How To Be Confident Without Being Arrogant

One common question I’m asked: How can I be confident without being arrogant?


I love this question. I usually tell people it’s OK to know your own strengths (even more OK to own them!) And it doesn’t help anyone when we deflect compliments and play small in the world.


But it makes sense that human nature is to feel a desire to be liked. To be loved. To be admired. And we sometimes worry that if we’re too confident that might push someone away.


The truth is, true confidence doesn’t have to be bragged about. The real different between confidence and arrogance is all about the intention behind it. Confident people live their lives – confidently. They don’t need to “in your face it” with dropping names, putting others down or overly boasting about anything. Confident people live it because they feel it. They don’t need to prove it.


I find bragging (and trust me, I’ve done my fair share) comes from when we feel insecure, uncertain and unworthy. So check your intention next time you think you may be spouting off too much of your own awesomeness. And know that your confidence isn’t just heard but seen, felt, and witnessed. Just by being you.


Still not sure if you have confidence or arrogance? Think about:


  • Confidence is built on self-discovery. It comes from knowing and accepting yourself and your strengths – and owning those strengths. It takes time and effort to foster and build.
  • Arrogance is a reactionary feeling. In fact, it’s the opposite of confidence – it’s a method to prove yourself rather than accept and love yourself.
  • Being confident is being comfortable with who you are. You don’t have to put anyone else down to feel good. So if you are trying to – odds are you aren’t feeling true confidence.
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    5 Books That Will Inspire You

    For me, reading is an essential outlet for my inspiration. I feel like a great book has the power to uncover our most buried emotions and awaken a new delicious curiosity.

    Here are 5 books that give insight into inspiration, education, and motivation in my life. Enjoy!

    daringgreatly-199x3001. Daring Greatly
    by Brene Brown

    Who doesn’t love Brene?? (Insert Oprah voice here).

    She has the uncanny ability to make you excited about embracing imperfection and uncertainty (I mean, come on!) But I’m also lucky to call her a friend – so do yourself a favor — dive into her love, humor and smart advice right away!






    Masterminds_and_Wingmen_jacket_image-768x11672. Masterminds & Wingmen: Helping Our Boys Cope with Schoolyard Power, Locker-Room Tests, Girlfriends, and the New Rules of Boy World
    by Rosalind Wiseman

    Rosalind is the mastermind behind Queen Bees and Wannabes (which ultimately became the movie “Mean Girls”), and now she tackles the boy world with Masterminds & Wingmen which explores how bullying, social stigmas and power struggles shape our boys emotionally. A must read for parents and educators!




    big-magic-book3. Big Magic
    by Elizabeth Gilbert

    I’m in love with Elizabeth Gilbert. And her work. Totally, madly, obsessively in love. Her words and thoughts hit me in the heart and make me go, “MMMM YAAASSS” out loud! This book helped me also develop a really sexy relationship with my creativity – so I highly recommend!







    97812500789574.  I wonder: Celebrating Daddies Doin’ Work
    by Doyin Richards

    Doyin hits on the question every dad asks himself: “I wonder if I’m doing a good job.” And my answer to Doyin after reading this book is: YES! I love his persistent optimism and his wonderful and refreshing celebration of fatherhood. A must read and share!




    imgres5.  Poems From the Pond by Peggy Freydberg, edited by Laurie David

    I’ve already written a post about how Peggy (who started writing poetry at age 90, btw!) has become my muse. Her brilliant collection of poems brought every emotion I have to the surface and gave me new perspective on how we view life’s progression. Even if you think you don’t like poetry, I promise – you will not put this book down.




    Ending Toxic Friendships

    You may have heard me talk about your “esteem team” before.


    I think it’s important to know very specifically who has your back at all times.


    The one you ugly cry with.


    The ones who see you at your worst and know you at your best.


    The one you call to the move the body.


    Consider it my new definition of #squad goals – but you really only need one special person on your esteem team.


    And I can’t emphasize enough how important it is on your journey to self-discovery. It’s been a crucial component on my own path, too.


    So how do you know who’s on your team?


    Your “esteem team” are the ones who allow you to grow, and who encourage it, actually.


    But we may not always be surrounded by those people.


    Especially when we’re younger, it can feel like having a bunch of friends is important. But the truth is – especially when it comes to friendship – quality goes much further than quantity.


    Sometimes when we realize we are friends with people who are stumping our growth it’s hard to think about letting them go.


    But trust me when I tell you – and you can borrow my 15 years of hard friendship lessons learned – you need to say goodbye to someone who can’t stand fully by your side.


    How do you know when you’re in a toxic friendship?


    Here are a few questions you can ask yourself:


    When you are with this person do you feel more empowered or more discouraged?


    Are your thoughts and ideas valued and listened to?


    Do you feel comfortable being yourself around this person?


    If you can’t be your true, authentic self when you’re with this friend, it may be time to have a conversation about this. I know – it’s scary, but a true friend can handle a moment of discomfort and honesty. It can be awkward but real friendships survive.


    What happens if you have that convo and nothing changes?


    Maybe it’s time to move on.


    So now what?


    Ending a toxic friendship doesn’t have to be dramatic. We can start by making a conscious effort to limit the amount of time we spend with that person. We can focus on the friends who ARE positive and gravitate toward them.


    But it doesn’t end there. It’s also important to take a look inside yourself in the process, and ask:


    Why am I continually choosing friends like this?


    How can I prevent this from happening again?


    When we want to make a change in our lives, we have to take initiative.


    There’s no doubt in my mind that you’re capable of it. We all are.


    We have to make sure we’re learning from our experiences. When you go through difficult patches, remember to think about what you can take away from them. How can it help you better yourself? How can it help you get back on track to where you want to be?


    It isn’t always easy, but it IS possible and worth it!


    3 Habits of Confident People

    Top question I’m most asked is: How do I become more confident?

    My answer: Enjoy your journey.


    Your confidence comes from the relationship you have with yourself.

    It can be impacted by your ability to navigate the world around you.

    It can be shaped by the relationships you have with others or the achievements you experience.


    But confidence is ultimately an inside job.

    And it’s directly related to your own unique journey.


    Here are three things I see the most confident people I know practice everyday:


    1. Know (And Celebrate) Your Strengths

    You don’t have to be the very best there is, but it’s important to know what you do well. I bet you can make a list of 10 things you want to improve but how about a list of 20 things you already do well? It’s important to know your strengths and not to be afraid to share them. That’s not bragging. That’s owning it. And when you believe in what you are good at, that builds confidence.


    1. Listen More Than You Talk

    It’s true, the confident person in the room will likely raise their hand and speak. But the most confident people I know – know how to listen. They listen deeply. They don’t feel the need to speak all the time to be heard. Listening can offer you great insight into other’s points of view and teach you about your own. Listening to your own internal voice can also help you identify your own preferences, dreams and desires. That kind of knowledge is priceless.


    1. Build Your Esteem Team

    Our confidence can be impacted by the people we surround ourselves with. So rather than worrying about being liked or admired by many, try focusing on finding the few that love you for you! Confident people have a trusted esteem team they can rely on. Being confident doesn’t mean going it alone. It means opening yourself up to being vulnerable with people who will support you in all of your moments.




    This last week has been epic.


    Just seven little days ago I was finally able to share about a project I’ve been a part of for the last few years. I was on super secret lock down (which made vague-booking so hard!)


    But finally all was revealed with this cover of TIME.




    As you know, I’ve been working for over 20 years to change the messages that women and girls are sent through media, toys, and advertising. And I feel so incredibly lucky to have partnered with Mattel and the Barbie team on this journey to more variety and inclusivity!


    3 new bodies. 7 skin tones. 22 eye colors. 24 hair styles. So many more choices to play! 


    So in the true spirit of a throwback, here’s a recap of what my launch day was like.


    Our day started at 3 AM. And this was the sign that greeted us as we walked in. 


    That and lots and lots of coffee.




    Then the TIME cover story breaks. In case you can’t tell from my expression, I couldn’t be more excited!




    Teamwork makes the dream work. I couldn’t have made it through this launch without these guys.




    We spent all day tracking the press, doing interviews and working with key influencers to make sure that the story of Barbie’s transformation was told in a way that would spark healthy dialogue (and debate). I mean, come on it’s Barbie. Everyone has an opinion!


    Then it was on to the PARTY!!


    We had an amazing launch party featuring Queen Latifah and Gwen Stefani – hosted by the lovely Amanda De Cadenet.




    The theme of the night was “Reshaping the Conversation” and I was so thrilled to do that with good friends. Special shout out to my dear friend Damone Roberts for always having my back. My new friend Rutina Wesley (Also starring in Ava DuVernay’s new show “Queen Sugar” on OWN- watch it!) and the funniest voice on the interwebs, Luvvie Ajayi.




    You can’t make change unless you have a seat at the table. And I had a seat at the table. Literally.




    Up for over 20 hours, exhausted, happy, feeling proud.


    Then the next day the team at Barbie sent me this fabulous gift. Now a permanent fixture on my patio. Welcome to your new dream house!




    This week has reinforced for me what is truly possible when we work together to make change.


    Whenever a girl can see herself and her world better reflected in culture it’s a good thing.


    This is just the beginning. Stay tuned for more…. #TheDollEvolves