With over 650,000 copies already sold and well on his way to a million copies in the first twelve months of release, you would forgive James Clear – author of Atomic Habits – for allowing some of that success to go to his head. And yet, when I was privileged to hear him speak last week in Sydney, he was anything but prideful.

‘I didn’t want to write to be a New York Times Bestseller. I wanted to write because I had something to say and something to contribute’ – James Clear

While he remained extremely humble about his success, that isn’t to say he lacked confidence. He delivered his content with absolute conviction and energy and he passionately defended his work when questioned by the audience. He was both humble AND confident.  

I think we’ve been led to believe that humility and confidence exist at opposite ends of the spectrum, that if you are confident you lack humility, and if you accept affirmation without modestly brushing it aside then you are prideful. But while it may sound like an oxymoron it is not only possible for leaders, it’s critically important. Let’s unpack what confident humility looks like: 

  1. When we lack both humility and confidence: we enter the room anxious. We focus on our insecurities. We don’t want to stand out or be noticed. As a result we end up self-focused and unknown. This helps nobody.  
  2. When we are humble but lack confidence: we try to stay anonymous in the room. We push others forward in an attempt to be selfless and stick to the shadows. Perhaps the idea of stepping out is met with the fear of being seen as prideful and as a result we live a life in obscurity. This only helps others.
  3. When we are confident but lack humility: we enter the room making it our mission to be known. We become infamous. Well known for the wrong reasons. Confidence that lacks humility wreaks of arrogance. This hurts you. 
  4. When we walk in both humility and confidence:we enter the room in service to others and from that place of service we influence and lead the room. We believe in what we have and we don’t shy away from sharing it with others. We become known for how we help others. The more we are known the more people we can serve. This helps everyone. 

You have full permission to be Confidently Humble. In fact, the world needs that from you. Don’t spend another moment in obscurity hiding the value you can offer to others around you. Be confident and put yourself out there. And when you do, be humble. Not the ‘self-deprecating, shying away from influence and total disregard for yourself ’ type of humble but rather the ‘becoming the best version of yourself to be given in service to those you lead’ kind of humility. 

Write that article, share that post, record that video, speak at that conference and put yourself forward. The world needs your ‘something to say’ and your ‘something to contribute’


(P.S – If you’re ready to start speaking and want some help to manage the nerves and master your delivery. I’ve got a great 90 Day Public Speaking Group Program kicking off this July that I think you will love. Email me and I can send you all the info.