Want to know a secret about me: I'm an introvert and I'm shy.
OK, that was two secrets (but don't tell anybody). How can someone who is both introverted and shy run a multi-office company, speak in front of thousands of people and publish almost every thought they have about the media, marketing, advertising and communications space so openly and freely?
I get nervous. I get uncertain. I question my own ideals. I still hope that people like me. I want people to know that I'm trying to do the right thing. But, it is the confidence. Many people confuse being cocky with confidence (and that's where the wires get scrambled). I've been interested in media and marketing since the mid-eighties. Even before working at it professionally, I studied it out of passion. I remember being very young and wondering to myself why one, specific story made it to the front of a magazine cover. Being the type of person I am, and finding a place where I am confident in what I do professionally has been a journey... and there is no destination... it still is a continuous journey. Much like finding a voice for this Blog (or for a newspaper column or for a book), the only way to get the confidence and find that voice is by picking at it - day by day and minute by minute.
Don't confuse confidence with education or years of experience.
Education and years of work experience should help build some of the foundations for you to become confident, but at some point in time, you're going to have to be able to look in the mirror and say to yourself that you know (literally live and breathe) the work you do, and that you're beyond simply being competent at your work. You have to know that should your professional world implode tomorrow that you will be just fine because you know your stuff and you know how to make it work.
Express your confidence.
Many people use Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Quora and more to self-promote. They use it as a platform that says, "look at me" rather than a platform to say, "look at this." It's fine to publish whatever you want. If you find an audience because you're beating your own chest, good on you, but there is that other thing. The Confident Marketer can now (and finally) use these platforms and channels to inform, empower and connect. If you know what you're talking about and can express it by pointing people in directions that adds value to their lives, makes them smarter, helps them become more informed and do better in their own lives, your confidence will jump... and it will jump a lot more (in my humble opinion) than if all you're doing online is the Social Media equivalent of "look at me!"
What confidence does...
- It allows you to express yourself.
- It empowers you to push ideas through.
- It enables you to connect to more people.
- It teaches you to keep an open mind to new ideas and differing perspective.
Great ideas, stories and people happen when their confidence is honest and sincere. It's not about ego. It's not about success. It's not about money. It's about knowing that you are doing exactly what you are supposed to be doing... and you're doing it well.
(small hint: this isn't just about individuals... it's about companies, brands and teams too).