Your resume is perfect.  Your cover letter is flawless. Your wardrobe would make Coco Chanel or Giorgio Armani jealous.  And, guess what?

None of it matters unless you have the confidence to match. The foundation for your personal brand is the way you view yourself.  When you have genuine self-confidence, your body language screams, “I’m a winner.”

A positive self-image enhances every other aspect of your personal brand.  In this 2-part series, we’ll cover the 10 Commandments for Concrete Confidence.  Here are the first 5:

1. Consume a healthy mental diet. You can’t build 6-pack abs by eating cheeseburgers and French fries every day, and you can’t build a confident mindset by filling your mind with content from trashy TV shows or materialistic magazines. Inputs produce outputs. Fill your mind daily with inspirational books, tapes, and CD’s.  You are what you eat, right?

2. Talk to yourself the right way.  No, you are not crazy.  Everyone else has a dialogue going on in their head as well.  So… what do you say when you talk to yourself?  If you are like most people, you probably spend most of your day thinking about your flaws or what’s wrong with your life.  Most people say things to themselves that they would never dream of saying to anyone else.  Start talking to yourself with the same respect you should show anyone else.  Replace your negative self-talk with positive self-talk and watch your confidence go through the roof.

3. Develop an attitude of gratitude and celebrate yourself.  Being thankful for what you do have, instead of bitter about what you don’t have, is one of the best ways to appreciate yourself and your life.  Make a list of everything you have to be thankful for and everything you like about yourself (including your best traits and your proudest achievements).  Then, review and add to the list daily.

4. Never take a vacation from your values.  What happens in Vegas does not stay in Vegas; it travels back with you and stays in your memory.  If you want to dye your hair blonde for a night or use a fake name at a club (I like to use “Rex” sometimes), that’s fine.  However, I know people who have done some really shady things on vacation that they would never dream of doing at home.  When you throw your values out the window because you are away from home, or because you think no one is watching, you forget to realize that you have to live with your decisions forever.  Sacrificing your values, at work or outside of work, is one of the fastest ways to destroy your self-image.  (If you have already taken a vacation from your values, forgive yourself for being human, and don’t do it again.)

5. Step out of your comfort zone every day.  Every time you step out of your comfort zone (no matter how small the effort), your confidence increases.  Every time you allow fear to hold you back (no matter how small the effort), your confidence shrinks.  Like a muscle, confidence can only grow when you challenge it, and it will shrivel up if you don’t exercise it consistently.


Pete Leibman is the Founder and Keynote Speaker for Dream Job Academy, and his career advice has been featured on Fox, CBS, and CNN. His new book, “I Got My Dream Job and So Can You,” features lessons from young professionals who recently landed their dream job in a variety of fields.