When do You Need Confidence
When do you need confidence? So I just have some ideas here that I wanna show, and these are actually questions to be thinking about. Do you need confidence at an event where you don't know anyone? Or at an event where you know everyone? Or do you need confidence in a status meeting where you're gonna relay the progress of a project that you're working on? But maybe it's not going so well, so maybe you need a little bit more confidence in that situation, or it is going really well, so you feel confident about it. How is it for you, right? What do you know about yourself? Do you need confidence during your annual review, when your boss is getting ready to give you feedback and you know you have some things to work on? Can you confidently bring those things to the table, actually, before he or she says something to you? And will that help in the conversation? So confidence, when? And then confidence with whom, right? Because, is it with your boss or a client? Or is it with co-workers? Or...
is it with your staff? Or is it when no one is watching that you feel confident? Or when people are watching? Who knows how many people are watching right now. Does it matter how many people are watching depending on how confident I may or may not feel? That's kind of a funny thing too, like, where is the line? For 500 people, I'm fine, but a thousand, no way? That doesn't make any sense, right? Two people, okay, ten, forget it? No. So, just know these things in your own head, how they work, and then question, does that make sense? Here's my definition of confidence, and it's similar to some of yours, actually. Knowing you can handle whatever comes along, that's essentially what design bar tender said, right? I can handle whatever comes along, because I know I'm gonna make mistakes. It's not gonna be perfect. And introverts, for some reason, tend to be perfectionists, which means that they want everything to be perfect or they're not gonna do it. That doesn't make any sense, because it will never be perfect until you're dead, and then you won't notice. So, what's really important here is that you have, in yourself, and it definitely does come from within, and it's something we all have to work on, is this belief, through practice, that you can handle whatever comes along. Alright. And I can't just say, just believe it, and then you will. You have to do the internal work to do it.
Well I don't really have the confidence to do that, I'm gonna do it when I have the confidence. When I have, so rather than, I'm too afraid to do it, and I'm not gonna think about the fear, then we think about, oh, I'm gonna wait 'til I'm confident enough, 'til I feel better about myself. Confidence, as Dani Shapiro, the great writer, has said, is over-rated. It's over-rated. Think about confidence. How does one really get confident? You get confident about doing something well more than once. So you come to rely on the repetition of that thing being done successfully. Well, what happens if you haven't ever done the thing before? How do you expect to dive off of a diving board, jump off of a diving board successfully, if you've never done it before? You're scared out of your mind. So what's really more important than confidence is courage. It's courage to take that step off the diving board. Because that's what will create the journey, that when you begin the journey of doing that thing, and then you see, number one, that it doesn't kill you, hopefully, especially if it's a high diving board. And secondly, you begin to see that that fear doesn't necessarily impact whether you do it or not. 'Cause it's not. You're doing it anyway. You're doing it anyway. And so the more you can look for the courage to do it, which is a more intentional thing, you can muster up the courage, you can't really muster up confidence. But you can muster up the courage to do it. And then the confidence will come up as a result of having done it repetitively, over and over. Sometimes not so good, sometimes great. You can never expect that you're always going to be great at doing something. There wouldn't be a need for the Olympics, everybody would say, oh they're great at doing it, give 'em all medals. (audience laughs) You have to show up, and you have to have practiced and done it over and over and over again. So confidence is over-rated. Confidence is something you earn. Courage is something you muster. And so, in order to take that first step, you need to create that sense of courage in yourself that this is more important than anything else.
Alright, that was Debbie Millman, in her Creative Live course called A Brand Called You, and I just wanna be transparent, because I think that's important, and call attention, perhaps not necessary, to my own little mistake of not taking the time to introduce it before. So, no big deal, I can introduce it afterwards, right? No problem, I'm not gonna get down on myself about it. Move on, that's the instruction, make a mistake, move on. Alright, so, confidence or courage. Now, I love her presentation about courage, and so then we think about courage for what? Courage to do what's unfamiliar, something you've never done before? Courage to do what's uncomfortable? Maybe you've done it but it didn't feel good, so you don't want to do it again. But maybe it felt a little better, it feels a little better the second time, and maybe a little better the third time but it takes a lot of those times, we call that practice, Mike talked about practice, takes a lot of that time to get comfortable. And you may never get comfortable at something, but you still have to develop the courage to do it. And, as I said, courage to make a mistake and learn from it, because it is no big deal. And that was one of the things you brought up, Laurie, too, was bravery, courage. So. Confidence instead of courage. Here's another idea. Confidence, do you need confidence or preparation? Because if you prepare, then you set yourself up for success. There are no surprises, or actually, there are surprises, but you're ready for them because you have prepared. And so, for me, doing all the preparation for this course, as much time as I could possibly put into it to make sure that I am ready. When you feel ready, then you are confident. And you wanna make sure you give yourself the time to get ready. The other thing about preparation is that it allows you to anticipate possible scenarios, possible things that could go wrong, and then, of course, you have to make sure that doesn't tip into, oh my God, this is gonna happen, but if it does happen, what would I do? And I remember, a long time ago, one of my very first presentations, actually, I came with my PowerPoint, and the technology didn't work. And so I had to present without my slides and without my presentation and I was really nervous, but I really did the best job that I had done to date because I had to just react in the moment, and also, the people who were in the audience were so sympathetic, they knew what was happening and they were with me, and so they were so supportive. So think about what help you're going to get when you make a mistake or when something happens that you have to react to and be confident about it in that moment and know, whatever happens, you'll just be fine. Think through how you will handle each situation. And is it confidence that you need, or practice? Because that's the thing that Debbie was talking about also. The more you practice at something, the better you get at it, the more you don't have to think about it, and so I often advise my clients to actually have practice clients of their own, to go looking for people and businesses that they may not feel as that they have as much at stake with, so that they can make their mistakes and learn from them. That is how we learn, rather than going directly for your dream situations or your dream job or your dream clients. So you need to find yourself practice situation. This takes getting off your butt, actually, and not being lazy, and saying, alright, I'm gonna do this, maybe for less money than I wanted to, or for less time, but I'm gonna figure out how to do it because this will give me an opportunity to practice. In fact, on the way here, actually, I was in the airport in Savannah, and a local TV station came up and said, can we talk to you about the outage in Atlanta? And I said, sure, and I was basically practicing this, I was practicing being on TV, because I knew I needed to practice. So I thought, alright, here's an opportunity. So you really want to take as many opportunities as you can to practice whatever you know you need to practice. So low stakes environments is actually what you're looking for, alright? Do you need confidence, or do you need competence? Because through repetition and practice we get better at what we do, kind of like driving a car, you get in the car, you don't think about it anymore, you don't worry that you're not gonna parallel park properly anymore, I hope. So the repetition of it puts it into your muscle memory which sometimes can be a bad thing if you become mindless about it and you just do it without thinking, so there's a positive and a negative to that. But you can be confident about something because you've done it so many times, but that also requires patience. And here's my thought, this is a new thought today that I just added, that confidence is actually rooted in uncertainty. People, I think, imagine that confidence is about knowing for sure what you're doing, or that something is going to happen. And I really think that confidence is rooted in not knowing, knowing that you don't know. It may sound like a paradox, but it's not. So you have no idea what will happen, you have no idea what is going on, so my advice is to stop pretending that you know and just know that you don't know and have the confidence to know that you can handle whatever happens. Alright, does that make sense? Alright, good. So I'm back to this idea of life is an experiment, and that you will make mistakes, you can count on it. So another technique, actually, is not comparing yourself to others, because it's really easy to say, oh, that person looks really confident, and that person looks like they know what they're doing, and so how am I gonna compare to that, and blah blah blah blah blah, that's a very bad way of doing blah blah blah in your head. So, better to just focus on yourself, mind your own business, as they say, and focus on your own strengths and then strengthen your weaknesses. Because that is the way, little by little, setting manageable goals for yourself, manageable tasks, to little by little build your own confidence up. Now, I just wanna share some examples of little goals, like when you're networking, for example. If networking is one of the things you're learning how to do, then maybe you set yourself the goal of talking to a stranger every day, a new stranger every day, and then maybe two strangers every day, so that you just get into the habit. Next time you're on an airplane, in the grocery store line, anywhere you can, just start up conversations, because that's one of the things that people have the most trouble with. So, starting conversations and setting yourself manageable goals.