Work-Life 5/19/2016

Intangibles: The Impact of Self Confidence on Your Career

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by Leslie Juvin-Acker

Self-confidence is more than presence. Self-confidence is not just a way of carrying yourself. Self-confidence communicates how you see and communicate with yourself before anyone else.

Self-confidence can be broken down by confidence in oneself. To confide in oneself, more specifically. And, ultimately, to trust oneself. The impact of self-confidence on the career is multi-faceted. One’s belief in oneself is translated to salary negotiation, entrepreneurial risk taking, merchandising, product planning, marketing, and so forth. Once all of the external considerations have been taken into account, the common denominator of how confident one is in their own ability and comportment is the ultimate deciding and driving factor of businesses everywhere.

 Transworld Magazine and Tracker Truck Co. cofounder, Larry Balma’s recent book, Tracker: 40 Years of Skateboard History features an interview with Henry Hester, former pro slalom racer for G&S and now Encinitas’ own Swami’s Cab had to say this about regrets and self-confidence,

 

I feel like it was a personal mistake not to have started a company like my friend Tom Sims. I probably could have started Hester Skateboards or some sort of company and done pretty well with it. I have a good business sense, but I just never really felt confident that I could do that, which was a giant mistake in my life. The message to anyone who reads this would be that if the doors open, go through them, because if you don’t, you’ll regret it for the rest of your life...I thought I wasn’t savvy enough. Now I realize I could have done that. (Balma, 2015, p.58)

With these personal and painful lessons taken into account, one realizes how banal the concept of self-confidence may be. We all talk about it, but do we really know what it means to be fully connected with oneself when it comes to taking big risks and setting professional boundaries?

I ask my clients, some of them in the C-suite of hundred million dollar companies, “What do you need?”. What a simple and almost stupid question, yet surprisingly profound. The most common answer is, “I don’t know.” When it comes to making business decisions, sticking to your guns, negotiating contracts, and putting out fires, the most fundamental question is What do I need right now? And, the answer to this question is always dumbfoundingly clear and yet demands bold action and a confident voice. The latter the most frightening and deterring part of the process of developing self-confidence.

We’re working in a fast paced world and we err to believe that to be self-confident is to rush into action. As Shakespeare once wrote, “Wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast.” What do we do in times that require snap decisions and quick thinking? We look everywhere else except within. We ignore ourselves, our own internal compass, and that truth we know but choose to ignore. And what happens? We pay the price of not only believing in ourselves, but not believing ourselves. We fail. And we must learn from mistakes instead of thoughtful and calculated successes.

The most impactful (and financially fruitful) way of exercising self-confidence is through negotiation. There are two facets of negotiations: to know the external conditions of the market and to know one’s position therein.

It doesn’t take much genius to know what’s happening in the business environment and job market with a little research. However, it takes a strong sense of inner knowing and belief in oneself to understand one’s value, market position, and bargaining strength in these markets. When it comes to salary negotiations, companies are hedging their bets that you don’t understand and know these two important facets - getting more work from you for less the amount they’re actually willing to pay for your services or products. When it comes to salary negotiations a little self-confidence goes a long way.

I coach my clients to carefully consider these facets and to know what they personally, financially, and emotionally need to get out of negotiations by listening to their own intuition.  When these components have been organized, it takes conviction and unwavering belief in oneself to know, no matter how negotiations go, that their needs will be met (one way or another). This knowledge alleviates the risk factor because what truly belongs to you cannot be lost or taken away. It takes a wiser sort to acknowledge one’s own needs and believe them to be true and unfaltering. In plus, it takes a brave and courageous lot to believe in one’s own truth and capacity to execute it.

Quoting Shakespeare once more, “To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.” In simpler terms, if you’re true to yourself, then you’ll always be honest with others and this is where authenticity in leadership, in branding, and storytelling begins: your own intangible truth. And when we act on this truth, self-confidence is inevitably conveyed in everything we do and in everything we make.

Watch my exclusive interview with Larry Balma, author of Tracker: Forty Years of Skateboard History on my next episode of #Drive coming this June exclusively at Malakye.com. Buy Larry Balma’s book at TrackerTrucks.com. 

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