Self Confidence Ingredients

Did you know that anxiety is one of the ingredients of self-confidence?

Self-confidence is a cocktail of emotional states that you feel at a time. A state is a physio-neuro-emotional response ( how you feel, what you think, and how you move). To feel confident, you need anxiety plus 6 more emotional states.

When the ingredients are mixed in the right proportion, you will experience confidence. If you miss a part or over do another, you will not get a sense of confidence.

Recipe of Self-Confidence:

Of course, there are slight variations to the recipe of confidence based on style, but the basic foundation is the same.

It’s similar to a recipe of a dish, the basic ingredients are the same, but you can add other ingredients for flair and taste. The same thing applies to the recipe of self-confidence.


  • 1 Part Anxiety:

Yes, you need a little bit of anxiety when presenting to keep you on your toes. Otherwise, the presentation will be flat and dead. Anxiety is induced by the Sympathetic Nervous System and the Endocrine System which also control the excitement hormones and neurotransmitters in the body. Anxiety in small doses and over a short period is a good thing, because it gives you energy, and it deepens your emotional tone when communicating to the audience.

  • 2 Parts Certainty:

Certainty means no doubting and no second guessing yourself while speaking in front of groups.

It means you know your material and you know it’s valued. The first time I saw Tony Robbins, I was struck by his sense of certainty, and I knew that “certainty” could be learned.

As an engineer, I lacked that sense of certainty. I was trained to check, double check, and triple check my work all the time. Of course, there is nothing wrong with checking, and triple checking your work in the right context, but if you do it on stage while presenting because of a habit, then you will never have that state of certainty needed for self-Confidence.

  • 1 Part Pride:

You have to be proud of your topic and your content when you are presenting. One time while taking a tour in Italy, the tour guide pointed her finger to the Colosseum and said “Solo in Italia.” Meaning only in Italy, and I can see the pride in her eyes, and hear the confidence in her voice. That’s the moment I realized that pride is an ingredient for confidence. Notice, I put 1 part of Pride because you don’t want to be too proud as a speaker, just a little bit. Otherwise, you will start hovering near the egotistical.

  • 2 Part Safety:

To be expressive, you have to feel safe. If you don’t feel safe in front of groups, then you will hold back and not express yourself adequately. The feeling of safety is a function of the Parasympathetic Nervous System, unlike its brother the Sympathetic Nervous System which is responsible for fight or flight, the parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for relaxing, rejuvenation.

When you are relaxed, you are more playful, more expressive, and more thoughtful.

Safety is a state of mind and can be cultivated and used when speaking in front of groups. Some people feel safe in a war zone, and some people don’t feel safe even living in the best neighborhoods in America. The reason is that the feeling of safety can be decoupled from the environment using our minds. So even if you present in the most hostile of environments, carrying that safety feeling with you is possible and critical for you to feel confident.

  • 1 Part Gratitude:

Gratitude usually balances the pride ingredient. Just like sweet balances hot in cooking, when you creating confidence you need to balance the ingredients as well.

Gratitude keeps you humble, and gratitude also activates the Parasympathetic Nervous System and gives you peace of mind to relax and enjoy your presentation. You can be grateful for your topic, for the opportunity to present, for your audience listening to you, for the clothes you are wearing.

There are infinite things to be grateful for, and it does not matter how you get that feeling as long as you have when presenting. Tony Robbins always says that it’s impossible to have Fear and Gratitude together in your system, and I agree, when you are grateful fear disappears (Notice that Fear and Anxiety are different things).

  • 2 Part Happiness:

How long can you sustain the feeling of happiness at will? Most people can’t sustain a feeling of happiness for more than 30 seconds (based on my experiments with clients).

Test this, pull a stop watch and get yourself to feel happy and then start the stopwatch and see how long can you keep it in your body (let me know in the comments). I can do up to 60 seconds now. It was horrible in the beginning, because, I can be in a state of pure anxiety for days and weeks, but when it comes to happiness, I can barely do 10 seconds.

I had to exercise my happiness muscles to build up to 60-second intervals and still practicing. Once you can will your happiness in private then you can will it in public while speaking in front of groups and that will contribute to your state of self-confidence.

  • 1 Part Love:

I know, this one might sound like a hokey pokey ingredient, yet it’s super important. My first public speaking coach told me once that while waiting for his time to speak, he looks at different people in the audience, and mentally says “I love you, I love you, I love you.”

I laughed, and I thought that there would be no application in a business setting, then I see my coach at a conference presenting in front of at least 1000 people with confidence and power.

I decided to give it a try, and I can feel an immediate shift to my confidence when I get myself to feel love for my audience. It started to feel like I am speaking to a family instead of strangers. Now, despite its hokey hokeyness, I work hard to foster a feeling of love for my audience ever time I speak.


If you want to feel confident when you speak, then you need to mix in the right ingredients. The recipe for confidence is a cocktail of the following states: 1 part anxiety, 2 part certainty, 1 part pride, 2 parts safety, 1 part gratitude, and 1 part love. When you combine these ingredients, you get self-confidence.

Peter Khoury

Peter Khoury: Founder @ MagneticSpeaking X-Pharmaceutical Engineer, turned author, national speaker and executive presentation coach.

In addition to Public Speaking training, Peter is a regular speaker on the topics of Negotiations, Conflict Management and Leadership. He is the author of the book “Self-Leadership Guide.