Earlier in my career I cared about the wrong things.
One was caring about what people thought of me. I still do. I try not to though.
A few years ago I had left London after working for a commodity trading firm and joined a 10,000+ person US based manufacturing company. The company did not hedge some of their raw materials very well and were losing lots of money on metal buys.
It was a swampy Houston morning on the 7th floor of our Galleria office, I was nervously and excitedly sitting in a meeting with people way more experienced (read: older) than me. The meeting with the CFO had about 20 executives and the topic of our internal commodity purchasing issues came up. I suggested we should start to “hedge both sides to lock in our costs”, rather than just doing what “our broker” said to do.
I thought it was a good start to a conversation.
The CFO laughed. The CFO laughed again, even louder.
I felt small.
While laughing, the CFO said “if hedging were easy everyone would do it.” The others laughed too.
I felt embarrassed. I didn’t have enough confidence to answer back and ask him “why do we only hedge one direction instead of locking in our costs?”. We were not a trading firm; we just needed to control inputs. Reality was that I didn’t ask anything else, I stopped talking. Not confident enough to continue. My desire to appear strong held me back, while in the end I just looked weaker.
Never was invited back to that monthly meeting.
The company continued to lose money on the commodity fluctuations for a couple years. They still might be today, not sure.
I knew more about hedging than anyone in the room, but wasn’t confident enough to lead or even help.
Confidence is Belief in Action
Confidence is the ability to act. It is the ability to act in spite of fear. Act in spite of doubts. It doesn’t matter where you start, all that matter is that you do.
Yet, taking action is extremely hard. It is difficult because it requires us to allow the possibility of failure. Failure is scary. Confidence is not about being secure in the exact process, it is being secure in the outcome. Every outcome is your own hands, in your locus of control. You control everything until you give up, when you give up, that is when you give up control as well.
If you believe you can do something, then take the correct action, you will then see your results. Results help give meaning to your actions.
The real secret to confidence is to be ultra-vulnerable, while at the same time to not care what others think of you. When you truly let-go of the need for approval from people who don’t really matter, then your confidence will skyrocket.
The most confident people in the world are also the most vulnerable. They are vulnerable not because they are weak, but because they are willing to show everyone what they truly stand for. Their actions are aligned with their beliefs and they are living the way they need to live to achieve the results they want to attain.
There are two main “False Beliefs” that keep us from being vulnerable and from letting go about caring what other think of us.
False Need for Security
Just because you are warm and safe doesn’t mean there is not more out there for you.
Being well cared for is not enough
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Having a job is not secure. Everyone is fire-able.
A hard life with the ability to achieve is much more desirable than an easy life with no chance for growth.
Fulfillment comes from striving to succeed.
To survive by your own strength and mind, this is what makes us who we are.
The loss of that ability to strive kills confidence.
Comfort can be a curse, an addiction that erases hope. A hopeless life is a prison.
The prison is not a stone wall or chain-link fence; it is created by your mind. The prison built by the beliefs that you are not good enough, that you are not worthy or capable, or you lack the ability. That mental prison becomes so real – some people never escape.
Everyone has the capacity to do great things; to rise above the everyday and accomplish more.
Sometimes all we need is just a little push, a little encouragement.
Embracing your destiny is the ability to embrace change, instability, and discomfort. Yes, it will be hard. You don’t know what will happen. Yet, you know that by giving up the false securities, you will find more freedom than you have ever experienced. Your confidence will increase because your horizons have expanded.
False Need for Approval
Approval is not love. Love is not approval.
We all need love. No one needs approval.
Love is caring. Love is concern.
Love is respect and appreciation.
Approval is superficial. Approval is only about image.
Most of us confuse approval with love. Most of us confuse acceptance with love.
Love is long- term. Lust and passion are very similar to approval.
The more love we give the more love we will receive. Giving love does not mean you accept or approve, it means you care and them as human and as real as yourself.
When you care about others, you will then be open to also care about yourself. When you can erase the need for approval you can truly care for yourself.
The more love you have for yourself, the more confident you will be. Your beliefs will change and your actions will match those beliefs.
More Vulnerability + Less Need for Approval = More Confidence
Wanting to help is not enough. Your actions must align with your desires. The more confidence you have, the more you can help other people.
Confidence comes from belief. Belief in your value. Belief in your thought process. Belief in your ability to help and cause change. We believe the stories we tell ourselves.
Tell yourself the story of your life the way you want it to turn out. Then act on that story.
I wish I had done it back then. I wish I had done it yesterday.
You can start telling yourself a new story today.