I often live inside my head. I have a brain full of ideas, thoughts, and plans. For the past few weeks, my brain feels like it has been going non-stop; my new job has basically opened up a whole new world to me, and my brain is having a field day.
My imagination has been hyper-active as well, creating conversation scenarios, meeting scenarios, etc. And after rehearsing scenario after scenario after scenario, I’ve come to a realization: In imagined scenarios when I’m talking confidently about a topic to a group, I feel like I’m not being myself.
That’s right. Apparently, the idea of acting confident, standing behind my ideas and opinions, makes me feel like I’m not being me. Expressing confidence is outside my comfort zone.
Does anyone else see a problem with this?
Let’s back track for a minute. I’m fully confident in my ability to do my job. I probably never would have applied if I wasn’t (as terrible as that is). So it’s not that. I also have no problem talking in front of people- I’ve never really been afraid of public speaking. So it’s not that either.
So what is the problem?
Confidence indicates that you know what you’re talking about. It indicates that you’re willing to stand behind whatever it is that you’re saying, willing to fight for what you believe. It indicates so much that, at any given moment, I’m simply not sure about.
When you’re not confident, the only thing you can be criticized about is your lack of confidence. When you are confident, you open yourself up to attack from all angles. You open yourself up to being questioned. You open yourself up to being wrong. I’m not afraid of being questioned. I’m not even afraid of being wrong. I’ve failed before, and I’ll fail again, and I’m perfectly okay with that.
What I would like to avoid is feeling like an idiot. And this is what confidence sets you up for.
I win just about every argument I’m in, simply because I will only argue if I’m 100% sure that I’m right. The majority of times that I’ve failed, I’ve gone into the initiative knowing that it might fail. Essentially, I’ve developed strategies to corral failure into a small, predetermined box. I hide behind made up barriers to avoid being exposed as wrong and made to feel like an idiot.
Confidence breaks down and removes all of those barriers. And that’s terrifying.
This is one of those posts that isn’t going to end all wrapped up in a bow, because this is one of those problems that doesn’t have an easy solution. Really, I need to suck it up. I need to learn to believe in myself, and to have faith in not just my ability to do things, but my ability to generate ideas, to create initiatives, to start things from scratch, to put myself out there and succeed. I need to learn to put my ideas out there to be questioned, and be prepared to answer those questions. I need to learn to differentiate what I consider a base level of knowledge from what other people may consider a base level of knowledge. I need to accept that failure is inevitable, and to truly be successful, I’m going to have to look like an idiot some of the time.
Insert bow here.