Ever since I started my career working as a network technician, I have been an introspective personality. What I mean by that is, I take time to understand something, commit to something — whether it is a small task or a big deliverable. By some definitions, most importantly of my boss, I take too long.

I had colleagues whom I term as “over-confident” — sometimes impractically bullish — but business seems to like them. More than a decade later, I now conclude that it is okay to be over-confident. Why?

Over-confident people are, well, confident. They are self-assured about their knowledge, competence, abilities — and spend their time focusing on the problem at hand. Introspective people on the other hand, waste a good chunk of time asking themselves if they are knowledgeable, competent and able. Over-confident people start working on the problem, realizing that it is only important to not lose time doing anything else — while introspective people wait for a magic voice to tell them to try (here’s the secret: there’s no magic voice).

So the big question is — can introspective people become assertive?

My answer is totally yes.

Introspective people can become assertive by just observing. Observe the capabilities of assertive people (secret: you are equally capable) and observe the actions of assertive people (secret: they do the same things you would do). Dismiss any doubts that you may not as good as that assertive guy and ultimately, you will be as good as that guy.

I learnt it the hard way, I hope you don’t have to.