Soul Murder


I know – it’s a dramatic title to a blog post. . .


I first came across this brief short story by famed writer David Mamet in the LA Weekly – decades ago.


Back then I clipped it, saved it and occasionally would read it when sorting through files.


Few stories have haunted me like this has – exquisitely poignant.


And for any of us working towards “confidence” – well, we all need someone to hand us a quarter!





Soul Murder

by David Mamet


The child sat with his head in his hands, rocking back and forth. “And if you did not want it, you should not have asked for it,” the woman said, “for you do not know what it means to deserve something, for you do not know what it is to work for something.” She paused. “Do you?”


The boy did not look up. And it seemed the woman did not require him to. She rubbed one eye for a moment, and while she rubbed it, her mouth went slack. The boy continued rocking.


“Now,” she said, “when we get home, do you know what I’m going to do? I’m going to take your toys and box them. And I’m going to ship them away. Do you think I’m fooling?”


The two other children — probably his brother and sister, the man thought — looked on, not dispassionately, but at a remove. Well certainly, the man said to himself. If they were to intervene, what would they say?


The boy stopped rocking and rose from the bench and began to walk, stiff-legged, looking down.


“Where are you going?” the woman asked.


He raised his head, cow-eyed, to indicate his destination — the men’s room across the waiting room.


“Then why do you walk like that?” the woman said. “I’m talking to you. Why do you walk like that, for God’s sake?”


His mouth moved like a fish’s for a moment.

“You sit down,” she said, “and I’ll tell you when I want you to go somewhere.”


He waited a moment and then sank down on the bench. His mouth was open, and his hands were pressed over his ears. He put his head down, just above his knees, and began rocking again.


The woman addressed herself to the other two. She drew them close around the pile of baggage and spoke softly to them.


Yes, that’s right, the man thought. Yes, that’s right.


She gestured to the baggage and pointed at them, and they nodded; and she gestured at the washroom and she nodded and then she, and then they, looked over at the other boy. She got up quickly and gathered herself together and walked crisply off.

The other children looked guiltily at the boy and then they determinedly busied themselves with their books.


Well, now’s the time, the man thought, and he had this fantasy: He would walk over to the boy and sit beside him. “Do you know who I am?” he would say. The boy would look up. “I am your guardian angel. I have been sent to tell you this: You are not bad, but good. Do you understand? You are not bad, but good. I only have a moment, but you are to keep this.”


He inventoried his pockets for something to give the boy.


“You are to keep this — it’s a magic quarter. Every time you see it, every time you touch it, you will magically remember that you are not bad, but good. You are good. Do you understand?


“Now, listen to me — one day you will lose the quarter. This is part of the plan. When this occurs, it means that each time you see any coin then you will remember that you are good.”


In the fantasy the man pressed the coin into the boy’s hand and quickly stood and walked away.


As he finished the fantasy, he saw the woman walk out of the washroom and return to the two good children and saw the three of them smile and rise and organize themselves around their bags. Just before they left, she looked at the boy on the bench and glared at him as if to say, “Well?” And the boy rose and followed them.


— David Mamet


Do you want to break through the negative thinking that is preventing you from being influential and heard?

To explore how one-on-one communication skills coaching can help you present you with enhanced confidence,

contact me at: