Confidence is a funny thing. We know we’re supposed to have it. The people who do are like magnets – we all want to bask in the glow of their self-assured knowing. It’s calm, it feels good, it feels stable.

But like anything, most of us can smell when it’s fake. You come on too strong or too cocky – you go from a calm presence to an agitating one. You’re aggressive and defensive instead of accepting and indifferent.

No one wants to be that guy.

But few of us want to be the insecure guy either. Trapped by second-guessing and self-doubt, insecurity can literally cause you to miss opportunities for jobs, relationships, and growth. You can spend your life as a shadow of who you’re meant to be.

As a coach, you’d think the last group was a good audience – they need inspiring and motivating and a little bit could go a long way to making a difference in their lives.

But there’s a fourth group that’s even more intriguing – people who seem confident but don’t feel it.

These people show up strongly, even boldly, to others, but internally question themselves and their actions. They may also swing between pompous and cowering as they try to navigate what it means to feel and act confidently. Get them on a topic they love though, and they’ll settle into their true stride and drop the inner insecure dialogue for a while.

And that’s where the power and opportunity is – people like this aren’t faking being confident; they’re faking being insecure.

Their insecurities are like a habit they picked up to be more socially acceptable – like a misguided attempt at manners or being polite. If I make myself small, I won’t make others feel bad. I won’t rock the boat. I won’t threaten anyone.

But deep down, they know they have something magical to offer the world. They know they’re good and worthy and whole. They just don’t know how to hold those feelings and get over the hurdle of fear of owning them.

Because feeling truly powerful can be scary. Every love song on the radio – every TV show reiterates our cultural need to feel clingy and “not enough” without someone else’s approval or affection.

So if you feel good in and of yourself, will you be loved? Will you fit in? Will you be accepted? We all know the logical answer, but our fears aren’t logical. We want hard guarantees we’ll be safe and loved.

But guarantees don’t exist except for this one – if you love yourself, it’ll be okay.

You may need practice. In that case, volunteer, focus on your natural gifts and interests, hang out with friends who build you up – actively seek out only those things that allow you to naturally excel and rest easy in your innate confidence. And start noticing when you belittle and make yourself small out of habit. Often, just noticing the pattern is enough.

Then – most importantly – do whatever it is you’re meant to do. Create whatever it is your meant to create and get your message out into the world, so that you can inspire others to leap too.

Be free. Be brave. Be YOU!