Turn Your Confidence Into A High Performing Machine

You might just be one detour away from changing your life.

Godwin Etim
5 min readMay 6, 2021


A few years ago, I was 19, in school, and a loser. I did not call myself a loser to be self-deprecating. I called myself a loser because I thought I was Tom Cruise. I thought I had the world at my beck and call. I thought the world was my footstool, and I could call on kings and potentates to wash my feet upon request. The irony was, I couldn’t call anyone — even my friends.

Who wouldn’t be sick of a guy who thought so lowly of others? Was this confidence?

At least I thought it was.

What do you think confidence is?

Confidence vs. Arrogance

“Confidence is when you believe in yourself and your abilities, arrogance is when you think you are better than others and act accordingly. You could say that arrogance is false confidence and that the person displaying it is overcompensating for their inner inadequacies.”― Stewart Stafford

In a world where the most powerful office on earth is occupied by a man who speaks out of order and without caution, I could understand why it must be difficult to tell the difference between confidence and arrogance.

Confidence is a tool and not a vice — I didn’t know this at the time.

My best understanding of confidence versus arrogance is self vs. others. Arrogance is all about what other people think, how other people feel. Not what they think or feel about themselves, but you. You know you’re arrogant when you spend every waking moment pondering what people would say about you and how you can change it. Arrogance is the son of insecurity.

On the other hand, confidence is a conviction within yourself — a system of self-validation driven by strong belief. Confidence in the way you walk would add pep to your step. Confidence in the way you speak would ignite eloquence in your speech. Confidence in your decisions would enhance happiness in your life. Confidence is king, arrogance is a scullion.

The Realization

In my second year of college, I had decided to pick up a part-time job. It was probably another way I used to feel better than my peers. Or perhaps because I needed some spare change in my pocket.

I was fortunate to land a job as a salesperson at Nordstrom selling luxury suits in the men’s department. Working at Nordstrom was a rude awakening for me. Although I thought I knew everything — my first week at Nordstrom proved I knew nothing.

I met a beautiful, well-spoken woman. She was elegant in every regard, a great decision-maker, and she dressed like Empress Elizabeth of Australia, whose grace enthralled everyone who encountered her. She so happened to be my boss.

She showed me a world I was utterly unaware of. The experience was humbling and cumbersome. I had to be a student again; I had to be a listener again. I talk in more detail about listening in my article below.

During my first few months, I realize that not using confidence was preventing me from making more money at the job — and quite frankly, preventing me from attaining happiness in my life.

How to Use Confidence

I learned that confidence was a tool and not some inherent trait that magically falls on those who are worthy of it. As a tool, it can be used and upgraded to be used for greater things. On a base level, a tool can be said to a device used to carry out a particular function. Confidence is a device that you can use to achieve things — and upgrade to achieve even bigger things.

While working at Nordstrom, I was capricious because of the learning curve. My arrogance made me judge customers based on how they dressed and how they looked. I missed out on great leads because pride was the wall to my success — but I thought it was the bridge.

Here’s how I used confidence to make more money:

Leveraging networks

At the beginning of my journey at Nordstrom, I was arrogant — which meant I was highly insecure. I judged people and elevated myself rather than building networks that would be profitable to me.

Being confident has little to do with other people and much to do with you. To connect with people on a human level, you must be well in tune with yourself. Confident people exude self-assurance. It is like an alluring fragrance that is irresistible to the people around them.

I started to approach everyone with a smile and extraordinary hospitality. Every time I was asked, “how are you doing?” I replied, saying, “fantastic.” My allure became immeasurable (that might sound arrogant, but it’s not).

My client list began to grow, and my clients became my friends.

Doing what truly mattered

Health is wealth, and when you’re arrogant, you’re too busy judging other people to see your misgivings. Things like eating right, exercise, and organizing myself, became of utmost importance.

Doing what truly matters means letting go of the rules that hold you in captivity.

“I have to be professional.”

“These kinds of problems aren’t for me to solve.”

“I know better than to stoop to their level.”

All these thoughts are self-doubting and self-limiting. Let go of them.

Apart from having rules on what you should and should not do — you also take on the expectations of other people on yourself. How do you deal with all that? Well… you don’t have to. When you’re confident, you do what you need to do to learn and grow.

There is nothing more attractive than a person who puts themselves first. Putting yourself first allows you to be present with other people. When I learned how to take care of myself, I could take care of my customer and customer love being taken care of.

Realizing my voice had value

Believing in your capacity to achieve greatness is confidence — its self-efficacy.

Working on the value of your voice permits you to say no to people who do not respect your values. It gives you the tenacity to uphold integrity even in tough situations — and more importantly, knowing the value of your voice makes it stronger and gives it more impact.

Having a stronger voice allows you to ask for what you are worth. One of the greatest lessons I learned from my manager at Nordstrom was to ask. When I was applying for other jobs, I got a call from a company offering me a salary I didn’t think was adequate. But it was a company I wanted to work for. I had a decision to make.

She encouraged me to ask for what I thought was adequate.

That was another moment when I realized how scared I was. While asking for what I wanted on the interview table, my legs were trembling, but I was able to get the words out. To my surprise, they accepted my offer. That day I learned that my voice has value.

Final Thoughts

You might be mistaken — you might think that the pep in your gait is confidence. It might be arrogance. But don’t be discouraged if it is, after some introspection, you can begin the transformation. Being able to transform yourself is powerful and that power is within you.