Confidence is tricky, because it so often blurs the line with arrogance. Strong belief in yourself, your mission, your products—when misunderstood, these are almost always perceived as arrogance. I read a quote by columnist Rhett Power that perfectly summed up the difference: “Confidence is grounded in experience and expertise, with a sense of respect and humility, whereas arrogance is grounded in nothing (it is unwarranted, baseless confidence with lack of respect and humility).”

Before I pitched my product on Shark Tank, I did a deep dive into previous episodes. I wanted to be sure that I understood each Shark’s personality, business philosophy, types of products they tend to invest in, and, most of all, the things that turned them off.

It didn’t take long for a pattern to emerge. Entrepreneurs who were unwilling to defer to a Shark’s experience, or to receive their advice, got deals 0% of the time. Why? These entrepreneurs had confidence in spades but lacked humility—the perfect recipe for arrogance. Arrogance is like blood in the water—it signals insecurity, which is a deal-breaker every time.

I empathize with those entrepreneurs. They had poured years of blood, sweat and tears into something, given up and sacrificed so much to make it work, and wanted to protect and validate their efforts fiercely. But their confidence got in the way.

So, how do we have the necessary confidence for success, but at the same time clear the path to healthy relationships, negotiations and businesses? It’s like Rhett Power said: respect and humility. (Or, in other words: Don’t be a jerk—intentionally, or unintentionally.) These are the keys to great confidence—the kind of confidence that draws instead of repels, defers instead of demands, and inspires instead of incites.

Arrogance is self-defeating behavior. Humble confidence is liberating. When you’re free to admit mistakes, explore options and value and respect others’ thoughts and ideas, you’ll become a person that people want to be around, a person people admire, and a person of influence.

Humble confidence takes practice. Actively listen; seek opportunities to give recognition; and always be aware that you might not (and almost definitely don’t) know it all. Adopting this posture is like having “jerk insurance.” It will protect you from costly business and relational mistakes, while guaranteeing more success in every area of your life and business.

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