The Confidence Blueprint: The Keys to Building and Using It

Jan 22, 2024 | Aging Successfully

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Woman wringing her hands. Confidence. There are certainly times when we all need it. There are also times we feel we need it and that we may not think we have it or enough of it. If you have ever been there, had that feeling of lacking, or have been caught short, then you will know what I am talking about.

Today I am talking about Confidence, what it is, and how to get more of it.

Confidence is not a lifelong, not an “either have it or you don’t” -thing. I am bringing really good news for your consideration today. We can build it, then we have it, and then we can use it.

If you already carry a good amount of confidence, then Hooray for you, but do not close your ears just yet. Soon we will talk about solidifying your confidence and entering two higher levels: maintenance and better using your confidence in work and in life.

If you consider yourself to be lacking in the confidence department, the good news is even more bright for you because we can gain it, build it, and then use it to our advantage. The benefits are clear.


What is Confidence?


What IS confidence, anyway? Let’s break it down a bit.

Confidence is an internal belief in yourself. It stems from self-worth. It starts as self-worth, but it can grow by leaps and bounds.

Confidence is a tool we can use every day in how we think about or approach life. It is more than determination. However, determination does lend itself to or pairs with confidence.

HA! sounds like I am describing a fine wine, a Confidence wine, with “notes of this or that” to produce an accomplished state of being. 

Well, “Wine not”? (Why not?). There are so many good reasons for us to work on developing our confidence. There is a payoff ahead for all of us. 
Benefits of Confidence

  • Make it easier to handle pressure 
  • Help you navigate social situations 
  • Give others a strong first impression of you 
  • Lend you more credibility in your life and work 
  • Make you more attractive to others


Let us begin the Build


First let us level the playing field among us. Here are some facts that we can be confident in: 

We are not perfect. As babies, we all begin at the same place.

Believing in yourself doesn’t mean you think you’re amazing at everything. In fact, confidence is all about having a realistic sense of your own capabilities and room to grow. 

It is about self-worth, your opinion of yourself, and hear me when I say that self-worth can grow. Get this: self-worth grows as we grow our confidence.

Did anyone gasp at that last statement?

Self-worth grows as we grow our confidence, so there is every reason to pursue this. We get a two-fer by working to build confidence.

Knowing that we start out slow and that the bar for us may be low for you for now is A-OK.
1. Make lists of tasks and mark your progress 

I am covering this one first because it is easy, and y’all know that I like to celebrate WINs. 

We are busy, life is hard, we are non-stop, all that. But boy, if we slow down long enough to think about it, we are intuitively navigating through it all well, and recognizing this can build confidence. Let’s take a look at it and collect some Wins.

Let us pause and reflect. It won’t take long to take note of the daily accomplishments that get you through each week and give yourself a pat on the back.  

Once you get in the habit of marking your progress on routine accomplishments like making the bed or cooking healthy meals – on weekdays, no less. Yeah! I was on time for that appointment. I was there to help a friend. I ran that meeting when Tom was sick, didn’t I?

You can incorporate bigger long-term goals, too. Maybe you carved out five minutes for meditation every single morning for one month. Or maybe you set and made a savings goal with monthly benchmarks. Whatever your interests were or are, set your sights on an achievable goal, stay accountable by tracking progress, and by all means, collect your Wins!


2. Get social 

Here is one of the “notes” of the Confidence-wine: Friendships. Like confidence, friendships are not a you-have-them-or-you-don’t kind of thing. The world is full of diverse groups of people, and your niche is out there somewhere. While some folks find it hard to make friends as an adult (there is much written about this and a lot of help and How To’s can be found online), there are actually tons of outside-the-box ways that you can get involved with your local social scene. 

Confidence and friendships often go hand in hand. It is easier to feel confident when you’re part of a community of people who support you. I have begun to go to Meetups, for example. They are filled with folks who like to do the same thing and who are there for the same purpose. Perhaps it is a How-To or Further-Your-Skills Meetup so everyone there is literally there to build confidence, do you see? Takes the heat off. 

There are more benefits in this scenario that we can apply to other scenarios. Let’s say that I return to a Meetup for the second time. I already know the lay of the land. I might recognize and be recognized by other attendees. (Step into this. You may be doing them a great service. At the very least, you may be sharing a confidence shot in the arm). Plus, it’s easier to make new friends when you feel confident enough to try new things.  Growing your confidence leads to new experiences.  

DO-ing supports more doing and offers fertile and ample ground for confidence-building.


3. Get active

Ah, enter endorphins. Endorphins are another note of the confidence-wine.  Going out and getting a boost of free stuff is better than gulping a Gatorade like they do in commercials and thinking we must do this so we can then go out and make the big play.

We know that confidence is built by DO-ing. Confidence is not built by sitting on your couch watching other confident people or cartoon characters.

If you consider confidence holistically, it makes sense to do things that make you feel strong, capable, and full of endorphins. Even better if this physical activity takes place outdoors, giving you a healthy dose of vitamin D from the sunshine, connecting you with nature, and giving you opportunities to explore. 

A big part of being confident is feeling like you can handle stress and anxiety – regular exercise is always one of the top suggestions for people struggling with these experiences.  

Explore!  I go to a lot of places to see and do, always under the decision that “It Might be Sumthin’ or It Might Be Nuthin’”. I say that to a buddy I might invite along to a live music event or to someone I agree to meet for a Restaurant Week excursion or to try out the eats at a food truck rodeo. It has been my experience that I will not have any exploration experiences from my couch, either.

Go out and DO. At least then you will know if it is Sumthin’ or Nuthin.’ You might even get a good story out of it.


4. Acknowledge your fear and let it go 

Everybody, even your biggest idol, has failed at one time or another. In my workshops, I make mention of people who perhaps were scared or timid and who pushed through to amazing results. We can also. 

Did you know that Walt Disney was fired for not being creative enough? And that Henry Ford declared bankruptcy – twice – before he made the Ford Motor Company successful?

The important part is what happens next.  

Reflect on what caused you not to meet your goals in the past. If you follow those mental threads long enough, they almost always lead back to fear. 

Fear keeps you in stasis, preventing you from pursuing new experiences and growing in healthy ways. To combat it, don’t try to deny it. Say hello to your fear; acknowledge it, talk to it, give it a name if you wish.  I had a coaching client named Amanda who named her fear ‘Heidi’ because she felt like that is what her mind often told her to do – hide – when something challenging came up.

Bringing it out into the light is the best way to diminish its power. Amanda and I talked about  “Heidi.” We spent some time troubleshooting those scenarios with plans for action. Soon, my client saw Heidi’s power diminish, and Amanda took more charge. Insight was gained, she had a plan of action, and she grew. I coach plenty of folks on confidence-building in my consulting practice; we identify, build, practice, and there is growth.

Here is an example many will recognize. What about public speaking, recognized as the number one fear we as humans have? Could you acknowledge that and decide to improve, train, and join a Toastmasters (where everyone is working on the same thing)? If you want to be more artistic but fear of judgment is stopping you from pursuing your creativity, you could try some of the arts and crafts events hosted by a local library or a craft supplies store. The level playing field, a same starting point.


5. Be a leader 

And this returns the fact that none of us were born confident; leaders are not born, they are made.

No, I am not suggesting that you must go out and run for office or become a CEO. We needn’t feel we must Be The Best or Be In Charge. There are plenty of more normal and quiet leadership opportunities that will enable confidence to grow. 

Teach what you know – Do you know how to tie a shoe or ride a bike? Can you teach that to someone, and did someone have just enough confidence to teach you?

Orient the newcomer – At church, the volunteer gig, or on the job. Consider the workplace, and how about that job function, “ Reception.” You can do a lot with reception to make someone comfortable. You receive them, acknowledge their presence,  and enable them to understand what comes next. 

Mentor formally or informally – Perhaps you formally mentor or supervise someone. Informally, it may be your second time at an event, but you can recognize, greet them, and help the newbie out. That builds confidence. Confidence is built by DO-ing.

Be an upperclassman – Sometimes, just being an upperclassman is leadership. As an underclassman, didn’t you watch the uppers? Even in elementary school, didn’t you follow others to the cafeteria and watch to see how it all worked? That became easy-peasy after a while, and you built that confidence right there. And so, it continues.


6. Maintain your confidence muscle

Yup, like athletes, we need to train. We find or are taught what works for us, and we continue it. We must maintain our confidence muscles. Yes, consider confidence to be a muscle – you must first build it and then maintain it. 

There is always a next. There is always something to conquer or pursue, whether it is a personal pursuit, a goal, a leisure activity to learn, a trip to somewhere new, or feeling better about being with a group of people you will encounter. A ready confidence will have you ready for the next adventure.

If you happen to be in the serving profession or are a small business entrepreneur, check out the offerings of the MidWinter Marketing series designed for practitioners and professionals. I dedicate one of the three workshops in the series to confidence-building. Details are found on the home page of my website, or contact me.

Speakers often will summarize at the end of a presentation so folks will remember key takeaways. I am no different. What must we hold key with respect to this topic of confidence?


  • Confidence – No one is born with it. Confident is built.
  • Confidence is a muscle to build and maintain. 
  • We can mark our progress. We can begin with baby steps- improvement but note them, for confidence-building is literally just that: building. Building one upon another or further in our steps than a previous time. Note, Celebrate. Build. (Celebrate some more). Use. (Celebrate some more). 
  • We must be in motion to develop Confidence (Remember, rarely is confidence found on the couch). We must train a Confidence muscle, and we can maintain it. 
  • Confidence is built by DO-ing. We must be in motion to find opportunities to do, to grow, to attempt, to achieve, and to display our confidence by using it.

I have a lot to share about building confidence. What I have shared today is totally separate from what I share inside my workshops, it is in addition to.

Let me also close with a suggestion. Let us use our confidence to help others. We can both learn and use confidence by serving. 

Service to others begins by thinking of someone other than ourselves. Yes, this confidence-building thing may seem like an inside job, and it probably is while we are making the decision to gain more or are working to grow our confidence. What I am talking about here is seeing where we can grow it. Recognizing opportunities. Kindly look beyond ourselves to someone who may have a challenge and help them. Simply being of service.

You can begin to grow your confidence by looking outside of yourself. It is as simple as this example: You are not only approaching the store’s door to enter or exit; now you are noticing someone else is near. An elder or someone encumbered with packages, or who is pushing a stroller – can you hold the door for them? Can you feel good about the fact that you recognized an opportunity and, with confidence, used what you knew how to do to help another?

The last consideration of our topic today can be about humility. Quiet confidence. Doing the right thing and feeling good about it. Yes!

Confidence is built by DO-ing. 

Until our next time together, be well.



Need help to move confidently through healthcare navigation, aging, solo aging of even growing your professional practice? Nancy Ruffner is a Patient Advocate, consultant, and coach. Schedule a Complimentary Consultation to see how we might work best together.