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Unlocking Your Inner Confidence: A Takeaway from 2023 and Two Keys to Take Into 2024


As I recap 2023, I cannot miss to notice that I found one common denominator between all the professionals I worked with. Regardless if in an individual or group setting, there was one shared roadblock. Some called it "inner critic", others recognized it as "fear", while the voguish preferred to describe it as "imposter syndrome".

I call it the "Gremlin". That little voice in your head that feels like an absolute pest! And I would not be human if I said it didn't pop in my head more than once during this year that comes to a close.

I've been coaching professionals for years now, and the biggest thing I've learnt, both for me and for my clients, is that inner confidence is an essential component to success of any kind.

You see, imposter syndrome is a common experience for humans, particularly when we are going through transitions and trying new things. The pressure to achieve and succeed, combined with an impression of unpreparedness, can trigger feelings of inadequacy in these new roles and settings. And in most cases, it has nothing to do with lacking experience and a lot to do with possessing a brain wired to achieve great things.

Did you know that imposter syndrome is more common than you might think? In fact, about 70% of people have felt like an imposter at some point in their professional lives. And this is just based on those who actually reported it, because most people do not even want to publicly recognize it, which in turn makes it a taboo.

Originally thought to only affect high-achieving women, experts now know that both men and women in many lines of work can experience it. Thanks to the groundbreaking work of psychologists Suzanne Imes and Pauline Rose Clance in 1978, we now have a better understanding of this phenomenon.

The feeling of being a fraud in your professional life can be overwhelming. Did you know that there are five types of imposter syndrome? Possibly more... They are the Perfectionist, Superhuman, Natural Genius, Soloist, and Expert. Each type may manifest differently, but they all make you feel like you don't deserve your achievements. Overcoming imposter syndrome is crucial for professional development.

Have you ever felt like an imposter?

You're not alone. Everyone gets it at some point, even the most confident of all.

There are all kinds of strategies, ways of thinking, patterns of behavior and practical tips for improving your life and feeling better about yourself, but they're all redundant if the foundation isn't there. That foundation is the real you, the you that you know deep down you are. The trick is that it takes confidence to find that and to bring out who you are. And may fellow readers, I won't let you go without offering a few tips. So, here are 2 keys to real inner confidence.


1. Get To Know Your Values


Personal values are a big passion of mine and I often get carried away with myself when I talk about them. I make no apology for that though – they’re one of the most important things you can know about yourself and are vital in getting genuine inner confidence. Your values are ten thousand feet down inside you, right at the very core of who you are; and they’re the building blocks, the foundations and cornerstones for you.

Furthermore, a value is something in yourself, in others or in the world that’s most important to you, and could include things like beliefs, progress, family, fun, nature, achievement or freedom.


Why is it that some people and situations leave you feeling angry, frustrated, demotivated or deflated?

It’s because one or more of your values is being denied, suppressed or repressed – and we experience that as a negative experience because it’s denying a fundamental piece of who you are. You know those times when you’ve felt really alive, amazing or buzzing? Those are the times when one or more of your values are being honored, and you can get more of that by living according to them.


Your values are all yours, and no matter what happens, no one can ever take them away.

You can have absolute confidence in them because they’re there all the time just waiting for you to notice and use them. When you get to know your values, you can start to make choices and align your life around them. It’s so simple and it feels amazing because all that really means is that you’re allowing who you are to live in the real world.

2. Exercise the Muscle


Confidence is a muscle, and like any muscle you need to exercise it so that it doesn’t shrink and waste away.

The problem is that unlike your biceps or glutes, which tend to stay in the same place, your confidence muscle can be harder to find. How do you develop your biceps or firm up your glutes? By doing exercises that are designed to work that muscle over a period of time until you see the results you were looking for.


It’s just the same with confidence. Let’s say that you’re the kind of person that doesn’t take many risks, the kind of person who goes through each day doing what needs to be done and doing it well, but not really stretching yourself.

You might talk yourself out of doing something because it’s too scary or because you think to yourself ‘I’m not good enough,’ ‘that’s not who I am’ or ‘I don’t really want it anyway.’ That kind of person lives within what they know and what keeps them safe and comfortable. The fewer risks they take, the less confident they need to be and so the less confident they become.


To work your confidence muscle you need to be prepared to take risks – big or small. You need to be willing to stretch yourself in an unfamiliar direction, to try something new or try something in a slightly different way. You need to open yourself up to the possibilities around you and push yourself to increase what you know, what you do and who you are.

The more open you are to risk, opportunity and possibility the more confident you need to be, and so the more confidence you’ll develop.

That’s your confidence muscle – the question is, what are you going to do to exercise it?

Michèle Kline

December 2023




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