Why the Dreaded “C” Word
Ever notice how so many people are selling confidence to others as if it was a commodity to be had? But is confidence something you can simply buy?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you can’t get over your fears and pursue your dreams. After all, if I didn’t have a growth mindset, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do.
The 85% Club
According to our trusted friend, Merriam Webster, confidence means a feeling or consciousness of one’s powers or of reliance on one’s circumstances. Further, Forbes magazine distinguishes a feeling of optimism held by confident people by adding that, [t]he self-confident person is one who radiates optimism about future outcomes.
And, yet, NBC News reports that up to 85% of people in America — count me in —- suffer from low self-esteem.
Both the definition and the statistic make me think that our desire for confidence is so powerful to us. Do a Google search for low self-esteem and you’ll find 57,000,000+ articles. So, to see someone with confidence is SEXY!!
To cash in on sexy — uh, I mean confidence — might make you a millionaire if you do it correctly. I must admit, I too tried “confidence” as a selling point. Talk about feeling inauthentic! After all, I’m a member of the 85% club, remember?
And even if I weren’t, how would I transfer my own positive feelings about myself and future events onto someone else who just couldn’t see it for themselves, especially if they felt insecure while presenting?
But this “C”-word ain’t so bad...
Let’s exchange this “C” word for another “C” word that’s more realistic and achievable: “CONVICTION”! Merriam Webster defines that as, the state of mind of a person who is sure that what he or she believes or says is true.
Now, I know someone who likes to challenge me all the time. Check it out:
Danielle: “So, Robert, how does conviction differ from being inflexible?
Robert: If you’re inflexible when conveying your point, you don’t listen to others. You’re already formulating your response in your head as the other person is speaking. Even if you see the flaw in your point, you’ve invested so much energy in it that you refuse to back down. You attempt to save face. Imagine how uncomfortable and nerve-wrecking this can be for you when giving a presentation.
(Actually, she pointed out some of the above as well as she’s a cool gal).
Sentences that reveal your inflexibility as a speaker might start off as, “Yeah, but…”, “I disagree”, or “You’re not hearing me” or, my favorite, “Do you realize what you’re saying?”
Yet, when you speak with conviction, arguing (or inflexibility) gets replaced with sharing. Conversations leave space for other points of view to co-exist. You might even mull over your own viewpoint and someone else’s convictions.
Here’s the point:
Conviction is passion.
People see you as an expert, not because you’re a confident person, necessarily, but because you convey such a strong belief in something other than yourself: your service, product, or idea.
And this makes you credible and, well, sexy!
Most importantly, your conviction can inspire your audience to take your recommended action. The best part is that when you present with conviction, your audience thinks that you’re a naturally confident person.
When in the market for confidence in the future, consider what you really believe in and use that in your next presentation instead.