The Confident CEO

by / ⠀Startup Advice / May 10, 2013

The Confident CEOLet me present you with a scenario; imagine two individuals, James and Robin both come up with the same idea. Both think it is going to fill a gap in the market and will revolutionise the industry. James sits back in his chair and ponders on what it will take to get this idea off the ground. This pondering takes him the best part of an hour and by the end is full of excitement about how rich his new idea is going to make him. Robin on the other hand draws out a rough outline and asks what the first thing that needs to happen in order to get this idea started.

If I was to ask you who is more likely to gain more confidence over time, who would you choose? I’d put my money on Robin.

This is an example of something that happens everyday and points to the fundamental reason why some people start and why others just dream. I help people turn their ideas into reality and one of the biggest barriers to starting a business is a misunderstanding of what stops someone from beginning.

Whilst I have a business now, there was a time when I worked full time in an office. I can guarantee you there were people in the office that had aspirations to start up on their own. What stopped them? Confidence.

Here lies the problem. Confidence comes as a result of doing something, NOT before it. A lot of times someone won’t say outright they don’t have the confidence, it will come in the form of either:

(a) The stories they tell themselves

They’ll say they don’t have the money, they don’t have the time, they’ll say they are not good enough yet to pursue the idea, they will say everything apart from ‘what do I need to do first’ because that is a commitment to act, whereas the story they are telling themselves is pushing them more to retreat.

(b) Avoiding the important work

Seth Godin commented in his start up school that you have to distinguish what the hard parts of your project is. Too often he sees people not engaging in the hard part of their project, opting instead to do the easy work. A confident CEO doesn’t shy away from the hard parts!

So confidence is the ongoing process of doing what is necessary to achieve your outcome in spite of any fear or anxiety that may be present. With that in mind how do you ensure that you run your business to become a confident CEO rather than a fear filled one?

1.    Notice your achievements

Having a business is a marathon, not a sprint. It requires you have staying power and in order for that to happen it is necessary to notice your achievements and use them as fuel during the inevitable low periods.

2.    Expect Mistakes

Any business owner that says they haven’t failed or made mistakes are lying. Expecting mistakes doesn’t make them more likely to happen, it just means the mistake is less likely to result in game over for your business. If you jump out of a plane are you going to be more or less confident knowing your parachute has a back up handle? Are you going to be more confident flying a plane that has 4 emergency back ups or the plane that has none? It is the same for your business; having contingencies for setbacks mean you will be more confident to take necessary risks.

3.    Act more than ponder

There is a time for idea generation but it shouldn’t be given more time than the act of doing business. By acting you get fuel for your confidence. The majority of time people lack confidence because they haven’t got enough representations in their mind for what they want to be confident in. By doing the act of business you are providing yourself with examples of why you are a confident CEO.

4.    Don’t do it alone

Have a support unit. Business can be a lonely game if you do not have people around you who can support you in achieving your outcome.

5.    Strive for flow

Part of confidence in any domain is having an intuitive sense of what to do. People who are novice have to think a lot before coming to a decision whereas experienced practitioners can make accurate predictions with less information. They use experience and create heuristics in their mind to reduce the thinking time in coming to a decision. This creates a flow state where everything becomes less stressful. This is the optimal state of a confident CEO.

Having a successful business is an incredible achievement and by becoming a confident CEO you can lead others in becoming confident themselves. Become confident yourself and then provide others with the exemplar of how to be.

Aaron Morton is the creator of The Confidence Lounge. A platform where you can discover how to turn your ideas into reality. Aaron works with individuals who want to earn money on the side from their job using the skills and talents they already have. If you want to learn more about igniting that confidence inside you, go to

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About The Author

Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is Co-Founder of Under30Experiences, a travel company for young people ages 21-35. He is the original Co-founder of Under30CEO (Acquired 2016). Matt is the Host of the Live Different Podcast and has 50+ Five Star iTunes Ratings on Health, Fitness, Business and Travel. He brings a unique, uncensored approach to his interviews and writing. His work is published on, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, Reuters, and many others. Matt hosts yoga and fitness retreats in his free time and buys all his food from an organic farm in the jungle of Costa Rica where he lives. He is a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers.