Character Chats

Building Confidence in Others

How do we build confidence in others?

Here at True Balance Karate, we have a social emotional learning program called True Character. I’m Master H, owner and chief instructor here at the studio, and I have two master’s degrees in education. And we’ve developed this curriculum to best meet the needs of our youngest students, who are three, and our oldest student who is 85.


And this month we’re talking about confidence. We started off by defining it. What does it look like? How do we stand? What does it feel like? Last week we talked about taking risks, trying new things, and how we can address that kind of situation. And today we are talking about how do we build confidence in others.

Mindset Guidance

So we can easily help put ourselves in the mindset of confidence just by standing tall, belly button forward, head up straight, standing as though you are exuding an “I can do it” kind of attitude. But what if you’re standing next to a friend who said the words, “I can’t”? What if you’re working with a co-worker who is complaining a lot and doesn’t exude that kind of confident attitude? What can you do to help show your belief in them? Because confidence is self-confidence, belief in yourself, and it’s also the belief in others, belief in those around you.

And one of the things that you can do is just say, “Yes, you can. Absolutely.” So here’s a situation, I’m standing next to a friend, we are working on remembering one of the forms here at the studio and they say, “I can’t do it.”

And my response is, “Yes, you can. Tell me the first move.” And if they get it absolutely correct, I point out to them, “See? You know the first one. Absolutely, you can do it. Now let’s build from there.” If they get half of it right, you point out what is right. You point out what is correct. That’s how you start to build confidence in those around you. You look for all of the things that they are doing correctly and you point those out to them rather than allowing them to wallow in the I can’t, I’m awful, it’s no good, those types of negative attitudes, if you will.


I remember when I was still teaching in the classroom, I taught special ed anywhere from kindergarten up through eighth grade. And the kids there would talk about how it’s too hard, would talk about what they couldn’t do, would talk about how they weren’t smart and things like that.

And we would talk about what they’ve already been able to accomplish. We would talk about where they’ve come from. We would talk about what they started off the year as to where they are now. And when we set ourselves a goal, when we set ourselves a path that we want to travel, seeing how that growth has changed over time helps build that confidence.

Here at the studio, we set black belt goals. When are you planning to achieve black belt? What year is it that you are going to graduate into the rank of black belt? And for some kids it could be four or five years. It could be six years if we’re starting it with a new student. It just depends on where they’re at in their age and their development. And having smaller, intermediate steps along the way, belts, tip testing, it really helps to show the growth and how far they’ve come.

And nothing happens overnight. It doesn’t happen quickly. But if we have the confidence in our abilities, if we have the confidence in those around us and their abilities, we can help them see how much growth they’ve already accomplished.

Just the other day I overheard a youth black belt talking to a colored belt student, and he was saying something about how he couldn’t do his kick and it was so bad and it wasn’t working. And she actually had him do it on the bag just a little bit lower than where he was striving to get to. And he did it perfectly at that slightly lower spot. And that started to build a little confidence. And then she said, “Okay, let’s move it just a smidge.” And he did it perfectly there. And then he moved it just a smidge and he did it perfectly there. And then he got to the height that he wanted to do.

It takes a little bit of time, it takes a little bit of effort, it takes a little bit of stepping back, and it’s knowing who to go to along the way to help build your confidence. If you know who you can go to, know who will support you, it can help build confidence as well. So as we are continuing through the month of confidence, recognizing those around us, listening to what they’re saying, finding the positives in what they are doing can help encourage them, can help build their confidence. And when you see someone doing well and you know you’ve been positive with them, it helps build your confidence, too.

Thanks, and I’ll see on the mat!


True Balance Karate was founded in 2012 by Master Sue and Paul Helsdon.

We offer kids karate lessons for pre-school children ages 3-6 and elementary age kids ages 7 and up. These lessons are designed to develop the critical building blocks kids need — specialized for their age group — for school excellence and later success in life.

Our adult martial arts training is a complete adult fitness and conditioning program for adults who want to lose weight, get (and stay) in shape, or learn self-defense in a supportive environment.

Instructors can answer questions or be contacted 24 hours of the day, 7 days a week at 630-663-2000. You can also contact us here