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Confidence - "An Inside Job"

Brad Stevenson

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Okay. So, I walk into an international coffee shop chain to buy a Latte. I'm greeted by a young man at the cash register who is basically “shaking in his boots" transmitting a tremendous lack of confidence. I could see the insecurity in his eyes (like the deer in the headlights) and tension in his face and shoulders. His first words to me were “It's my first day working here and I don't really know what I'm doing. It would be great if I had a ½ hour for each customer".

My first response was to empathize with this young man and help him to relax a little bit. He was wound up tighter then a drum. I wasn't convinced he'd gotten my order right or would give me the correct change. I double-checked both and sure enough, the order was incorrect. I'm a 2% milk guy, not a whole milk guy. Once I empathized with his situation we talked for a couple of minutes and I suggested to him that he work on transmitting an air of confidence. I joked with him a little bit since there was nobody in line behind me. I could see him begin to relax some. Little did he realize the change he was experiencing was his own. I was merely the catalyst for the shift that he was experiencing within himself. Even though it was his first day on the job, only he and his co-workers knew that truth. He was responsive to my suggestions (I went on to elaborate in more detail how he could display more confidence) and appreciated the support.

As I was waiting for my Latte, I watched him work with the next few customers. I could see he was more relaxed, making eye contact and handling the cash register quite well. I watched him take a few deep breaths between customers. Although he didn't know any more then he did 5 minutes earlier, it was apparent that he had shifted his belief about himself internally. Thus, a transmission of greater confidence to the customer emerged. I gave him a “thumbs up" as I walked out the door with a smile on my face.

We owe it to ourselves and everyone we interact with to show our GREATNESS. In one of Nelson Mandela's greatest speeches he iterated: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous. Actually, who are you not to be". This speech goes on to teach us how to be liberated from our fears and limitations.

TWD focuses on Trust, Honesty, Authenticity, Neutrality, Kindness and Surrender: THANKs® as the building blocks to success.

How we present ourselves to our customers, our co-workers, our supervisors, our clients and the world at large, determines to such a significant degree how we will be perceived. It really ties into how well people will be able to trust and count on us. Practicing any 1 of these 5 skills can help all of us to be seen as competent and confident as long as we are living by 3 non-negotiable principles. Trust, Honesty and Kindness: THANKs®. Otherwise, these tools just become a front for deceit and self gain.

1. Speak with confidence. Confident expression comes from diaphragmatic speaking, not from the throat. Diaphragmatic speaking forces us to stand taller and will capture peoples’ attention. It's not about the words folks, or the volume. It's about the energy and enthusiasm we transmit when we interact. A word of caution however. Learning how to “SEE" people will give us insight as to how we gauge our intensity of speech in order to pull them in, not push them away. Appropriate intonation and volume changes from person to person, depending on how they integrate sensory input. The better we learn to read people the more artful we become at engaging and not blowing them out of the water, or boring them to tears.

2. Be a good listener. Show understanding of the request or situation being presented to you by reflecting it back (empathy). Our ability to listen speaks volumes to the expresser. I have often been told that because I listen well, and empathize accurately, that individuals find their own answers without me ever giving a suggestion. Empathy, I have found, is the most powerful communication tool we possess. It takes a lot of discipline to be a good listener before we speak. St. Francis of Assisi taught us: “Let us seek to understand before we are understood".

3. Let your body language speak volumes. Eye contact, a smile and relaxed shoulders, coupled with standing tall transmits confidence. Keeping hand animation down to a minimum avoids distraction. 80% of our communication is non-verbal. Just think about a time where you asked someone you know “Is something bothering you"? And you were sure there was but they answered, “No. Everything is fine". Did it make you feel a little unsure? Well, how did you know something was bothering them even if they were saying no? I would suspect it was their body language and energy that they were displaying that clued you in. Let your body language emit an air of trustworthiness, honesty and an abundance of kindness. This kind of displayed confidence is second to none.

4. Find answers. If you need answers for a client, customer, co-worker or supervisor, seek them out with confidence. We don't have to know it all. “Know it alls" are often compensating because of a deep sense of inadequacy. Letting others see that we don't have all of the answers, but are willing to seek them out transmits a truth. This truth simply is: I am human and don't know everything. Be the expert at what you are the expert at. Beyond that, seek out answers and don't pretend you are somebody you are not.

5. The inventory. Each day as you awaken, take time to create intention for that day only. Imagine what you will be like, how you will present yourself, and who you want to be throughout that day. I call this “Dress Rehearsal". Then, go out and embrace your day. At days end take a few minutes to rehash the day and evaluate how you did with your intention. Make sure to evaluate both the things you did well in regard to displays of self-confidence, as well as areas you would like to improve on. This process holds the intention in our conscious awareness.

We can't wait to get self-confidence in order to transmit it. We need to practice techniques every day and become the confident person we seek to be. Behavioral repetition does wonders in taking us to newfound places, as long as we live with the integrity that allows us to look in the mirror each night and love what we see. Let your self-confidence shine through every day in all walks of life, and before you know it, you will be more of whom you seek to be.

Brad Stevenson and Bob Sugar of Trans-World Dynamics’ (TWD) mission is to guide individuals, couples, executives and businesses toward the practice of:

Trustworthiness, Honesty, Authenticity, Neutrality, Kindness, and Surrender (THANKs®).

As these sustainable principles serve to guide individuals in all areas of their lives, the rewards that we have seen CEOs, companies, executives and individuals experience are unprecedented.


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