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What is the Opposite of Confidence?

what is the opposite of confidence?

The dictionary definition of confidence is: When you have certainty about the truth of something.

When we talk about self-confidence, what’s the truth? What kind of certainty are we seeking? It comes down to this: certainty – or clarity – about our values, needs and wants.

Think about it this way. Your boss asks for volunteers to help plan a team-building day and you immediately think, “I really should do that.”

So, the question is whether you ‘truly’ really want to or not. And if you say, “I do want that,” then you are confident you do and you can confidently raise your hand to volunteer. Your values, needs and wants give you an internal “rule book” that guides you towards what’s true and right for you.

Our values, needs and wants are like bumpers in a kids’ bowling alley that keep us inside the lane. When we feel like we might go outside of it, we subconsciously check in with ourselves to verify that the action we’re considering is aligned with them. If we answer yes, I truly do value, need or want it, then we decide confidently if and how to go forward.

That sounds nice, doesn’t it? Here’s how it applies, practically, to real life.

✓ You need to give regular presentations because you want to be promoted.

✓ You want to ask for more money because you consistently exceed expectations.

✓ You value learning, so you need to ask for more feedback.

In all three examples, you’re confident – that is, you have certainty about the truth – of what you value, need and want. So, what happens when a lack of confidence in yourself finds you doing the opposite? when you look for a way out of presenting, you don’t ask for a raise, and you don’t ask for feedback:

✓ You feel guilty because you didn’t follow your own “rule book”.

✓ You feel guilty because you turned away from what you value, need or want.

✓ You feel guilty because you acted, reacted or interacted in a way that contradicts what you know to be true for you.

So, when someone says, “I am not confident,” I say, “What does that mean? Why is that a problem?” Not being confident is NOT the problem. Something else is. What is causing you to be unsure - or not confident - is that you are transgressing the boundaries of your values, needs and wants. Once you realize what the real problem is, then you can confidently address it. Here’s how:

1. Don’t question whether you should need, value or want it. Be objective but also listen to your gut. If you feel it's important to you (or not), declare it as such and proceed.

2. Be honest with yourself about why you value, need or want whatever it is – is it to improve your career mobility, build better connections, learn how to lead? Or are you doing something for the sake of fitting in? And if that is your explanation, at least recognize that!

3. Now that you know your why, decide if you will or will not take action. Just making a go/no go decision gives confidence!

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