How to Change Lives with Two Words

Tell people they’re inadequate long enough and they’ll believe it. Undermine their confidence with constant correction, tweaking, and complaints and they’ll pull back.

Fill people with confidence and they’ll act with boldness.



Confidence is built on belief.

In the context of doubt about my blog, he said two words no one ever said to me. “Trust yourself.” I often rely on the words Martin Zwilling (@StartupPro) spoke over the phone that day. He probably forgot the conversation, but I haven’t.

He heard the doubt in my voice and pointed me to belief.

When you see worry and hear doubt, ask, “What do we need to believe.” Facts help, but only belief answers doubt.

The door of possibility swings on hinges of belief.


Martin didn’t say, “You can do it.”

“You can do it,” is like water off a ducks back to those who lack confidence. In reality, people lack confidence because they don’t believe they can do it.

Telling them they can, when they think they can’t, is gobbledygook.


I’m a man of faith so faith in God is the ultimate belief. Faith in God is a foundation for believing I have a place, talent, and that my life matters. Please note that if you’re not a person of faith, “Trust yourself,” still applies.

7 confidence builders:

  1. Confidence in yourself builds confidence in others.
  2. Let your joy out. Share how you love your organization. “You know what I love about working here? …..”
  3. Believe in others. But, more importantly, help them believe in themselves.
  4. Celebrate the the qualities in others that make them different.
  5. Explain the big picture.
  6. Show people where they fit in.
  7. Say, “Trust yourself.”

Bonus: Build a track record of small wins. Telling others to trust themselves to swim when they’ve never been in the water is foolish and dangerous.

How can leaders build the confidence of others?