Matthew Hussey’s three secrets to true confidence

Relationship expert Matthew Hussey hosted an online workshop about success and truth at the 4th annual Momentum #She owns her Success campaign. 

Owning our success is a good thing, he agrees, but there is more than one way of measuring success. Measuring success by achievements is what he calls ‘resume success’, but he sees real success as the traits that got us to where we are, not the list of things we’ve done. If we measure our success by our achievements, we are not likely to focus on connecting with people but rather on impressing them. Insecure people try to impress. Secure people connect.

 There are three secrets to owning our success from a place of having become truly successfully confident in ourselves, he says, and here they are. Three of them.

Secret number 1 is: ‘Beware your mutations’. We all have our mutations, the things for which we receive validation. For some of us it's pleasing people, for some it's kindness, or some, it's over achieving, and for some of us, it's always delivering on a project. We all have that one thing that we build all of our validation around.

He draws a grid that looks just like a noughts and crosses game, and says that’s how we like to think of our matrix. And then he fills it with things that validate us – work, friends, family, appearance, wealth. But this neat matrix is flawed. Most of us get most of our validation from one or two things – job, relationship, wealth, whatever – and that thing dominates the matrix making it look more like a Mondrian painting.

Now that thing – be it career, family or whatever – that you get so much validation from that it dominates all else, is your mutation. So your validation becomes your mutation, and your mutation becomes your vulnerability. If all your confidence is derived from your job, or your relationship, losing that could be devastating.

So he suggests we all draw our own matrix, and then work out how we can diversify it. If you’re completely invested in your career at the expense of all else, or your partner, or your sport, start paying attention to the other areas. That way, if you lose your job, or your partner, or get dropped from the team, you will be upset, but not completely devastated and destroyed. Diversification is the key.

The number one secret to confidence – real confidence, not resume confidence – is to be aware of your mutations, and then neutralise them by investing in areas that haven't had enough attention. It’s a way of building resilience.

Secret number two is: ‘Set boundaries with people and stick to them.’ If your mutation is people pleasing, or being that person ‘who always delivers, no matter what’, you’re not  setting boundaries. Having a boundary may jeopardise our identity as being someone who always goes the extra mile, always delivers. So we’re afraid that, if we say no, we won't be respected, we won't be loved, we won't be seen as worthy, we won't be seen as necessary. 

Enforcing well-set boundaries is like keeping a promise to ourself. It’s not easy, and it’s scary. Sticking to boundaries may mean losing something we value. It might not work. But we have to remind ourselves that, if the situation continues to make us feel disrespected and taken for granted, then it’s not working – and it’s probably never worked. Not enforcing boundaries leads to pain.

Secret number 3 is: Change where you derive your confidence from. Of course, there's a confidence that comes from competence, but some people are never confident no matter how competent they become. And here’s a scary thought – research shows that women get held back more because of lack of confidence than skill. So we say no to opportunities because we’re scared that we’ll fail, that we’ll look foolish. 

That's because we base our confidence around winning, getting praise, or some other predetermined measure of success. Take Matthew’s YouTube videos, for example. He does one a week, and some are massive hits, and some flop. But if he based his decision about whether to post on whether it was certain not to fail, he’d stop making videos. If he based his confidence on always being right, he would be mortified if someone pointed out a mistake, and he probably wouldn’t take risks – wouldn’t push the boundaries. So he bases his certainty on something else – on truth. That way if he gets negative comments, and it turns out that he was wrong, he can rejoice that he’s been given a tool to get closer to the truth – because that is his ultimate goal.

Gaining true confidence is not about suddenly discovering how wonderful you are, it’s about changing the game. Rather than placing your certainty in things that make you scared to take a step forward, place it in something that makes it inevitable that you will take risks, and keep pushing forward, inevitable that you’ll keep growing. And that thing, according to Matthew, is truth. By basing your self-worth on truth rather than success, you can have a sense of certainty today. 

By deciding to invest in your plan, in yourself, in where you're going, in what you think is the best thing right now. And other people will find that certainty in you attractive, compelling, sexy and safe. And they will want to go where you go.