Self confidence is often considered the holy grail of being successful and achieving great goals, especially in the Western World. To be without fear, no matter what difficulties or problems that show up, it seems everyone wants that idyllic calm demeanor a la James Bond.

What I've learned about confidence, however, is different than the picture-perfect Hollywood version. It hardly seems to come without fear, especially at first. Sure we can work on removing self-limiting beliefs, and change core negative assessments, and that is powerful work to do. But waiting around to "feel confident" first is a backwards way to go about truly becoming confident.

Self-Confidence: A New Definition

It's time to totally redefine confidence. The best definition I've ever seen comes from the fantastic book "The Confidence Gap" by Russ Harris, MD.

"Take action first. Let the confidence come later."

I know it seems obvious and it is. The real master is learning how to deal with negative self-talk, the feelings of fear and doubt that inevitable come with "a lack of confidence". Let's redefine this as isn't actually the negative thoughts and feelings that get in the way, it's how we handle them and respond to them. We need to learn to shift our relationship with fear, by making room for it, instead of trying to make it all go away.

If you did a poll of people that you think are truly confident, and asked them "were you always this confident?" I'm willing to bet 99% of them would say something like "no way! I was scared out of my mind the first time I went on stage!" Substitute stage with onto the football field, when I got promoted to manager/CEO etc. They simply were afraid and acted anyway.

Susan Jeffers entitled a book on the topic of "Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway", and it couldn't have been said more succinctly. This is what Buddhism has been teaching for thousands of years, and still we have difficulty with it, as we try to run from fear, instead of towards it where we can show our true confidence and accomplish things we've never dreamed of.

Practice Acting Alongside your Fear with Mindfulness

The more you practice being with your fear, the more you expand your emotional capacity to handle fear, and thus be truly self-confident. You develop the ability to act and behave beyond petty thoughts or the waves of emotion that pulse through you.

This is why developing the habit of mindfulness is at the foundation of this approach. Without actively placing our attention on noticing when fear and negative thoughts show up, it's difficult to expand our capacity for acting in spite of our fear.

Along with the powerful daily practice of mindfulness, making sure to clarify your personal values amplifies confidence power, by getting in touch with what fuels you and what values are in alignment with how you want to show up everyday. Values like openness, assertiveness, collaboration and leadership are just some of many values that would lead to self-confidence.

Now, onto REAL Confidence!

With the redefinition of confidence as action first, confidence later, in combination with practicing mindfulness and living from your values, you are well on the path to fearlessness and true, vital self-confidence.

Author's Bio: 

David Hamilton is the founder of Everlution - a site dedicated to personal evolution and self-improvement, with simple and powerful methods to help people achieve the transformation in their lives they truly seek.  

David is also a professional  coach that uses mindfulness as a foundation for working with clients to create powerful change.  He also blogs regularly at Everlution to help readers expand their possibilities, overcome fear and doubt, and to create passionate lives they truly desire.