Fake it till you make it

“It is confidence in our bodies, minds and spirits that allows us to keep looking for new adventures.” Oprah Winfrey
Some people have told me I come across as confident and calm. What they don’t see is that, on the inside, I can be a giant insecure mess full of self-doubt. Once, one of my dear friends called me to congratulate me on a promotion and laughingly told me: “If only they knew what an emotional mess you can be, they would have never promoted you.” She, like me, was ambitious and consistently climbing the corporate ladder. We were tough, strong, and confident. Or at least, that was how we showed up at work. We had one rule: “Whatever happens, you don’t cry at work!” You don’t show weakness.

I now know, pretending to feel confident is not the same as being confident. And, I learned that showing vulnerability is directly connected to confidence and not to weakness. By vulnerability I mean that you feel confident enough to admit to not knowing something. Showing your true self. Something that has not come easy to me. This is topic Brené Brown, who I deeply admire and consider a true inspiration, is an expert on. In one of my next blog posts I will definitely discuss this further, since it is strongly connected to curiosity as well.

Pretend

However, if showing vulnerability is still a bit too far out of your comfort zone, I do believe that even by just pretending to feel confident, it may enable you to act more boldly. Confidence is not something you are born with. It is something you can grow by repetition. Confidence helps you to believe in your own abilities. You try, you fail, you learn, you try again, you fail, you learn even more, you try again and succeed. When you learn from your failures, you become aware of what works and what doesn’t work. You become more familiar with your abilities and as a result you grow more confident. And pretending to feel confident, helped me to act and try new things. I didn’t want to show any weakness (that was how I felt that was at the time) and, admit that I wasn’t confident about my abilities to get things done.

Therefore, I pretended to be confident about the outcome and went for it. But, I never just went for it. I came prepared. I prepared for it as much as I could. Doing research, asking questions. The preparation itself gave me more confidence. By pretending to feel confident, I had to show up confident and it forced me to come prepared and act. Slowly, as a result, my confidence grew.

Two of the three pillars I work on during my coaching program are confidence and curiosity (clarity being the third). Confidence and curiosity go hand in hand. Confidence may give you the strength to act upon your curiosity.

Curiously Confident

In their book ‘The Curious Advantage’ Paul Ashcroft, Simon Brown and Garrick Jones identify confidence as one of the seven elements (7C’s) that individuals, leaders and organizations can employ to create competitive advantage by building a culture of curiosity. Confidence grows with curiosity. If we approach something new with a curious mindset, being open to trying, failing and improving – we build confidence.

They provide 5 tips to become curiously confident:

1. Develop a growth mindset

A growth mindset helps you to grow your curiosity and confidence. Having a growth mindset means that you believe that you are a work in progress. Every day is a chance for you to improve yourself. Not knowing doesn’t make you uncomfortable and you are open to learning. You are actively curious.

2. Try again, fail again, fail better

The authors encourage you to find a project and allow yourself to try and fail. Begin with a small risk with low impact. The key is to reflect on how that made you feel and what you can learn from the result. It will build you confidence to try again and maybe take a bigger risk this time.

3. Make curiosity a habit

To become confident with your curiosity, they recommend to making curiosity part of your everyday life. You can read my blog post Three tricks to spark your curiosity when working from home’ to get inspired.

4. Connect with real people

According to the authors, learning is social. You need others to test your thinking. Search for experts and a diverse group of people to challenge and help you.

5. Keep a notebook or diary

A journal or notebook helps us to reflect on our journey. Over time it shows us our growth. It reinforces our confidence as we learn and explore.

Let me help you or your team become curiously confident. Go to www.LisetteLeuftink.com to sign up for my newsletter or book a call for a free introductory call with me to discuss how we can work together.

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