One of the things I alluded to in my last post was confidence. I talk about “owning” something and having the courage to follow through. I realize, however, that this is not always easy. For some of us confidence comes harder than for others.
I was always envious of those folks who could just get up in front of people and “own it”, you know? The people who are totally comfortable in front of crowds? Those who always seem to speak with confidence and always know what they are talking about? I mean, I bet they never feel like they don’t know what they’re doing, right?
h3. Everyone Has Moments Of Uncertainty
Even some of the most successful and influential people in the world have had times when they felt like a sham. I’ve talked to quite a few people who I look up to and respect who’ve told me they’ve had days when they’ve felt like they were going to be “outted” for not knowing what they were talking about.
And here I was thinking it was just me!
Recently I was talking about this “phenomenon” with a colleague and I admitted to having this feeling quite often. He was shocked, “Not you?! Dude, you’re golden! But I totally feel that way too. All the time.” Funny thing is, I’d have never expected it out of him either.
Well, I thought this was all very interesting and asked around. I did some research. Seems like almost everyone struggles with this at some point or other. Just knowing that makes me feel much better and I think it’ll help me cope with those times I’m up speaking or giving a presentation and I feel like an impostor. I’m not alone, and neither are you!
How do you deal with your own lack of confidence in yourself? I’ve got all sorts of things I do. I mean, at my core I’m a pretty shy and modest person. It’s only been through forcing myself to do things and put myself out there have I developed any degree of self-confidence.
h3. What I Do
* Just Do It. Whenever I feel shy or unsure of myself, I pretty much force myself to just get on with it. Usually after a brief panic moment I’m usually fine. I got over my fear of flying the same way. The more you do something, the more you’ll feel comfortable with it and the more confident you’ll be.
* I recall past successes. For example, when I get up to speak in front of a crowd, I recall the last time I did it and remember that it went just fine.
* Positive thinking. I try to visualize success when I’m feeling less than confident as well I maintain a positive train of thought.
* Remind myself that what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger. I tell myself that if I screw up I can look back, probably laugh my ass off, and realize I learned something in the process.
* Take deep breaths. This has a calming effect on me.
* Prepare. I usually know what’s going to make me nervous or self-conscious. I find that the more prepared I am, the easier it is to get past.
* Go through my “kudos” file. I keep e-mails from people who’ve encouraged me or offered positive feedback. I read these when I’m feeling like I don’t know what the hell I’m doing or when I just need some validation.
* Focus on one thing and take it slow. It’s easy to let my mind wander in panic mode, and rushed thinking doesn’t help anything. Forcing myself to concentrate and keep my focus can help restore confidence.
* Listen, think, then speak. The times when I get into the most trouble usual stem from not listening. You can lose yourself and get into a place where you really don’t feel like you know what’s going on if you don’t listen well.
* Remember that I’m not the only one who feels this way. People who I really look up to have the same thing from time to time. This makes me feel much better.