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Most people walk into a group and conclude that the outspoken ones exude leadership capabilities. Yes, this may be so but look at the quiet ones who sit and observe. You would be surprised at their depth of knowledge and ability to lead when tested. Joseph Mojume, a LEAP Africa alumnus states that no one is an introvert. You just have to start the right conversation and watch an introvert become an extrovert. I had always thought that every world leader was born a natural speaker. Boy, was I wrong! I’ll tell you about my interesting discovery;

I had the privilege to attend the recently concluded Summer Youth Leadership Programme at LEAP Africa. It was a 5-day abridged training programme with sessions on relevant issues such as Self-Awareness, Moral Ethics etc. It was a wonderful and highly beneficial experience. It’s a shame you missed it, but not to worry the Personal Effectiveness Programme is coming up on the 29th and 30th of August 2013. It’s not too late to apply ;). For more information, visit or

Ok, I digressed a little. During the Leadership for Change session at the programme, we had to watch a movie called Gandhi. Have you seen the movie? (Caution: Spoiler Alert!) The movie is a biography of Mohandas K. Gandhi and his involvement in the Indian revolts against the British rule. After the movie, we had a class exercise to write down Gandhi’s leadership qualities and a few people shared their comments. Many people spoke about his courage, discipline and humility. Humility? Courage ke? Little ol’ me was looking lost because I saw something a bit different. He didn’t just start out all courageous and stuff. He got better as the movie progressed. Here’s my note;

“Gandhi proved that even the quiet ones like me could become leaders if they have a strong conviction and are determined to make a change. Leaders are made not born so you still have a shot. A leader is made through his experiences and his ability to improve on his/her weaknesses while driving a group of people towards a positive goal”

So if you fall under the ‘too quiet to give my opinion in a discussion’ group, it doesn’t mean that you didn’t get the leadership gene. You just need to work a bit harder. Although there are several qualities of a leader, self-confidence is an integral part.Here are some tips that have worked for me:
• The first step to reaching your potential as a leader is Self-Awareness. You have to understand yourself. What makes you tick? What drives you? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Be honest with yourself. (Don’t make stuff up!)
• Figure out your shy bug. A shy bug is that thing that makes you nervous. For me, it’s unfamiliar faces. How do I make all these people listen to me? When you discover the source of your shyness, you are one step closer to squashing it.
• Be prepared! If you plan and early, you’ll feel more confident in your work.
• Practice! Practice! Practice! Before you give a presentation, run through it a number of times. Start a conversation with someone on the elevator.
• Relax! Take a deep breath. Everyone gets the initial shiver, its what you do after it that matters. People want to hear what you have to say 😉
How have you overcome your shyness? Do share! Please leave a comment here, we love to read from you.


19 thoughts on “Tips to Build Your Self Confidence!

  1. My shy bug? Not being adequately prepared. Now I’ve got to go watch the movie Gandhi. “Everyone gets the initial shiver, its what you do after it that matters…” I love that! So true.


  2. I’ve been able to overcome shyness by seeing shyness as a barrier. I have realised that the contents of what to be passed across is more important, and not passing it can be consequential, so, am pushed to speak-up, and deliver.


  3. i haven’t overcome my shyness or more aptly reserve. i still live with it,a constant companion. but i say to it…”hey,look. you cant stop me,i’m meant to do great things”. which is why,even though i’m one of the most quiet people i know,i am a public speaker and MC shows. very contradicting,yes, i know. See what i do here,the scope is scary for a shy girl…


    1. Hello Zainab, I am very impressed at how you have taken on the things that thrust you into spotlight. No doubt, you will overcome your shyness someday! Thanks for sharing your blog link too.


  4. “A leader is made through his experiences and his ability to improve on his/her weaknesses while driving a group of people towards a positive goal”

    Love this! Certainly drives the point home about the need for self-awareness to be an effective leader.


  5. Great piece. As a univeristy undergraduate, I realised that I never wanted to speak up whenever lecturers posed questions to the class.. Well, not answering questions often led to more difficult assignments.. Lol. I just knew I had to start speaking up.

    Thanks for the link to the next meeting.. I’d try to be present.


    1. Thanks Mathias :). You are right, the assignments could have been easier if you had spoken up or asked questions. Some people need huge confidence to get up in a crowd, they are afraid of mistakes or even saying the wrong things. I am sure your comment will help someone next time they are in class and contemplating this situation.


  6. Much more interesting than i expected. its fact that quiet people dont see themselves leading cause they attribute ‘outgoing-ness’ to be an important trait.


  7. Nice piece…Well, i’m generally a quiet person,although alot of people that know me kind of disagree… For me,I overcame shyness by believing everyone too is shy but they still have to say what they have to say… And like you said ” Everyone gets the initial shiver, its what you do after it that matters. People want to hear what you have to say”…


  8. Very beautiful write-up. I build confidence by telling myself that ‘nobody is here to ostracize me. They are only interested in my opinion’.


      1. There was a point in my life I was so shy, I ran to the anonymous nature of my blog for safety, but then I discovered that great people never hid behind the screen, then I started paying more attention to coming out and being open with my gifts. Thanks for this post.


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