“The chief trick to making good mistakes is not to hide them – especially not from yourself. Instead of turning away in denial, … you should become a connoisseur of your own mistakes, turning them over in your mind as if they were works of art, which, in a way they are.” Daniel Dennet
Many of us want to shrink when we make a mistake. We deny that we’ve made one or we hesitate to own our part. While it may seem easier to avoid ‘consequences’ – the truth is we (almost) always feel the consequences one way or the other. For instance, if we avoid taking risks for fear of looking foolish – we deprive ourselves of opportunities to grow and learn. Not good.
If we take a big risk… e.g. wholeheartedly sponsor a big project at work… and it goes well; we might get that promotion. If it fails, we will suffer from the ‘slings and arrows’ of people’s looks and possible gossip. But who learned? You did. While they were sitting back and judging you, you were out there talking, promoting, learning, growing and gaining visibility. Instead of hiding from your mistakes; what if you embraced them? what if you just say, “Wow, I made a mistake. I learned a lot and I won’t make that mistake again.” Imagine how confident you would seem and feel.
Billy Joel has a great line in his song… You’re Only Human:
“You’re not the only one who’s made mistakes
But they’re the only thing that you can truly call your own”
If mistakes are the only thing I can truly call my own, then I should make MORE not less. We encourage our small children to make mistakes and assure them that it’s ok when they do. Then they get to be teens; we start to bear down on them — don’t make mistakes!. As adults, we are mortified when it happens to us. Why? Because we are afraid to look anything less than perfect. We set a better example when we own our risks/mistakes. We then have the satisfaction of knowing that we created something – all my own. Smile, it’s just a mistake.
Photo credit: Hand over mouth Mel B.
“When you have to sell ugly, sell the result.” **
You know the expression, “a face only a mother could love”? This little piggy is beautiful in her mother’s eyes. The good news is, we’re all beautiful to someone. “Selling ugly” means selling something that, on the surface… doesn’t seem great.
Selling sexy is easy; selling results is hard. If you spend more time understanding what the ‘customer’ (potential employer, someone who’s buying what you’re selling, etc.) needs… it will be more reasonable to assess your strengths versus that end.
In life, we all have those moments of doubt… when you and I need to convince someone (including ourselves!) that we’re wayyyyy more attractive than we might appear at first glance. In this case, we need to sell on the results we can deliver – not on our outward appearance. Maybe our experience isn’t a perfect fit for the job that’s open. Maybe we think we have too much or not enough education. Maybe we think we’re not pretty, thin or rich enough… whatever.
The truth is you are a perfect fit for someone, someplace. The question is, do you understand what you can DELIVER? Can you be more fun, more creative, more interesting? Can you design it, deliver it? Can you hit sales targets, hire better, add integrity? What goal do you have and does that goal match the person/organization you are trying to sell?
Even if we’re not quite as difficult a sell as the hairy pig… focusing on results will nearly always get us closer to the prize.
** thanks to Chris Brogan
Photo credit: Hairy Pig JLplusAL
Confidence is defined as “belief in oneself and one’s powers or abilities.” Where does your confidence come from?
If it’s from your work and you’ve been forced to make job changes then your confidence might be rocky. But if your confidence comes from self-awareness and continuously updated skills… then you might be feeling ok.. no matter what your employment circumstances are.
An author I admire, Darmesh Shah, wrote an excellent article titled, “Nine Qualities of Truly Confident People.“ He describes confidence as, “quiet: a natural expression of ability, expertise, and self-regard.” Note that the article doesn’t describe confidence as bravado or swagger; but the ability to listen, to be wrong in front of others, to freely ask for help and shine the spotlight on others.
I would add two things to his list: knowledge and discipline. People who are confident usually are disciplined. They get more done than other people because they understand what’s important. In addition, they keep their skills updated. They don’t make excuses for why they don’t know things… they work hard.
If you are looking for a new resource to help you in your journey to career confidence.. check out CareerRealism - their tag line.. “because every job is temporary” … speaks to the modern condition. Most of us don’t like change, but there is one way to be sure that you can cope and that is to create it.
Be confident. Be happy and go with the flow. Change is good, timing is everything, patience is the key.
Photo credit: 3 WCAP boxers medal photographer