…is a peculiar thing. The reason I bring it up, is because having “it”, or not having “it” makes such a difference to your life, your contentedness, your performance – everything.
But where does it come from?
Since the days I was a young aspiring cricketer – one day playing for my club, being a nervous wreck – the next day playing against professionals – being confident and positive in everything I did; the subject of confidence has always fascinated me. Why could I be extremely confident one-day, and not the next? And perversely, why was I more confident when there was more on the line, than in standard weekly fixtures. I’m on a life-long journey to understand more…
Some of the people we have worked with in the last year have portrayed the most amount of ‘confidence’ in our first meetings – looking directly in the eye, firm handshakes, lots of laughs, smiles and easy engaging chatter. Sometimes this has been genuine, sometimes not. It has been down to us, to develop relationships, develop our understanding of others and establish whether what we are perceiving is authentic or not. For a service business, reliant upon relationships, sales, negotiation, persuasion – this is a critical skill.
I will keep coming back to this topic, as there is so much to discuss. But for now – an insight I want to give into my world is this. There are so many people who have come to us already, with brilliant ideas, or really strong businesses – and they are full of doubt. As some one who is involved in strategy, in mentoring, facilitating and coaching – it is often me who is first up from our end to assess a new opportunity.
There have been times where people have come in, been very directly, assured and clear on what their business is about, and critically – why they are doing what they are doing. This is so easy to perceive, as they can usually articulate themselves succinctly; are clear what support they need, and are comfortable in their own skin. They usually spend just as much time asking questions of me, of us, as we do asking them.
However, what concerns me is the number of people I have spoken to who have great ideas, or who are already running really good businesses who are either unsure of themselves, and are looking for reassurance from us. It’s like they have stumbled upon something that is earning them money, or has the possibility to create the life they want – but they need permission to go ahead and give it a crack.
It’s at this point that I ask myself a question:
Is it a good/solid business, and does it either have the evidence of performance behind it, or rigorous research into the opportunity ahead?
If the answer to this is yes – then I ask myself, why is this person asking me for advice or support? Why are they not going 100% already, when they can see the opportunity ahead of them?
The only answer that I have right now, is that whatever has happened in their lives to this point – they lack the confidence to look themselves in the mirror and go, “fuck it, I can do this.”
That’s fine. But here’s the rub. ‘Going for it’ is taking a risk. You may risk financial, emotional, even physical pain sometimes when you challenge yourself. But not ‘going for it’ is also a risk, and perhaps I’d argue an even bigger one. I remember the days I used to sit in the office, or back in school and stare out of the windows dreaming about the things I wished I could be doing. I can only speak for myself here, but I know – if I was sat in an office now, and ten years from now – doing something every day that I didn’t love – I would be deeply unhappy. So to me, the risk of not doing something was the risk of becoming frustrated, annoyed, angry, affecting my personal relationships, struggling with mental health.
So you can probably already guess my answer to people when they ask me, “do you think I should pursue this?” … supposing they have already answered my first question satisfactorily; that there is a strong business opportunity, and they have weighed up how they will look after their financial and family responsibilities – my instinct is to say – “go for it, what are you waiting for?!” but instead I say … well, what do you think?
And so far, the reaction has pretty much always been the same… a smile, some blushing, and then a sheepish – it’s a silly question isn’t it?