Have you ever had to interact with someone that made you uncomfortable? I don’t mean in a physical sense; more that you just don’t know where you stand… not sure what they want from you… what the answer they’re looking for is… or whether they feel you actually are value-add to the situation.
You know in your head that of course you’re value-add, dummy. You know your worth. You wouldn’t be there if you weren’t talented, capable, and needed, but your gut is just unsettled. You can’t get a good read on that person, or maybe you suspect that their intentions aren’t as altruistic as they’d have you believe? Or maybe they’ve presented themselves to be greater than the sum of their parts. Maybe they’ve oversold themselves. Or maybe it’s overcommitment?
Whatever it is, it affects you. Your interactions with that person are less than stellar, even when you know that you know that you know your stuff. You know the answer you’re giving is correct but you stumble over it, talk around it, and then present it as a question instead of a statement? COME ON!!!
What do you do?
Option 1: Abandon ship and swim for safe harbor. Maybe your intuition is spot on… Or maybe it’s you?
Option 2: Suck it up, buttercup. Forget the haters. Other people’s opinions of you are important, sure, but they do not define you – or your worth. You have talent to offer and insight to give that no one else possesses. I’m not saying get up on your soapbox and preach your position as the gospel from the great and powerful OZ or anything, but remember your ability. Be confident in the presentation of your experience. A lot of times, simply exuding confidence makes the angry bears back down. Present yourself as bigger. Physically take up more space. Exude confidence in yourself and your contribution to the conversation. Level the playing field.
Yeah, in most cases, Option 2 is the best case scenario. But how do you get to that place? Where does the ability to outwardly express your internal confidence come from? How do you get it??
Invest in yourself. Focus on you. When you are dedicated to making sure you have the right mindset and are actively pursuing your own personal growth and development, you naturally gain confidence in yourself and your abilities. Yeah, it sounds like a bunch of hooey. Feel-good mumbo jumbo and all that, but dude, it works. And then you can do Option 2 without a care in the world.
A couple of key take-aways from some of the authors I’ve been reading lately (well, actually, I’ve been listening to them on audiobook and podcast while I drive the 45 minutes to and from the office every day):
- When you think about what it is that you want out of life, what your ambitions are, what your ultimate goal is… Ponder this: What are you willing to put up with to get there?
- When formulating a plan, start with what you don’t want. What you don’t want to do, or to be, or to put up with, or to work through… or who you’d rather not work with. When you eliminate the things you’re strongly opposed to from the get-go, you proactively remove obstacles and road blocks from future paths.
Captain wants to live on the beach. He doesn’t want to have to wear a leash. He wants to be able to chase the pelicans for as far as he can run, and he doesn’t want to take a shower after every beach trip. But he’s willing to put up with leashes and boundaries and baths in order to fulfill his dream. (And I’m happy to oblige him…) He does not, however, want to have to do all these things in a park on a “dog beach.” That deal breaker for him means that we have to target a county in Florida that allows dogs on the beachfront. See? Future obstacle removed from planning our eventual move to the Florida coast. Thanks, Captain!