5 ‘Non-Traditional’ Pre-cursors to Confidence

Renée Dineen
5 min readSep 23, 2021


We have all heard the saying “confidence comes from within”. For the most part, it’s true. On the other-hand, it can feel overwhelming to build if you don’t authentically feel it.

I grew up being told that “confidence is key”. What I personally realized is that before I could become truly confident, I had to dig deep and work on myself so that confidence would be a natural extension of who I was and how I showed up in the world.

Through my own experience, personal stories gifted to me by friends and colleagues, and over 25 years of experience developing leaders and teams in international settings, I mined a search to discover where confidence truly comes from.

Does it come from within?

Are some people born with more of it, eluding to it being somewhat of a personality trait?

If you’ve never had it, can you ever really get it?

The answers I found were a mix of validation and surprise. The most important finding: any healthy human can become authentically confident depending on how they choose to live their day-to-day life. Confidence is not something we wake up each day hoping to find. It is something that we commit to embodying in our daily lives and therefore, we need to build from the inside-out.

This inspiring exploration landed me on defining 5 ‘non-traditional’ pre-cursors to confidence. These pre-cursors are more like qualities — ways of being in the world — that almost all truly confident humans I’ve met commit to and practice, with lasting and meaningful impact on their lives and those around them.

These pre-cursors will take you on a journey of not simply building confidence but inspiring more purposeful and authentic ways of living and leading that can be expressed in every area of your life — a life uniquely shaped and chosen by you!

1. Live Deeply

Confidence comes from knowing we are living the life we were meant to live and are willing to live it deeply, even when it’s hard.

We are willing to look deeper, think deeper, learn deeper and live deeper into the life that is right in front of us. People who live deeply don’t just double click, they triple click on the experiences, relationships, goals, and dreams they have for themselves. And not the life that’s behind them or too far in front of them, the life that’s right in front of them.

Too often we are either behind or ahead of the present moment. Yet, the present moment offers most of what we need to learn and experience. It keeps us grounded in our purpose, and in our own health and wellbeing.

When we are grounded and rooted deeply in our lives, we are more confident.

2. Value Connection

Show up to connect and engage, not to play a “role” or to “please”. That means any role — spouse, parent, friend, colleague, leader, good human.

Worry less about what people think about you and more about how people feel when they are with you. There is a beautiful quote by Maya Angelo that speaks to this perfectly.

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

Value connection over being smart or being right or being liked. If we make people happy, if we please them in some way, that’s wonderful. It is not a bad outcome to be a person that makes other people happy. But happiness is something we have to come to for ourselves first. And we can’t create sustained happiness, which ultimately becomes joy, if we’re not willing to connect and engage fully.

Lean into vulnerability whenever it asks you to. Vulnerability is not something you check off the list. Vulnerability means we are willing to take the risk of getting hurt, being seen, having someone think something about us that isn’t great because that’s what this moment in life is offering. That’s what connection is asking me to do.

Our confidence grows with each intimate connection we make because we learn to trust ourselves and the world around us in deeper and more life-changing ways.

3. Welcome Growth

Embrace life as a journey towards self-actualization. We are born perfect and then life shows up. In that inherent ‘being human’ process, our mindsets (the way we think about things), the way we feel and hold pain and joy, and our inherent instincts, want and need to organically shift and expand, to come and to go as needed.

Yet sometimes, we get so attached that we limit ourselves. We limit people around us. We become rigid and inflexible, and we stop being relatable. We stop growing. The minute we stop growing, we stop learning.

If we’re not learning, if we’re not engaged in that learning cycle, that learning loop, we lose confidence in ourselves. And other people lose confidence in us too.

4. Be Intentional

Embrace your life wholeheartedly and with great intention, care and courage. This life we have to live is precious. You are unique and precious.

So what does this require?

First and foremost, it requires a capacity to be present — to be with and to bear witness to what’s going on in each precious moment.

It also requires us to say what we mean and mean what we say. Being incongruent, loose on our word, or bendy to the will and needs of others, will almost always result in us doing or saying something we regret. Regret invites shame. Shame invites weakness. It makes us feel vulnerable in all the wrong ways.

Finally, we teach people how to treat us. Teach wisely. Teach with great intention.

We exude confidence when we treat ourselves the way we want to be treated and as a result, can offer that same generosity in return.

5.Show Up Fully

Be brave enough to do the deeper work required to live a life of your choosing. It won’t likely be easy, but it will be worth it.

Expect detours, mistakes, and misunderstandings. Hold these close but lightly. Showing up fully in the messy and harder times builds character, resiliency, and presence.

Welcome the pauses and in-betweens. Life is not something to be rushed. If life is not pushing you, embrace that. Be with the natural ebb and flow. There are times in our life where the volume will be turned up, or we really want and need to turn it up, but we shouldn’t be living life at that velocity most of the time.

We will exhaust ourselves and miss the point. We will lose focus. We will lose control. We will eventually, lose confidence.

If life finds you here, remember too, confident people worry less and live more. See it, acknowledge its impact, and choose again.

This is a practice worth discovering. A formula that will sustain your newly found confidence and bring balance and purpose to your big and beautiful life!

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If you are interested in exploring these pre-cursors and want to consider a keynote or workshop for your team or organization, reach out to Renée at reneedineen@gmail.com.

You can also click here to learn more: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5657fff6e4b0f0c1a014f8aa/t/611312ed59f61146e4a0c4b6/1628639994007/KEYNOTE+%236-+Cultivating+Confidence%2C+Purpose+and+Authenticity.pdf



Renée Dineen

Recovering workaholic and action junky that left her executive level career to give herself a genuine shot at doing work that mattered most to her heart.