In Celebration of World Cocktail Day I bring you… The Confidence Cocktail.

Apparently on May 13th is World Cocktail Day and to celebrate this robust cause let me share The Confidence Cocktail.

I had just completed my fifth book called Confidence at Work and I was in the mood to celebrate having been sequestered for many a month. No outings, no friends, no chat, no alcohol. So in the final stages of editing, my publishers asked how I was going to launch this book- what could I talk about and which chapters would be relevant. I had many interviews and quotes from leading writers like Daniel Goleman and Tony Buzan but how to make a splash was the challenge.

The Confidence Cocktail

Confidence is such an umbrella concept: many different ingredients, alternative perceptions, and a variety of meanings, all under the rubric of confidence. The word ‘ingredients’ accompanied by a desire for something bubbly led me to …yes… I was getting there…. confidence was like a cocktail.

Pursuing my theme I had discovered during my research that leaders, to be confident, had to follow their own recipe not anyone else’s. There is much talk about role models and of course they are in the mix but ultimately we have to distil our own individual response to work challenges and stop borrowing from others. Part of this confidence journey is to know who you are: strengths and weaknesses, warts and nice bits. And have a vocabulary that communicates your unique offering.

Confidence for me is also an ability to stir with panache. To feel and look confident you must have energy, a touch of panache. Without this ingredient it is more difficult to acquire followers. For this you need to know where you are going, grasp opportunities and be in charge of your life. Confidence is not hiding your light under a bushel, it is about having ideas and speaking up. It’s about volunteering for projects no one else wants to do. It’s about leading things- start with the scouts and brownies and keep going. In a word it is oomph.

My favourite cocktails are always chilled and so it is with people. The most relaxed person I have encountered is Bill Clinton. I saw him present in London’s Albert Hall. Despite the size of the venue, and it was packed, he was very relaxed. He came to the front of the stage and looked at the audience for fully 2 or 3 minutes just waiting for us to settle and focus. Truly a man who knew his worth and had nothing to prove. Stress is the antithesis of confidence. It skews and undermines and can lead to the overcompensation of arrogance which some people – mostly arrogant people- think is confidence but is so not. Learn to chill.

And finally add zest. Enthusiasm is contaminative and as long as it doesn’t border on missionary zeal is a glorious ingredient of confidence. Confident people have worked themselves out. They have focused on understanding themselves and so are freed to concentrate on others. This is the way of confident leaders. It’s not about them – it’s all about those around them.

So here’s to World Cocktail Day. Let’s raise a glass of your Confidence Cocktail.