It’s not always easy in today’s world to be confident. What is it anyway? I mean, so many people see confidence as ‘self-confidence’. Something we can talk ourselves into. Or, an ‘attitude’ of knowing we’re a ‘winner’ or a ‘fearlessness’ when facing challenges.
I’m going to say right now that confidence isn’t any of those things. Having a false belief in our own abilities will, ultimately lead us to failure. Confidence isn’t all about us. In fact, it’s about others. It’s about having a faith and trust in another, as well as ourselves, to complete a task or have the ability to manage a given situation.
As far as careers go, having been in sales for over twenty-five years in one form or another, I can say that my confidence level to be able to sell is high, yet, it’s never at a point where I would walk in the door and act like I’m ‘Mr. Big Stuff’. I’ve learned sales isn’t about me. It’s about the person/company I’m selling to. That’s it. No more and no less.
That same philosophy carries over into other aspects of life. When I was in college, I wasn’t confident when it came to dating until I had surgeries to straighten my eyes. After that, I had WAY too much confidence and became a flirt.
I’m really not sure how the girls put up with me, to tell you the truth, especially after getting out of Naval training. I definitely had way too much ‘self-confidence’ (something they drill into you of course).
Is it ok to have confidence (i.e. trust) in yourself? Of course. If we don’t believe we can do anything right, we’ll never accomplish anything. What we need, however, is a healthy balance. Balance comes with age and experience.
For example, I’ve been working with Microsoft customers for over eighteen years, yet, I still wouldn’t say I know everything there is to know about every product and how it’s licensed. I may never get there. So, knowing that, helps me to keep humble and always striving to get better.
The desire to improve and get better, no matter what level of life we are in, will keep us humble and on the right track. My advice to young people today would be to try and not to put too much faith in their knowledge learned from school and to keep an ‘always willing to learn attitude’.
So many young people walk out the door from college and expect to land that perfect job only to get their hopes dashed. Being prepared for the eventuality of failure is what will keep us from being too full of ourselves.
I should have listened to my own advice a few years ago when I stepped out into full-time photography with WAY too much self-confidence. Sure enough, life taught me a big lesson and it has taken several years to get over that failure. Still today, when asked to do a wedding or photo shoot, I wrestle with self-doubt.
So, none of us are there yet. Sure, knowledge is power. But, it’s never a replacement for a willing and humble heart. If I’ve learned anything over the past couple of years, it’s been that, all my experience and success in one field doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll be a success in another.
There’s a great song from the 70s called ‘Mr. Big Stuff’ I heard on the radio today when I stopped to get a soda. I had been thinking about confidence during our morning walk and how I’d lost it with my photography. Today’s blog is truly more for me than anyone and this song played perfectly into the theme.
Tonight, like the horse in the photo today, let’s focus on being free from the burdens of over confidence as well as the burdens of self-doubt, so we can ‘run like the wind’! Let’s focus on finding the balance needed to walk ahead into whatever challenges may face us with a humble, willing to learn heart. Then, no matter what we face, we won’t be walking in the door looking like ‘Mr. Big Stuff’.