A man wrote to me (Adam
Khan) saying he lacked confidence and wondered if I could help.
He said he lacked confidence specifically with bosses, people
in authority, and women. He said he wanted to try new things
but was reluctant to act on his desires and he was afraid of
criticism from others.
However, when he pursues
things he loves to do, he doesn't suffer a lack of confidence.
During those times, he doesn't care what people think of him.
He wanted to have that same confidence when he attempted greater
I asked him what he had
already tried. He'd already tried the Dale Carnegie course, NLP,
and hypnosis. Here is my reply to him.
The Dale Carnegie Course is one of the
things I would have recommended. It's a great course. If it gave
you a feeling of confidence at the time, maybe taking it again
But I think there is an entirely different
angle that might be profitable to pursue: Raise your integrity.
This is not an easy thing to do, and there
is much more to it than you probably can imagine until you try
it in earnest.
Since you specifically named people in
authority, new challenges, and women, I'd say you lack courage.
comes from responsibility. In other words, if you have a
purpose you are focused on accomplishing, courage is a natural
But the purpose the thing you are
responsible for accomplishing needs to be important
to you. It needs to be more important than the bad feelings of
inferiority or whatever you feel dealing with women or people
in authority or challenges. Your purpose has to be vital and
important. A weak wish won't do it.
But what strong purpose can you have in
each of those situations? There is only one that applies in each
of those situations and that is important enough: Your own integrity.
If you were committed to your own integrity,
and really gave it the importance it deserves, that would be
an important enough purpose to give you courage in those situations.
You would no longer cower inside. You would no longer shrink
back from those situations or overly inhibit yourself. And you
would do what you had to do to stay true to your integrity, and
by doing so, you would feel confident in yourself. You would
learn to trust yourself. You would realize you will not betray
yourself to please others or to avoid feeling uncomfortable.
At that point, confidence is no longer
Like I said, this is not going to be easy.
You said you were a waiter. In that job, your task is to please
those people. That's what they pay you for. Honestly expressing
your feelings in most cases on the job will not be appropriate
or fitting. It would be like a pilot getting on the intercom
during a flight and telling the passengers he just remembered
a scary mistake he made on another flight that he never admitted,
and he wanted to confess it. It's not appropriate. The passengers
want the pilot to pay attention to his job and get them to their
destination on time and in one piece.
Your customers don't want to know your
honest feelings. They just want you to take their order, deliver
the food, and help them enjoy their experience.
You were hired to do this, and have agreed
to do it (either explicitly or implicitly) so it would be a breach
of your own integrity to do anything less.
But other than on the job as a waiter,
you have opportunities every day to be your honest self, to speak
the truth, to live your life with integrity, and to be true to
your own ambitions, talents, and inner desires.
Even at work, you have many opportunities
to become a man of integrity in ways that do not violate the
purpose of your job. Once you start paying attention to it, you'll
find opportunities almost constantly. It is amazing how much
of your life is overwhelmingly influenced by your integrity moment-to-moment.
Whether you are optimistic or pessimistic
is a matter of your integrity too (read more about that here).
So my advice is to focus on raising the
condition of your integrity and on that alone to solve
your confidence problem. It will give you confidence and a whole
By the way, women love an honest man.
There are many good books I can recommend,
but you don't need any of them. If you just pay attention, you'll
learn from your own experience. You'll make lots of mistakes,
but if you keep your attention on your own integrity, every day,
every hour, from the time you get up until the time you go to
bed at night, your life will be transformed. No kidding.
If you want to read some good integrity
coaching, though, here are my top choices:
1. Character Is Destiny: The Value of Personal Ethics
in Everyday Life by Russell W. Gough
2. Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson
3. To Thine Own Self Be True: The Relationship Between
Spiritual Values and Emotional Health by Lewis Andrews
4. Saying What's Real: 7 Keys to Authentic Communication
and Relationship Success by Susan Campbell
5. Stop! You're Driving Me Crazy by George Bach
and Ronald Deutsch
Write to me any time about how it's going
or any specific issues you have along the way. Good luck to you.