My daughter has a toy train that she loves. She can sit and ride around on it, it sings songs, makes train noises and has five buttons (A through E) that cycles through different responses when pushed. The first of which is a pleasant female voice saying the colour while the second option resembles “D is for Dog *bark *bark”. When my daughter gets on a roll she pushes button after button after button, not letting this nice lady from the train finish her sentence. This particular daughter-train interaction went something like this: “A is for…E is…C is for…D is for…C is…B is for…C is for…A is…C is…D is for…C is for Cow *mooooo”. I am almost certain my daughter gained no new knowledge from this interaction due to the pace in which she was hitting these buttons, but I couldn’t help but reflected on the simplicity of the concept.
I was part of a workshop that worked to develop “your story”, a way to approach business relationships that engages others. The speaker made an excellent point pulling resources from several different sources, but one message that resonated with me was this: you become who you act like you are. To help illustrate this point, let’s say you are the shyest person in the world. Say it: “I’m the shyest person in the world”. If someone were to offer you 1 million dollars to be the most confident person in the universe for 10 minutes, would you do it? Of course you would, IT’S A MILLION DOLLARS!!!! But what would that look like? How would you act? Dress? Talk? Walk? It would be different from your regular shy self wouldn’t it? For those 10 minutes you would BE a different person because you ACT like a different person: you are who you act like you are.
I have never been the most confident person. I often and sometimes easily revert to being shy and quiet, specially in a new or uncomfortable situation. Oddly enough, my professions of choice require people to have confidence is themselves, their products, their knowledge and their abilities. I’ve had to learn how to be confident; mainly by investing time and energy at getting good at my “stuff”. I need to make a conscious effort to go beyond my comfort zone on a regular basis. I need to act like a confident person to be a confident person: aspects of my life depend on it. I need to be confident to introduce myself to new people, seek feedback and advice from people I barely know, strive to grow relationships and put myself out there for rejection on a regular basis.
Sales is an industry of approval and rejection. It takes confidence to call a prospect and attempt to get a meeting, to stand in a boardroom presenting a service or solution to a group of people and to know how and when to ask for a sale. Confidence is critical component of being successful in such an environment.
What about elsewhere? Without a flash of confidence, I would have never had to nerve to speak to this hot girl in my statistics class (now my wife), I would have interviewed for a job (therefore still working at Subway, my place of employment through High School), never challenged myself to change careers when teaching opportunities dwindled (and now have no desire to go back) and I would never had the balls to be a father (my family is the best thing to ever happen to me).
It’s all about the confidence.
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