The confidence trickster
By Raeleen | 2 November 2015
Fake it till you make it
I was a shy kid. So desperately shy that the phone could ring right next to me and I’d be too paralysed by fear to answer it. I drove my mum nuts.
By the time I got to high school, I had managed to force myself to get out there and get along with everyone, and eventually I became a generally gregarious type who stuck her hand up to deliver speeches and organise school dances. It was here that I learned the art of hiding behind my alter ego: Raels, the happy, fun, try-anything-once kind of girl.
Now I run my own company, I consistently put myself into situations where I’m uncomfortable but I know will offer me opportunities to grow. Scuba diving, mountain climbing, trekking Kokoda, paragliding…even public speaking. I’ve done it all, and learned something every time.
To an outsider, I know I can seem like a super-confident person. A risk-taker who isn’t afraid to put herself out there. But the truth is, I haven’t always felt like that. And I could write you a long list of risks that I didn’t take. Moments in time where I wish I’d reached out and grabbed the opportunity in front of me, but I was too scared; too cautious; too slow.
I wasn’t confident enough in my abilities to take those steps. And I wish I had.
Life is too short to regret opportunities missed, so I’ve resolved now to be a confidence trickster. You can too. Here’s how:
1. Fake it till you make it.
Some of my best work has been done while I tiptoed along the border between my existing skill set and absolute cluelessness. I have sat in meetings about things I had no thorough knowledge of, nodded my head and promised the world. Then I worked out the detail later. You can always find someone to help you to do a job. Just say yes. Jump in. You’ll learn something and expand your skills.
“I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that’s how you grow. When there’s that moment of ‘Wow, I’m not really sure I can do this,’ and you push through those moments, that’s when you have a breakthrough.”
– Marissa Mayer, Yahoo
There’s a caveat to this, though: it’s okay to promise the world if you have a track record of always delivering (which I do) and you know you can find a way. But please don’t promise the world if your track record is even remotely shady, or if there’s a chance you won’t follow through. Saying yes and then not delivering is a sure-fire way to developing a dodgy reputation.
2. Surround yourself with confidence.
If you’re surrounded by people who are too scared to take a chance or put themselves out there, that will rub off. That old saying that you are the average of the five people closest to you is so true. Surround yourself with risk takers who want to learn and grow. If you find this hard at first, take yourself off to a seminar or breakfast event where you can hear inspiring people speak, or arrange a meeting with a client you love. The difference to you will be huge.
3. Don’t wait for your courage to catch up.
If you wait to feel absolutely ready to step off that cliff, it will never happen. Take the leap and think about it later. It’s addictive!
Plan it! Do it! Done!
A great way to get ahead of your self-doubt is to plan your actions and write them down.