One of my favorite girl power songs, which makes me feel ready to tackle even my biggest challenges, is Demi Lovato’s “Confident.” She sings it with a “don’t mess with me” attitude that makes me feel like a powerful, confident business leader. Demi sings, “So you say I’m complicated, but you’ve had me underrated. What’s wrong with being confident?”

I say nothing – as long as you don’t cross the line to being cocky. I learned this lesson years ago when I first entered the business world.

I stepped out of college bright-eyed and ready to change the world. When I met my first client at PricewaterhouseCoopers, I thought I could take all this business knowledge I had accumulated in school and tell people who had been at their jobs 20-plus years how to run their business better. As you might imagine, my clients quickly put me in my place. While my intentions were good, my delivery sucked!

It didn’t sit well with me that my clients didn’t like me. I decided to do something about it, so I started investing in my own professional development. As I look back now at almost 20 years of my own development and my experience training others to be their best at work, I get the difference between confident and cocky. I practice confidence, but I keep my ego in check.

Cocky is believing you are the best.

Confidence is believing in yourself and doing your best.

As a feminine leader, I have learned that confidence starts and ends with my self-talk. I found that if I allow negative self-talk, there is no room for believing in myself, let alone being confident. First, I quiet the doubt and stop questioning myself. I start by focusing on what I have accomplished, and celebrating my actions and commitments to do my best, even if I didn’t get the results I wanted.

To make sure I am doing my best, I take some time each week to reflect on my success habits and to consider habits I may have that don’t serve others or me. This helps me identify what I have done to constantly improve my performance and where my opportunities are to do even better next time I am faced with a similar challenge. Every misstep is still a step closer to my goal. As long as I learn from it and avoid the misstep in the future, I know I will continue to give my clients and my tasks the best I have to offer.

Beyond digging into the specifics of how I can do my best, I make sure I feel my best. I boost my joy and confidence in some fun, feel-good ways. I listen to “power songs” such as Demi’s song, the theme from Superman, or “Eye of the Tiger” to feel like a champion. I read great quotes and books that teach and inspire me. I listen to speakers who make me feel unstoppable. I laugh daily.

While I may or may not be the best, I know deep down that I am willing to learn and that I will do what it takes to give it my all. Luckily, I have learned to keep my cocky attitude out of it, so I know there is nothing wrong with being confident.

About Your Columnist

Jen Hamilton is a featured columnist for Women Taking Charge, the official blog of Connected Women of Influence, where she covers ways to get people to do their job right, professionally, and work well with others. Jen is the CEO and co-founder of Institute for Mastering Success, a corporate training and development company that supports their clients in escalating their teams into promotable people.

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