I talked about building your confidence recently here. This is a big topic to me. I’ve seen how having confidence makes all the difference in business and can bring opportunities your way.
Building your internal confidence is critical- you have to learn to believe in yourself. However- it’s gonna take a minute. It won’t happen overnight. So in the meantime…fake it till you make it! I’m really, really ok with this. Most people (including me) wrestle with this idea because projecting confidence when you may not feel that way can feel disingenuous. No one wants to be a liar or a trickster or a weasel. But remember, there is a huge difference between saying things that aren’t true about yourself and painting yourself in the best light possible.
This was made clear to me when I was recently given some feedback. I love feedback. Now, positive feedback is a heck of a lot more fun than constructive criticism but unfortunately we need to hear the hard stuff too. Well, this was feedback of the constructive variety.
I had been meeting with a team of founders of a start-up and they wanted my help making a website. I had never made a website. I didn’t know the first thing about making a website. I mean, I’ve been to a lot of websites but that’s about it. So I said that I would be happy to try it but I just wanted to let them know I hadn’t done that before, so I may need to get some help.
Now, that was all true. I was being upfront and honest and not overselling my abilities. However, after that discussion, one of the founders later told another that she was surprised I said that. She thought that it was something I could pretty easily learn to do and it sounded like I was either afraid to build the website, or didn’t want to do the work.
Now that’s great feedback yet it’s still hard to hear. I certainly wasn’t afraid of the work. But maybe she was a little right to think that I wasn’t confident I could do the project. What evidence did I have that could make a website? None at all. But I was still going to take on the project, so I really should have answered differently.
I’ve asked myself how I could have done better in that discussion and the answer is Fake it Till You Make it. Not faking the skills, but I could have faked the confidence. I could have said that I was excited about the project and happy to dig into it. I could have said it was something new and I couldn’t wait to take it on. To give myself credibility, I could have also said I know several people that are in the web design business so I could also go to them for some great suggestions.
All of those things were true and all of them painted me in a more positive, confident light. As a business owner, I would be more likely to give the work to the person that positioned themselves in that positive light than the person that was unsure of her capabilities.
By projecting a confidence, you help yourself by ensuring that others see you in a capable, strong, and self-assured manner. You also help the person you’re talking to because when they see you as confident, they don’t have to worry about you. They have a sense of peace that you’re going to do a good job and you can take that stress off their plate.
So the lesson for us is to remember is to project confidence, even when you don’t feel it. Do this for you and the person you’re talking to. Put the insecurities and self-doubt aside and move forward. Tell yourself you can make that website, go out and learn how, and DO IT. Fake it and pretty soon, you will make it!