Mel Savage Executive Coaching
The Highly Valued Leader Podcast - Building Your Brand

Episode 46 – The Difference Between Confidence and Self-Confidence

Created By
Episode 46 - The Difference Between Confidence and Self-Confidence

This episode delves into the distinction between confidence and self-confidence, highlighting the significance of understanding this difference. Exploring how self-confidence is a catalyst for growth and achievement, the podcast emphasizes its importance as a tool for trying new things and accomplishing new goals.

Addressing common misconceptions, the episode clarifies that self-confidence doesn’t lead to arrogance and provides indicators of self-confidence to aid listeners in boosting their success.

Read the Transcript

Disclaimer: Some of the content and information mentioned in this episode might no longer be applicable. This includes references to specific links, courses, or programs. As a result, all the links mentioned will now redirect you to our current website. There, you’ll find up-to-date information, resources, and exciting new content to support your journey. We appreciate your understanding and unwavering support.

Hello, my friends. It’s great to have you back this week. Welcome to The Highly Valued Leader Podcast. I’m so grateful that you are here. 

I don’t know about you this week, but I am struggling. At least that’s the story I’m telling myself is that I am struggling. The reason that I am struggling is not because of the weather. It’s not because it’s gray and raining for the last four days. It’s none of that stuff. It’s not because I haven’t been getting a ton of sleep. It’s because I have these thoughts about my business. I’ve been really pushing myself recently. I have a goal for growth. I’ve been really pushing myself outside of my comfort zone to do things that I’m really not comfortable doing to start to move forward to push myself towards this growth and all of the thoughts that I have. 

The things that I’m doing, some of them but not all of them are creating discomfort. Like the idea that I am struggling, that’s a thought. That’s not a fact, with this growth. If you listened to my podcast last week about Impostor Syndrome is a Lie, you know that there’s this idea that if you want to grow that, discomfort and doubt are the actual price of growth. Discomfort and doubt are the price you pay to achieve your goals. 

So if I’m going to actually push myself to achieve something that I have never achieved before, for sure, it is going to be uncomfortable. For sure, I am going to have self-doubt. So that’s what I’m living with this week. And learning to allow myself to feel this self-doubt and feel this sense of discomfort and still take action. So my brain is like on overdrive trying to do that.

I’ve been journaling like crazy trying to get all these thoughts out of my head and keep myself focused. One of the things that I have been journaling about is confidence and self-confidence. I thought it might be a great topic to bring to the podcast because I don’t think many people think there is a difference between confidence and self-confidence. But there is. 

So I thought I would bring it to you to talk about to share these thoughts and see if there’s insight in here that is going to help you push forward towards achieving something that you’re working on, that you’ve been struggling with, and all the things that come along with trying to push yourself out of your comfort zone. So I thought today, we could cover things like, why is it important to even know the difference. Who cares that there is a difference at all? 

When we talk about the idea of self-confidence and confidence, quite often what comes up from people as well are, I don’t want to be arrogant, I don’t want to be so self-confident that people think I’m arrogant. So I want to really draw a line around arrogance, and what causes arrogance versus self-confidence. Then, of course, I want to give you some thought starters. I want to share some of the things that make you more self-confident, some of the things that you can work on that actually create self-confidence or thoughts that generate self-confidence. I’m also going to share some exercises with you where you can start. 

If you are someone who doesn’t have a lot of self-confidence, or you think that you’re someone who doesn’t have a lot of self-confidence, then here’s what I want to say to you: You’re not going to wake up tomorrow being the most confident person or self-confident person in the world. It’s not going to happen, but you can wake up tomorrow thinking, I’m going to take one step forward toward self-confidence. If you do that for the next six months or whatever, you are going to be a completely different person than you are today. 

It’s not about the size of the steps that you take towards your goals, whether that’s to be a more self-confident person or any goal that you have. It’s really just about consistent action in the face of discomfort that’s going to help you grow. That’s all I want to say about that. 

Let’s talk a little bit about the difference between them; the difference between confidence and self-confidence. We’ll start with confidence. Confidence is really, first of all, let me just say this: Confidence and self-confidence are both emotions, emotions that are driven by your thinking. If you’re going to feel confident or you’re going to feel self-confident, both of those are driven by your thinking. So this is really the key thing to understand. 

I’m not feeling uncomfortable or struggling more than normal because the weather is bad, or I haven’t gotten enough sleep. It’s because I have my thoughts about what I’m doing in my business that is making me uncomfortable. I’m controlling my emotions by my thinking. It’s not that you’re going to get up and do a presentation, and you’re confident about it. It’s your thoughts about doing the presentation that creates your confidence. 

Confidence and self-confidence are both things that we generate for ourselves based on our thinking. In terms of the kinds of thoughts that generate confidence, the kinds of thoughts that generate confidence are thoughts that you are looking for outside of you. You are looking for evidence outside of you; past evidence of your ability to do something. 

If I said to you, I would like you to go make a cup of coffee. And you have done that a million times before, or you like to make a really mean cup of coffee, or you think you make a really mean cup of coffee. You might be like, I totally get that. I can make a great cup of coffee. But if you’re someone who’s never made a cup of coffee, or your husband or wife has told you or your spouse has told you that you suck at making coffee; you might think, I don’t know if I want to make the coffee. Maybe you should pick someone else because I’m not really that great at this. 

In each case, you’re having a thought about the fact that I’ve asked you to make a cup of coffee. And that thought that you’re having is based on some evidence of your ability to make a cup of coffee. Then you are either feeling confident, or you’re not feeling confident about making that cup of coffee. You’re tracking with me on this. So your confidence really comes from what people have told you, what your parents told you, what your teachers told you, what your spouse says to you, what your colleague’s reviews, assessments, whether it’s Myers Briggs, or StrengthsFinder or all those things. 

You have all of this proof, your experiences, obviously; you have all this proof that you are good or bad at something so you draw upon that proof for your thinking. That’s going to drive your confidence or your lack of confidence. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Nothing is wrong with that. Confidence is a fantastic emotion. The challenge with confidence is that it’s not necessarily an emotion of growth, it’s more of an emotion of comfort and competence. I know I can do this because I have done it before. I know I cannot do this because I’ve never done it before. I feel good about my ability to do this. Those are comfort and competence. 

I’m not saying that you won’t grow from having confidence because confidence really does feed self-confidence in some ways, but you’re just not going to get a really fast pace of growth from confidence going to be a much slower pace of growth if you grow at all from confidence. Whereas when you look at self-confidence, that’s more of something generated internally. You don’t need any evidence, or any past evidence to be able to do something because, with self-care evidence, it’s really about your ability to believe in yourself without any evidence and without any history of your ability to be able to do something. 

You’re actually creating future evidence or you’re looking for future evidence. I’ll give you an example of what I mean by future evidence. So I have a goal, and I’ll talk about it a little later. My goal is to build a million-dollar coaching business. So I look to create a version of my identity of the version of me that owns and runs a million-dollar coaching business. Who am I, what do I think about, how do I behave, what do I believe about myself, what can I and can’t do? I looked for my future evidence, like the evidence of the future version of myself to be able to draw on in terms of my thinking of what I can and cannot do. And that creates self-confidence. 

You don’t always have to draw on future evidence. It’s really about drawing on yourself and your own thinking without any evidence, any current or past evidence of your ability to do something. It’s not generated by someone else’s comments. It’s not trade generated by past experience, Myers Briggs, or any of the things. You create your confidence from your thoughts. That’s why it’s self-confidence. It’s confidence generated by yourself. It’s more of a state of being. And really, it’s self-confidence, the energy you need, that’s going to push you into growth. 

If you’re going to do something and you’re going to fall down, it’s self-confidence that gets your ass back up. You keep moving forward and you try again. If you fall down 20 times, it’s self-confidence that gets you back up to keep moving forward. It is that emotional growth because it gets you to keep moving when you have no proof that you can do something. It’s the confidence that you generate in yourself. And you have done this, I am sure without even knowing that you’re doing it. 

But even for you folks out there who think you don’t have any self-confidence, obviously, you’ve had growth in your life. Obviously, you’ve taken chances and you have taken risks in your life. And you’ve done that by believing in yourself, even though you have no evidence that you should or shouldn’t believe in yourself. It comes from a belief in yourself without evidence. 

I’ll give you an example. I’m going to call this a fairly low-stakes example. Because for me, it’s low stakes, but for other people, it may not be and then I’ll share my business example with you as well. I have this front lawn that’s been sitting ungroomed, I guess, for a couple of years, and I really want to have a beautiful front garden. This is a goal of mine. Last year, I hired a company to do one portion of that front garden, and I paid them something like $12,000 to come in and do the front garden. 

For me, I thought that was a serious chunk of money. It got done and I had a lot of input. I was watching them do it and I was like, Huh, this doesn’t look so hard. I don’t know, it probably is hard. But at the end of the day, the money I paid them and the work that they did was like, I don’t know if I’d love it. They did everything I asked them to do but I’m like, I don’t know if I love it. I would have changed things along the way but then that would have cost more money. I was like, Huh, I guess it is what it is. Whatever. 

Basically, the reason I didn’t do it myself wasn’t because of time. I’m as busy as the next person. But that’s not really the reason I didn’t do it. The reason I didn’t do it was because I’d never done it before. I’d never really planted and planned an amazing garden before. But really, I was more afraid. I was afraid of screwing it up and making it ugly and ruining the front of my house and being embarrassed people would see it and all of that stuff. 

I was thinking to myself like, You don’t know what you’re doing. You know nothing about plants. You don’t know what’s going to grow and what’s not going to grow. You can’t do this. But then of course, I was journaling and I was journaling about the garden and all my thoughts about the garden and I was thinking. I realized that my thought that I could screw this up was generating this fear and that was keeping me from even trying. So I decided, I’m going to change my thought from I could screw this up to I can’t screw this up

Because really, what is screwing this up look like? What’s the worst that could happen if I screw this up? I’m just going to have to dig up some plants, move some things around, and make changes as I go. Where’s the freakin rush here? I’m just going to try this out and I can do it slowly. I don’t have to do it all in one weekend. So really, I cannot screw this up. Because eventually, with enough effort, I’m going to get it to where I want it to be. 

I just decided to change my thinking to believe in myself and to say, I can figure this out. There’s internet, there’s YouTube. I can make a plan. I can buy the flowers. I can take my time with it. I cannot screw this up. Because at the end of the day, who gets to judge if it’s right or wrong? Me. In that case, I decided to believe in myself to put this garden together without any evidence that I could do it. I just decided to think, I can’t screw this up. I’m going to figure this out. And that created the self-confidence that I needed. 

For some people, even something like that might be really hard for them to do. Just put themselves out there and do something even around the house like cooking, gardening, painting a room, or some other DIY project, whatever it is. When it comes to our careers, we feel like the stakes are a bit higher because we don’t get to make all the choices about our careers. 

I’m going to talk about my business a little bit. I’ve got this goal to build a million-dollar business. And guess what, I’ve never done that before. I’ve never made that kind of money before. I’ve made lots of money, but running a business that has an annualized revenue of a million dollars, it’s not something that I’ve ever done before. I’ve seen other people do it but I haven’t been able to do it before. So I have a lot of thoughts about that. 

What’s the downside if I don’t do it? Well, I’m going to be investing a lot of money, like serious money. I’m not just talking about buying a few plants. Serious money. I have bills to pay and I have responsibilities to my family. If I don’t make this money, if I don’t grow this business, I also think about the responsibility I have to my future employees, to help them grow in their lives. I take this very seriously. So I think, I’ve never done this before. I don’t know what I’m doing. I have no idea if I can actually do this. How do I find self-confidence? What makes me move forward? It’s really just my thoughts that helped me create the self-confidence I need to move forward.

When I see other people running million-dollar coaching businesses, I think to myself, There’s nothing about them that’s more special than me, intellectually, anyway. The only difference between them and me right now is they’ve been at it longer. And mentally, they’re able to focus on it. They believe in themselves, and they take action despite feeling doubt. Can I do that? Yeah, I know that from confidence. I’ve been able to do that. So I’m using my confidence to generate my self-confidence and say, I’m just going to do whatever needs to be done. 

There’s nothing about them that’s more special than me. That’s the thought that I keep believing. They can do it, I can do it. I just need to believe. I just need to take action. I just need to deal with my fear when it comes up. I need to deal with my doubt when it comes up; not resist or reject it or pretend it’s not there. I just need to feel my doubt and feel my fear and keep moving forward. 

The best part about that is that I know that I can control all of that. I can control all of that. I can operate from the future evidence I can say, if I were a million-dollar business owner, how would I think about this? What would I do here? What would I think about this challenge that I’m facing right now? I can put things on my to-do list that are all about growing this million-dollar business or operating from a place of thinking as a million-dollar business owner. 

When I feel wobbly or have self-doubt, or think, What the f*** am I doing? I’m never going to make this. Of course, I have those days. It’s about refocusing and trusting myself that I will do what I say. I’m going to do that. I’m going to show up for myself that I’m going to make this happen. That’s self-confidence. It’s believing I can do something without any evidence that I have ever been able to do it before. I know this isn’t easy. It totally takes practice. It’s easier for some people than other people. I personally have found it not easy. 

The other thing I find is that it’s harder in some areas of my life than it is in others. Of course, I have a much harder time believing in my ability to lose weight than I do to become a great gardener, for instance. So I know that I have to really focus on certain things, and I have to give myself more space to fail in certain areas. This is really important. 

Just because something is harder doesn’t mean it’s impossible. It just means it takes longer. It just means it takes more focus. You get to decide whether the thing that you’re trying to achieve is so important or is such an important thing to you that you want to keep taking this massive action until you reach your goal. So it’s pretty awesome. 

I want to talk a little bit about arrogance. Arrogance is thinking that you’re better than someone else, and then trying to prove it. Arrogance is creating this false sense of self-confidence by trying to put other people down. So me saying to you, that I have the confidence, or I’m generating the self-confidence to grow a million-dollar business is not me being arrogant. It’s just me sharing some facts with you. This is what I believe about myself. This is what I’m trying to do. 

Arrogance would be if I said, I’m building a million-dollar business, which is so much better than all the other coaches that I know, and I’m going to get there faster than them. All that kind of stuff. That’s more where it turns into arrogance, where you try to raise the opinion of yourself by comparing yourself to other people. You don’t really build yourself up in this case, but you just sort of stay where you are and you put other people down. Like you raise yourself up by putting other people down. 

Let’s be honest, arrogance actually comes from a lack of self-confidence, not from too much self-confidence. Because when you’re really self-confident, you already understand that everyone is capable and everyone is doing their best. When you’re self-confident, you don’t need to compare yourself to other people because you know that you’re generating your self-confidence from yourself. You can look at other people as inspiration to drive you forward. But it’s not about saying, Oh, I’m better than them, or I’m less than them. It’s just, Oh, that’s a neat idea. I’m going to try that. 

Because you realize that everyone is doing the best that they can. They’re all human beings. We’re all equal in some way, depending on our experience, which makes us a bit different. But we are all just human beings doing the best that we can. 

The other thing I’ll say about arrogance is that you want to notice that most criticism, most arrogance, and criticism of other people is usually some kind of projection. You’re projecting. Meaning, that what you criticize others for is usually something that you think you lack. This means that if you think you’re unqualified for something, you point out when someone else is even less qualified than you. 

I’m an okay presenter, but she really sucks. When you’re thinking about criticism like that, it’s usually because you don’t feel great about yourself. You’re projecting what you think about yourself onto other people. And then the arrogance is when you try to make yourself feel better. If you’re someone who’s like, I don’t want to be too self-confident because I don’t want to be arrogant. You won’t be. If you’re a self-confident person, arrogance won’t even come into the mix. 

If you’re someone who’s interested and looking for identifiers and ways to break down self-confidence and try to do some things that will increase your self-confidence, let me give you some ideas. The first part of self-confidence specifically, is your ability to trust yourself. Meaning, you do what you say you’re going to do. When you commit to something, you do it. 

If it’s on your calendar, you do it. If you say you’re going to show up, show up somewhere, you show up somewhere. If you put a food plan together, and you’re going to say, you’re going to eat these things today, those are the things that you eat. If you say you’re not going to stop trying until you get to your goal, that’s what you do. It’s your ability to trust that you’re going to do what you say you’re going to do. Believe me, it sounds so easy but it’s not that easy. It’s not that easy at all. 

Now, I’m getting about 80% of my to-do list. On my calendar, I plotted out here’s what I’m going to get done today, and here’s what I could get done tomorrow. I try my best to show up for those things and get them done. I’m at a pretty good amount, about 80% right now. But my goal was 100. Do I beat myself up about the 20%? No, I am growing. It’s easier for me on my to-do list than it is with my food plan. But my Food Plan is just a process. It’s just working it and working it and working it. And the more that you do what you say you’re going to do, the more you trust yourself. 

If you’re saying, these are the things that I say I’m going to do, and you only get two out of 10 of those things done, whether it’s a food plan, a to-do list, a calendar, or a commitment, whatever it is; focus on the two things you got done, not the eight things you didn’t. With the eight things, just download your thoughts about why you don’t think you got those things done. But don’t beat the crap out of yourself because that is not helpful. Never helpful. 

The exercise that I have for you, in terms of the ability to trust yourself is doing a daily dare. Dare yourself every day to do something that you think you might fail at. Something that you have a pretty good idea that you might fail at. For instance, I’m going to write my podcast outline, but I’m only going to give myself 15 minutes to do it. That feels impossible for me. How close can I get? So dare myself to do something like that every day, or I’m going to go to this meeting with this person and I’m going to truly stick to keeping an open mind and focus on only building on ideas in this meeting. 

Give yourself goals. Give yourself little dares every day, and then do your best to follow through. When you don’t follow through, focus on the parts that you did follow through on and then learn from the parts that you didn’t. What you’re going to realize is that failure is not so scary and that you’re going to get better and better all the time. 

The first thing about self-confidence is your ability to trust yourself. The second thing is, of course, your opinion of yourself. What are the thoughts that you have about yourself when it comes to doing something that you want to do? You might be more self-confident in certain areas and others. As I said, the place where I struggle the most is around eating, sticking to my food plan and exercise plan, and all that stuff. I know I have to focus so much, and I fall off so often on that one. But I got to focus on where I’m growing and where I’m doing well. 

What are the thoughts that you have about yourself when it comes to something that you want to do? When it comes to specific tasks, what are you avoiding? Or that you’re nervous about? What are your thoughts about that? Why are you choosing to think that way? What’s your ability to have your own back? See your growth, not your failure. Focus on what’s working and not what’s not working. Your brain wants to focus on what’s not working. That’s how it’s designed to work. 

When you are focusing on what’s not working, your brain is actually doing its job because its whole job is to keep you alive. It’s focusing on any danger. That’s your primitive brain. You get to decide with your human brain, your prefrontal cortex. You can say, Okay, primitive brain. I see that you are focusing on what’s not working, but I’m actually not in danger. Let’s just focus instead, on what is working. You can make that decision to focus on what is working. 

If you’re struggling with your opinion of yourself, here’s an idea for you: Write down every day for the next 30 days. If you can handle it, I would suggest 30 days. Do thought downloads. Go into a journal, and just every morning, set a timer if you want. Set it for three minutes, or for five minutes. Write down all of your thoughts about yourself and make at least half of them great thoughts about yourself. Or you can write a story on a specific topic where you’re the hero of the story. 

It could be anything. It could be like letting someone ahead of you in line at the grocery store. It can be achieving something that you didn’t think you were going to be able to achieve. It could be anything, like putting your hand up in a meeting or telling a story on a topic. It can be a three-minute story, where you’re the hero of the story. Position yourself as the hero of the story. I love this particular exercise because they don’t have to be huge things. It can be small things. 

All the thoughts that led up to going into the meeting, sitting down, seeing all the people, listening, having the thought, and then putting up your hand, saying the thing, and getting it done. You can position yourself like a hero and have fun with it as you’re doing it. If you can do your thought downloads every day, and make at least half of them, like what’s working, positive thoughts about yourself, or write a story on a specific topic where you’re the hero of the story; like three minutes, do that every day for a month and honestly, within the first three or four days, you are going to see a difference in what you think about yourself. 

The third thing is knowing that you can experience any emotion. The first two parts of self-competence are your ability to trust yourself to do what you say you’re going to do. The second thing is your opinion of yourself; the thoughts you have about yourself. And the third thing is knowing that you can experience any emotion. I want you to know that feelings aren’t dangerous. The worst thing that’s going to happen to you, most of the time, unless you’re in serious physical danger, the worst thing that’s going to happen to you is a feeling. 

A feeling is just a vibration in your body. If you have the willingness to embrace all those negative emotions, like discomfort, doubt, humiliation, shame, or fear; if you’re willing to feel those things and not push them away, then you have nothing to be afraid of. If I was going to go into a meeting and ask for a $50,000 coaching contract, and I was willing to feel humiliated or afraid or whatever, I would never be afraid to walk into a room and ask for it. If I was willing to feel judged, what’s to stop me from asking for everything I want? 

Failure in all situations is an opportunity to increase your self-confidence because when you fail, or when you think you’re going to fail, you have all these emotions about it. If you’re willing to feel all those emotions, then there’s nothing that you can’t do. If you’re not afraid to feel humiliated, embarrassed, scared, judged, terror, shame, or whatever the emotion is for you that you’re really afraid to feel. Those feelings are really just a vibration in your body. 

Let’s summarize this thing. Self-confidence is your ability to believe in yourself without any past evidence. To trust yourself, to feel feelings, to be willing to feel feelings like discomfort and fear, to be willing to fail, to choose positive thoughts about yourself that really propel you forward versus keeping you small. When you’re self-confident, you set more goals, you take more action, you take more risks, you achieve more and you believe beyond your current capability. You believe that you can do more, and you have more. 

So start small. Start with something small. Start with your agenda. Start with the morning. Start with your next meeting. Start small, practice, celebrate. Do 10% more tomorrow. Practice and celebrate the wins. 

If you want to talk more about it, book a session with me. You can always book a free 45-minute session with me at I would love to talk to you about it. 

In the meantime. Have a fantastic day, everyone. Bye for now.



More Categories

I have 20+ years working as a leader in the corporate world. I know what you need to do. And I combine that with four years of training as a cognitive behavioral coach. I know how to help you naturally think like the leader you want to be.

Follow Me

Ready for Executive Coaching?


Mel Savage Freebie Optin - Get the training

Want To Become The Highly Valued Leader Everyone Wants On Their Team?
I cover 4 simple strategies to help you become the trusted, go-to leader who gets access to the best projects, has the most influence and gets the money, promotions and people they ask for. No overworking required. Get instant access now.

about your host

Mel Savage

I have 20+ years working as a leader in the corporate world. I know what you need to do. And I combine that with four years of training as a cognitive behavioral coach. I know how to help you naturally think like the leader you want to be.
Scroll to Top

Become The Highly Valued Leader Everyone Wants On Their Team​

Become the go-to leader in your organization that consistently gets offered the most desirable opportunities. No overworking required.

Book Your consultation