If you were to ask anyone who has known me over my twenty-year career to describe me in three words or less the one that always comes up is "confident".  From my self-assurance that I can fix (almost) any problem to walking into a room of 100 strangers and train them in computer software: confidence. I have it in spades.

Or do I...? I remember, at age 20 and already training rooms full of strangers, having to read the poem "Us Two" from Winnie the Pooh during my sister's wedding ceremony and I remember it clearly - my legs were shaking, I felt like I was on fire, and having a wavering voice the entire time I then squeaked the final "says Pooh". Yet after the ceremony, without having said how I thought it went, people were telling me how confident I seemed, how steady my voice was, how calm I appeared to be.  Ha! If only they knew.  I have found this to be a great example of the perfect analogy for an assistant: be a duck! A duck glides across the water with poise, yet you don't see under the water where the feet are paddling like crazy.

I'm a great duck! So I'm going to share what I have learned in becoming such a duck in a five-part mini-series on confidence.

Part one - traits;
Part two - boosting confidence, and faking it in the interim;
Part three - confront with confidence;
Part four - is it better to be liked or respected?; and
Part five - how confidence makes leaders, not managers.

Let's start with those traits.

1. Patience.
Confident people have the ability to accept delay or difficulty in a calm manner.  They are very flexible in how they approach their day and their colleagues. They know that eventually it all comes out ok.  We all know the quote "it's not what happens to you, it's how you deal with it", and this is very true of us all.

2. Perseverance.
"Stubborn" as my mother prefers to call it…  Confident people are able to continue in spite of difficulty, or even lack of success.  They are rarely discouraged instead they overcome challenges and do not give up their goals.

3. Ambitious/competitive.
Confident people know what they want and they want to win.  Interestingly, many still believe that they win even when others consider they have actually lost.  Their perseverance enables them to learn lessons from all situations.

4. Passionate.
AKA motivated.  Passion is the difference between being happy in a role and burning out.  Passion and motivation come from happiness.

5. Risk-taker.
Confident people take risks because they are not afraid to lose.  As with three, there are always lessons to learn.

6. Accepting.
Confident people tend to take others as they are, regardless of shortcomings and realise that the path to success is within themselves and boosting others, not in breaking others down.

7. Shrewd social skills.
Confident people are a good judge of character.  With the belief that they belong in the environment that they are in they can quickly assess situations and respond in the most appropriate manner.

8. Positive.
Confident people know that starting again is always possible.  They look for the good in all situations and what can be learned from each one. Failure is a positive.

9. Pro-active/independent.
Confident people see the bigger picture and have solutions in hand ahead of a problem increasing, or indeed before a problem become a problem. Independent critical analysis is a key weapon in a confident person's arsenal.

10. Honest.
Confident people are honest in their opinions and their ability to express their needs.  A confident person will say if they believe they are being over or under-worked.
A confident person will rarely wonder "why me?" or say "I can't " or "I give up".  They will say that they have tried all they can for now and will take a break/do something else before taking a fresh look at it.

It's very important to note that there's one reason that confident people have these traits – practice! One can learn all of these traits, even passion once you master positivity, and I will cover this next time.