Self-Confidence May Be One of the Greatest Skills for Career Success

Can self-confidence be as important as technical skill? Ivan Joseph, PhD, says yes. The Athletic Director and head coach of the Varsity Soccer team at Ryerson University. He defines self-confidence as the ability to believe you can to accomplish any task at hand, no matter the difficulty or adversity. And he stresses self-confidence is a skill can that be taught and learned.

Now we're not talking about blind faith or stupidity here. We're talking about using repetition as a means to master a technical skill set, and then being self-confident in our ability to apply that skill set to the problem at hand. Build self-confidence by:

  • Being prepared, practiced, and persistent

  • Replacing negative self-talk with positive affirmation (not hubris or false pride)

Most lawyers I know have had plenty of people in their lives who've torn at their confidence -- whether abusive law firm partners or others. Joseph's talk is a primer in building back up a healthy sense of self that can lead to career success. It's also a primer in how attorneys can give junior lawyers and law students positive feedback, showing how focusing on praising positive behavior rather than constant focus on criticism results in more improvement.

He also talks about how self-confident people interpret situations -- including criticism -- differently.