Self-esteem or Self-confidence – Which One Makes You a Success?

by Ann Vertel, Ph.D.

If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, your self-esteem is irrelevant.

Your self-confidence; well that’s another matter. Since people tend to use them interchangeably, let’s distinguish the two.

Self-esteem is your perception of your personal worth. “Do I deserve it?”

Self-confidence is your perception of your ability to do something. “Can I do it?”

Self-esteem is built, or not built, by your past experiences and the lack of it keeps therapists in business. Self-esteem is the culmination of what you’ve been taught to think about yourself.

Self-confidence, on the other hand, is built entirely by you every time you take a deliberate action that moves you in the direction of your goals.

The more you do something, the more you believe you can do it. Remember those initial days with your new driver’s license or your first day in a new school?

The cool thing about self-confidence is that you can deliberately and methodically grow it.

And the other cool thing about self-confidence is that, because the only way to grow it is through action, you also get to see tangible results. So even when you cross the finish line you may still have low self-esteem, but your self-confidence and your belief if your abilities will be sky-high.

Self-esteem is not necessary for success. Self-confidence is.

So don’t worry too much about whether or not you deserve to be successful – of course, you do. Leave the “am I worth it” stuff at the door. You are. No one is going to get hurt because you succeed so just get on with it.

I’ve seen scores of women, who’ve built their self-confidence through targeted and persistent action, actually wind up with higher self-esteem. They discover along the way of doing and doing and doing that they are, in fact, absolutely and completely worth it.

No one can work out for you. No one can eat or sleep or meditate for you. And no one can build your self-confidence; only you can do that by choosing a positive attitude and daily action.

You choose your attitude and you choose the action you take, whether it hinders or supports your ultimate goals. You already have the power to gain high self-confidence and the success that comes with it; you just need to keep doing the next, right thing.

Be bold! –Ann


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2 Replies to “Self-esteem or Self-confidence – Which One Makes You a Success?”

  1. Gemma W.

    Self-esteem is about mindset. If you were conditioned to have a certain mindset which undermines your self-esteem then yes, go for therapy, do whatever you need to do to change it to a positive mindset. Conditional thinking can be reversed with time and effort. I like to use hypnosis and introspection to achieve that.

    Self-confidence is always undermined by a low self-esteem. So you might fake it until you make it, but faking definitely gets old and transparent at some point, and you won’t make it until you fix your self-esteem issues.

    Source: personal experience.

  2. Jane Perdue

    Ann – I take a little different view on the topic, believing that self-esteem and self-efficacy are the foundations for self-confidence. Self-esteem — believing that you have worth, are competent, deserve to be happy — is an essential ingredient for confidence.

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