The One Thing We Forget About Confidence

Last week, I spent a few days at the LinkedIn Learning offices in Carpenteria, CA.  I was filming my second class there on Salesforce.  And it got me thinking about confidence and how the process of presenting classes on their platform has challenged and grown my confidence in different ways.

Let me explain more.  LinkedIn Learning is a teaching platform and I was lucky enough to be hired as an expert in Salesforce.   I was paired with a professional producer (that’s her in the photo above), created an outline, script and spent several months practicing.   Months of writing, editing and organizing culminated in three days of live recording.  This is me in the recording booth.

inside the recording studio

I look happy in this photo because we took it at the end of three days (a picture on day one would NOT have looked like that).  I felt accomplished because not only had I finished the project, it had not been easy.  I got hours of feedback like, “Try that again, you were not speaking clearly”, “Too many ums, do it again”, “You are swallowing too much, do it again”.   All very valid observations that could improve my recordings.

Luckily, I was paired with an extremely professional and supportive producer who made it clear that all of her feedback was to help me improve and to create the best class experience possible.

And it made me think.  What if she had not been so supportive.  What if the criticism, while constructive, made me even more nervous?  The one thing we tend to forget about confidence is that our confidence can grow if it is challenged.

Confidence is something we are constantly working on and it fluctuates up and down at various times in our lives or even days of the week.  It is dependent on not just our experiences but how we react to those experiences.  And if you are an entrepreneur, this is even more important for you.  Confidence is what will get you more clients, make you more money, help you create partnerships and support you to keep going even though its hard.

The experience at LinkedIn really built my confidence in many ways.  First, it helped me become an even better teacher just through practice.  It allowed me to face a challenging situation and negative (but constructive) feedback and decide that I was going to allow that feedback to help me grow instead of make me feel insecure.  And that challenge only made me feel MORE confident after the entire experience was over.

It reminds me of what I told my son about one of his soccer games last year.  He played against another team who didn’t have enough players so they had to forfeit.  Of course, he was excited because his team won.   Then I explained to him, the wins that REALLY feel good are the ones that are hard.  When  both teams play their hardest and challenge themselves.  When you win that game, it feels even better.  As I told him that story, I realized there was a part of that story I needed to listen to for myself.  It was time to stop tackling the easy challenges.  It was time to push myself.

When we challenge ourselves and push through our comfort zone, the win is even more meaningful than our easy challenges.  So here is my question for you.  When was the last time you really challenged yourself in a big way?  What was your big win?  By sharing your story with us, it not only makes it more concrete in your own mind, it may inspire other entrepreneurs to do the same.

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