Event Review: How can you define confidence?

Thursday, 27th June 2019

Our recent event at Yorkshire Bank’s B Works discussed the definition of confidence and how to improve yours.

Our panel host, Alistair Cree, chair of pro-manchester and partner at Eversheds Sutherland was joined by Amy Hinks – Development Manager, The Booth Centre; Shelly Rubinstein – Chief Executive, Impact Consulting Psychologists; Sean Williams – Head of Customer Banking Manchester, Yorkshire Bank and pro-manchester’s COO, Nicola McCormick.

So, what is confidence?

Shelly Rubinstein has over 25 years’ experience as a chartered psychologist and says: “Confidence is self-assurance and the ability to be able to handle or feel comfortable in any situation.

“Confidence is important because it makes people more productive, more motivated and less likely to burn out because they have less worry and no fear of failure.”

Sean Williams believes the technological world we’re living in doesn’t help when it comes to confidence, particularly in young people today: “Social media has made perfect seem normal but it’s not reality,” says Sean.

“We’ve lost a sense of who we actually are. I challenge myself and my family to always live a meaningful life, but there is now this worryingly intense want to like and be liked. If we want to live a meaningful life, we should follow our own ambitions and have the character to put our passions before status.”

How does The Booth Centre help build the confidence of homeless people?

The Booth Centre is a day centre that offers advice, activities and support to homeless people in Manchester. Amy Hinks discussed how they’re helping the confidence of their users.

“The Booth Centre is about focusing on people’s strengths and knowing that everybody who works there, or we come into contact with has something to give,” said Amy. “Regardless of that person’s situation or however low they may be feeling, there is hope for them and helping them to see their strengths rather than their problems has a hugely positive impact.

“Sometimes it’s obvious why people seek support from us, but we help them to focus on the things they want to do in life. When they come in we ask them what they’d like to do today, ask them what they’re good at or what they enjoy doing and encourage them to do that. We don’t pinpoint to other services as we don’t feel it’s necessary.”

pro-manchester COO, Nicola McCormick discussed her fear of public speaking to delegates: “My biggest fear is looking silly in these situations. I know I’m good at what I do and that gives me confidence and self-belief but engaging with people and speaking about these things is a completely different thing.”


Alistair Cree is partner at Eversheds Sutherland. As a lawyer, he discussed his sector’s demand for confidence. “My job demands I’m ultra-confident, especially when I’m leading on big corporate transactions,” says Alistair. “The moment anyone senses you don’t know what you’re talking about they will use it against you in a transaction environment.

“As part of my pro-manchester role I do public speaking, and this is not a comfortable place for me. I can be as confident as I need to be in a transaction but put me in front of a room full of people and I’m not sure they’d sense the same confidence.”

Bringing the discussion to a close, Shelly discussed the relationship between confidence and control: “You need to take control of your life and your situations,” says Shelly.

“We can’t control everything, so we must divide up what we can control, what can we influence and what we can anticipate. When people go into The Booth Centre, for example they engage them in things they can offer as individuals. That gives them control back.

“People go around trying to do things to help the homeless, but you need these things like The Booth Centre, where you allow these individuals to do what they want and take back control which can lead to inner-confidence.”

Our panellists finished by giving their tips to be the most confident version of yourself.

  • Alistair: “Don’t let people’s negativity affect you. Breath, focus and relax.”
  • Nicola: “Take thinking time. Remind people you’re human and just take a minute.”
  • Shelley: “What’s the worst that can happen? Learn from your mistakes.”
  • Sean: “You can choose your own attitude. I live by that.”