“Hi! I’m Troy McClure, you may remember me from such self-help films as Smoke Yourself Thin! And, Get Confident Stupid!” (Aaah… the ever-insightful Simpsons).

I do an awful lot of talking about Confidence – I talked about it a lot back when I used to teach and now, as a Coach and an Actor, I spend a lot of time helping people to attain a greater sense of self-confidence.

And that word, Confidence, is almost ubiquitous! Every make-up brand, cosmetic surgery advertisement, outward-bound Team-Building offering promises increased Self-confidence, Team confidence… Bomb-proof CONFIDENCE!!! Buy our stuff and get confident! Buy these shoes and walk with more confidence! Wear this watch (Leo does!) and tell the time with more confidence! I know… It’s preposterous. And it occurred to me, that often, when we’re talking about confidence, and especially, increasing confidence, what’s actually required is Courage.

Confidence is the certainty that an action or undertaking can be performed or undertaken! Confidence comes from certainty, and certainty can only come from experience. Once we’ve walked across the rope bridge (and not plunged into the freezing water below), once we’ve asked for (and got) that raise, once we’ve closed that multi-million-pound deal we have a baseline on which to build the confidence that we can do so again. Until then, we can have all the confidence we want in ourselves but it’s actually Courage that is getting our feet to move out over that drop, it’s Courage that’s turning the handle of our boss’ door, it’s Courage that is holding out for that last clause to be agreed!

And Courage comes from somewhere deep inside. From that brilliant, shining part of you that absolutely, positively refuses to be something, that you know in your deepest Self, you are not. And we must nurture and congratulate ourselves when we let that tiny voice guide us to reach beyond ourselves.

So, the next time something is proving difficult and you’re berating yourself and thinking: “I’d be alright if I only had more confidence”, take a moment and congratulate yourself for all those times you’ve found the courage to go ahead and do the scary thing in spite of your fears, because, in doing so you have laid the foundation for an unshakeable self-confidence, steadfastly-built on genuine experience and for that you should be rightly proud.