Archives for posts with tag: confidence

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”

– Dale Carnegie

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I was a a little tied up last week dealing with a life long fear. It’s nothing crazy – I was not battling cancer, swimming with sharks, or crawling through snakes – I was asked to speak in front of a group and present a topic. Yea yeah yea I know this is not ultimate craziness but the elements behind it go deeper.

I have always been out spoken and very friendly. Ever since I was able to speak I was known to talk to anyone and everyone – about just about anything! But when assigned with the task I would always freeze up. From class assignments throughout school to best man speeches, public speaking has always just hit me the wrong way.

I was very aware of this fear and analyzed myself over and over again. Why was I so afraid?? I truly don’t know but here is what I came up with: I was not confident that people would want to hear what I have to say. I was fearful that those I would be speaking to would jump up and correct what I was saying. Maybe I was fearful of being judged. All of this despite that my daily role involved taking charge of groups and being an authority figure.

So when I was asked last week, at the last minute, to present at a local university I felt like this was my chance. Well, first every fear and negative thought about public speaking hit me. Only after that I decided – quite literally – the hell with it. I talk to people all the time. I know my topic because it’s my life. I decided I would just talk to the group like I was talking anyone else any other day.

I had one day to prepare for a 30 minute slot, with a question and answer portion. I felt good – then I worried that I wouldn’t be able to fill up 30 minutes !

In the end the professor of the class cancelled the second hour she had planned and allowed me to continue speaking. I spoke for over 2 hours. I was told it was the most engaged the class had ever been. I was honored to hold their attention! More importantly I was so glad I did not let fear control me.

Judging by the feedback, I owned it. That’s not easy for me to say because I’m normally modest. But how many times have you been your own worst enemy and held yourself back from your potential?

What do you have inside you? What will it take for YOU to believe in YOU. Fear is ok. Try it. If it doesn’t work out, step back and regroup. But get back In there. If you don’t give yourself a chance – who will??

It’s good to have people to go to for advice. Sometimes they will reassure you by saying what you want them to say and sometimes they will tell you exactly what you don’t want to hear, but remember you were the one who asked.

Even the person with the best advice is going to have their opinions, experiences, and values mixed in with what they tell you. Don’t ever forget that.

Don’t be afraid to make your own decisions. Listen to the advice of others, evaluate it, but remember the decision remains in your hands. You will reap the benefits or learn from your own dismay. But you will own it either way.

You should be the most knowledgable about your situation. Knowledge breeds confidence.

So take the job, book the ticket, make the purchase, pop the question – you know what’s best for you. Trust your judgement.

I was speaking with a friend last night and we got on the topic of first impressions. And they asked me “do you really think clothing affects first impressions or is that people just being shallow?”

I responded, Unequivocally, yes, dress matters – and here’s why:

Years ago a study of “cop-killers” was done. The interview went to prisons and spoke with people who had been convicted of killing a police officer. There was numerous things the study wanted to inquire about, but one surprising lesson came up about dress.

One of the inmates told the following story:

He said he woke up angry one day. He sat up in bed and told himself “You’re gonna kill a cop today.” He decided that the first police officer he came across, he would kill.

So, he said he got dressed and got on with his mission. He left his home for a walk, determined that he would kill the first police officer he saw.

They asked him if he carried out that plan, and he said “yes and no.” He went on to explain that the first officer he saw was directing traffic. The inmate reported that he stood at the corner of the intersection and watched the officer for about 10 minutes. He said there was a lot of opportunities when the officer had his back to him.

But as the inmate watched the officer, he saw that the officer had his uniform pressed. His shoes were shined. He appeared to be in good shape. The inmate said he got the impression that this officer was serious. He had his sh*t together. He appeared very professional. The inmate said that he felt that if he engaged in a shoot-out with this officer, the officer would react with his professionalism and seriousness and clearly win…. So he walked away. The officer never even knew he was there.

But the inmate said he continued on his walk. He came across an officer that was clearly out of shape. His uniform didn’t fit. He said it looked like he just didn’t care. He engaged THAT officer, and killed him.

Now, who knows if the first officer would have won. But that story illustrates the power of impression.

Care about your appearance, at least your professional appearance. Own the room, meeting, interview, sales pitch, etc when you walk in. Impression are made fast, and often times far before you will have the chance to explain your resume and personality.

Dress the part.