This guest post is by Steve of Thecodeofextraordinarychange.com
Confidence is over-rated.
At least, it’s over-rated in the homogenized, misused, self-help industry clap-trap kinds of ways.
In today’s world it’s both easy and tempting to start putting a confident veneer over things, because it seems as though the world expects that. In relationships, friendships, career, blogging and business, there’s an expectation that you have to know what you’re doing, otherwise you just don’t stack up.
So communicating the “I’m know where I’m at” position becomes something we busy ourselves with. We become focused on the portrayal of expertise or success in addition to building that same expertise and success, and sometimes that portrayal prohibits the very thing you’re looking to achieve.
So I think it’s time to stop the BS and to halt the veneer of confidence. It’s time for unconfidence.
Here’s how it works.
You don’t have to pretend
I work two jobs because my coaching business doesn’t make enough money to support me. I don’t pretend that it does, because to do so requires that I see this fact as a negative and I don’t want to lie to my clients.
I don’t pretend that I know exactly where my business is going, because I’m largely making it up as I go along. I don’t pretend to have all the answers, because that would make me an asshole.
Pretending to be something you’re not or to know something you don’t is part of the old world. Online, people can now smell that kind of pretence and it’s only a matter of time before the offline world starts behaving similarly (if it hasn’t happened already).
You have an incredible array of skills, experience, strengths and talents and an even more incredible capacity to learn, improve and grow. Focus on that, not on pretending.
Engagement with meaning is a pre-requisite
If what you’re doing in your life and business doesn’t mean a whole lot to you, or amount to a hill o’ beans, you’re just treading water. If there’s nothing on the line, there’s no need for you to push at the boundaries of your capabilities. If there’s nothing at stake, you don’t need to step up to the plate or raise your head above the parapet.
You can coast.
The things that matter to you matter for a reason. Ignoring them disconnects meaning from your life and work, and the net result is that you don’t really care what happens.
It’s a place of limbo and increasing constraint, where you die a long, slow death wondering what might have been. It’s a ghastly place to be (I learned this the hard way). Meaningful success can only ever be derived from engaging with the things that have meaning. That goes for life and business.
Unconfidence is about listening and engaging with the things that matter to you, and requires that you make a choice to grow to the point where you feel ready, willing, and even compelled to get involved.
You’re already worthy
There are a lot of people out there hustling. Pushing, doing, moving. Trying to make something happen so they can prove to themselves that they’re good enough or that they’re worthy of their peers, friends, mentors, clients, and partners.
I can’t imagine much worse than that.
You don’t have to prove you’re worthy or deserving to anyone—yourself most of all. You don’t have to fit in with the cool kids or gain approval from others. You don’t need to hide who you are to gain approval for who you think you ought to be.
Unconfidence is allowing yourself to show up as who you are, warts and all. It’s knowing—and feeling—that with all your imperfections you’re just right. And it requires that you stop judging yourself for who you are and start being yourself because of who you are.
As Brene Brown put it in her book The Gifts of Imperfection, “Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It’s about cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough.”
Shaking in your boots doesn’t mean you’re not confident
There’s a common misunderstanding that confident people don’t get scared. That they don’t feel fear. That they’re fearless.
That fear response is deeply coded into your brain—when you’re feeling fear your amygdala fires up, giving you strong signals that you’re about to die and that you need to fight, fly, or freeze. The fear is just there to remind you that things might not go to plan and you might lose out, which is sometimes enough to stop you, right?
But here’s the thing: you can be shaking in your boots in the face of a decision, and still be confident that you can make a choice and deal with whatever happens on the other side.
Unconfidence is the quality that allows you to feel fear without judgment.
You can’t control the whole world
Plans are great. Go ahead and make them. Just remember that if you try to have your plans cater for every eventuality, you’ll be making plans for the rest of your days.
You can exert some control over what you do and how you do it in an effort to get a particular outcome, but if you’re focused on outcome after outcome after outcome you’ll be driving yourself loopy trying to control every variable to increase the certainty of your results.
Truth is, the world is uncertain. You can’t control everything. There’s always something that can throw you sideways and knock your plans off track. So what if you knew that you could make a decision and deal with whatever happens? What if you detached your decision making from a specific outcome or result?
Do that and the focus becomes less about the outcome and more about engaging with your decisions and behaviour. That’s unconfidence—being able to choose your behaviour with implicit trust in that behaviour, not in the outcome. You always get to choose. It’s liberating.
The choice to trust yourself is sometimes the only choice you need
Crazy stupid success isn’t a one-time thing. It’s not something you hit and then settle back into and ride ’til retirement. It’s a process.
It’s a process that requires you to strip away the BS, show up as yourself, be vulnerable and start playing because it matters to you in ways that scare you. I’ve called it unconfidence here in order to differentiate it from your normal assumptions and beliefs around what “confidence” is. But it is confidence. Simple, graceful, natural self-confidence.
You have it. You using it?
Steve is a superstar confidence coach who helps you build an extraordinary life. He also makes a fantastic ragu, and while he can’t promise you a batch he’ll promise to help you put your dent in the universe, which is probably a better deal. Get more of him on Twitter and Facebook.