When I coach clients, a common block is lack of confidence and self esteem. Lack of confidence is insidious enough by itself, but a lot of times I hear from people (mainly women) who have been conditioned to equate demonstrating their own confidence with egotism.
Self esteem is feeling confident about your worth as a person and respecting yourself enough to have healthy boundaries. Plain and simple.
There is a VAST difference between having a healthy self-esteem and confidence in your abilities/skills, and being that person who lacks humility and is ego-driven. I read a great article in Forbes a while back that said:
"To have confidence is to have faith in your own abilities and believe in yourself, but the ego is something else, entirely. Unlike confidence, the ego operates out of self-interest. It seeks approval, accolades and validation at all costs in order to be seen as “right.” It is resistant to feedback and assigns motive where there isn’t any."
The next time you notice yourself staying small out of fear of others judging you as egotistic, check yourself: is this well founded confidence being used for good or is this a grab for attention, praise or recognition? Sometimes the lines between the two are blurry...but that's ok. Exploring this is worth the effort and something I feel like we should talk about more often.