If you ask most people, they’d tell you they feel like imposters.  They’d admit that they live in fear of being found out.  They’d say that they don’t deserve the praise they receive or the promotion they just got.  Which, in reality, isn’t true, but their perception makes it real.

But when it comes to the genuinely confident, their journey in life is one of satisfaction, and – yes – better pay.  That’s according to Dr. Travis Bradberry, co-author of “Emotional Intelligence 2.0.”  He says genuinely confident people earn more and are promoted more quickly. Part of their success comes from their ability to look within for the inspiration they need in order to achieve. They have an uncanny ability to summon pleasure and satisfaction from their own accomplishments rather than basing it on what other people think of them.

They also don’t mask their insecurities by trying to be something they’re not. They go through life with the belief that being one’s self is more effective than trying to prove they’re important.

The genuinely confident speak with certainty. They understand that people don’t listen if you can’t deliver ideas with conviction. And, they aren’t afraid to be wrong. They put their opinions out there to see if they hold up, knowing they’ll learn from the times they are wrong. They also take risks, instead of worrying about what could go wrong, they ask themselves, “What’s stopping me?” or “Why can’t I do that?”

The truly confident seek out small victories, which builds new androgen receptors in the brain. These receptors are responsible for reward and motivation.  And through exercise, they boost endorphins, thereby increasing positivity.  Side note: We now know, thanks to researchers in the UK and Ireland, that there is a bi-directional relationship between an active lifestyle and the brain’s ability to engage self-control, set and meet goals, resist temptation and solve problems.  All of these executive brain functions are in play when it comes to our emotional intelligence.  An extra-added benefit is that studies show that this can lead to better health, longer life and less chronic disease.

Other ways Bradberry says authentically confident people set themselves apart from the insecure, they turn the spotlight on others rather than seek attention for themselves.  This may be the biggest factor leading to higher rates of promotion.  According to Bradberry, the truly confident celebrate the successes of others without worrying about their own relevance.  They’d rather inspire others and focus on what the people around them bring to the table.  As a result, they listen more than they speak because they don’t need to prove themselves.  This also allows them to continuously grow through paying attention and learning from others.

If you feel true confidence is out of reach, you might start by peeling back your layers to get to the person you really are, rather than the person you think you should be.  You are a combination of the people and influences that have contributed to shaping you since the day you were born – some good, some stifling.  But underneath, your true self is waiting to be discovered.  When you find and acknowledge your true self, and allow it to guide you, you will emerge genuinely confident and ready to take on your life’s challenges and grow by helping others do the same.