What is confidence and where does it come from?  Confidence is that frame of mind and characteristic that empowers us to feel good about ourselves, be proud of our accomplishments, and “toot our own horn” when the time is right.  Confidence exudes from our persona in and out of the workforce and helps us achieve greater success in our endeavors.  But what builds confidence? How do we gain, obtain, and keep – as Marshall Goldsmith calls it – our “personal mojo”?

In Mojo: How to Get It, How to Keep It, How to Get It Back if You Lose It a recent book published by Marshall Goldsmith, he talks about the four things you need to really have “it,” to have that “mojo.” He defines mojo is “that positive spirit towards what we are doing now that starts from the inside and radiates to the outside.”

In his book, Goldsmith breaks down “Mojo” into four distinct categories. You need to have an identity (who you think you are), be able and confident in your achievements (what you have done lately), understand your reputation (who other people think you are) and finally, you must have acceptance – about what you can change and what you need to “just let go.”

The biggest hurdle is often that first step: what is your identity? Who do you think you are? Marshall tells stories of people who answer this seemingly simple question by describing what it is other people would say about them (My boss says I am … My husband thinks I am …My friends describe me as…). He chides the reader, reminding you to define your identity through your own eyes.  It’s a harder task to listen to your inner voice, acknowledge your own drives and ambitions – and be able to describe who YOU are, in your own words.

So, I have asked the question of myself, and I am asking the question of others. Who are YOU, in your own words? Who are you when you are by yourself? As I was driving this morning, I paid attention to the thoughts that crossed my mind and listened to the way I framed questions for myself.  Rather than ask, “What do I want?” or, “What would I do?” I found that I was making decisions based on what I assumed other people would want me to do – or ways in which I thought I “ought” to behave.  My inner voice and inner critic often gets the best of me.  Does this process cloud your decisions? If you are making decisions based on what other people expect of you, Marshall would say, you will fail to build your Mojo and your inner confidence.

In determining a life direction and focusing on building your confidence, character, and reputation, you first must know yourself. The first step is crafting your identity in your own words.  Ask yourself: “Who am I? And what do I want?” To truly craft that confidence and mojo – you must first quiet your inner critics and listen to yourself.

If you’re confident in yourself and your identity, the next step is to focus on your recent (and upcoming) achievements.  What have you done lately that you’re proud of? What have you accomplished? Achievements build our confidence through concrete tasks that show us what we are capable of.  Many people lose their “mojo” by sliding into the rut of routine. Step outside the box, challenge yourself, and go after a few difficult tasks.

Crafting – and controlling – your reputation – is more difficult. Your reputation is what other people think of you, and this is at times beyond your control. Yet Marshall offers concrete, practical steps for creating a professional identity, having a winning attitude, and being able to work on skills within your control.

We all know those people who exude confidence and charisma in everything that they do. You can look around your office and identify individuals who with “mojo” and those who just don’t have it.  The good news is that “it” is something that you can obtain – contrary to popular belief, it’s not something you are born with.  Mojo is built over time, through careful reflection and small, sequential steps that build our resume of accomplishments and our professional reputation. And when you have it, you’ll know it. And you’ll want to keep it.