The Fine Line Between Confidence and Cockiness


This founder and mentor offers her advice on the difference between confidence and cockiness. You need to have patience in your twenties. Don’t feel insecure if you don’t feel you have it all at 22 or 24…or even 30. You aren’t supposed to!  Give yourself a break on the self-doubt and focus your energy on experiences that develop the skill you desire. But a word of caution…don’t overcompensate for insecurity with too much bluster and bravado.

She touches on an insight that I think we all can relate to…at some point we’ve all had that moment of thinking “Does everyone know something I don’t?” Probably not! Even though today’s 20-somethings are more sself-possessed than ever, everyone has something they feel lacking in.

“I’m not sure if I had confidence in my twenties. I thought I was smart enough but I also felt knocked down a lot by the smarter people around me. I always thought I was behind or didn’t know enough and so I felt insecure. I thought I had so much to learn and so far to go. I would see people who were much more fluid in social circumstances and think ‘OMG, how did she come up with that funny quip? How is she so quick? How did she know to say just that right sentence that made everybody laugh?’ And years go by and now I’m the one coming up with the funny quip that everybody loves. I felt I was lacking and not recognizing that what I was looking at was years of experience. It wasn’t a natural talent that I didn’t possess, it was a skill honed over decades.

You have to have a little patience. People don’t give themselves enough room. They are so self-demanding and self-critical. You have to realize that it doesn’t all come at once but it can come.  If you focus your energy on any direction, you will move in that direction. For me that is energy and management. People always say to me ‘You have so much energy.’ It’s so funny but it’s about managing the energy. I don’t know if I have energy at 11:00 at night, I’ll tell you that, but during the day, I’m an Energizer bunny.”

The other side of the 20-something desire for instant gratification is the feeling that you do know it all…right now. Appreciate that along the way to honing those personal skills, there are other professional skills and nuances that  you need to know… that you don’t know you don’t know!

“I’m really happy when girls are confident but there’s a fine line between confident and cocky and just arrogant. I find myself a little bit miffed when I see arrogance but happy when I see it as confidence. It’s about delivering on your promises. If you’re going to play the cocky game, you’d better be able to deliver. If you’ve never delivered before then maybe you shouldn’t be playing that game.

You really have to respect the people who have learned their stuff and realize that learning things isn’t as simple as,  ‘I woke up and I got this job, therefore by osmosis, I’ve picked it all up. Boss, I’m ready.’  There is an art. There is mastery that you have to respect in any field. You don’t get it by just showing up at the office one day.”


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