Backing yourself attracts backing from others. The swell of acceptance starts with you.
Shaun was bright, ambitious and filled with great ideas, but there was a catch. He had a habit of second-guessing his opinions and experiences. He was worried about putting his ideas out into the wider forum without some sense of acceptance or encouragement from others first. Even though he was an excellent operator, he hadn’t broken his reliance on validation before action. He had learned to play it safe.
In meetings, he held back on his ideas, thinking they weren’t solid enough or up to scratch, only to see them introduced (and accepted) by others later on. He would ask permission before making a contribution (‘Can I just make a suggestion?’) and rarely challenged ideas because he didn't want to upset anyone or cause conflict. He unconsciously needed permission in order to perform. Whilst this kept a harmonious environment and maintained a likeable nature at work, it also robbed others of his hidden value; value that could’ve significantly altered outcomes for the better.
Shaun’s story is not uncommon. Many talented professionals wonder if what they are doing is right; if their decision is correct and if their opinion will be accepted and valued by others. The problem with waiting for permission, encouragement or validation before putting your ideas out there, is that confidence in your ideas works like a loan; lenders only lend money to those who can prove they already have it. The same holds true for confidence and acceptance in your ideas – when you offer ideas with confidence and clarity, others respond with greater confidence in return. If you already have it, you get it back from others.
If you offer ideas tentatively or even apologetically, others are quick to find fault and push back, taking their cue from you. Research shows that people assume those with more confidence are also more competent. If you back yourself, others are more likely to back you too.
Next time you’re in a meeting wondering if your idea is good enough, act as if it is and throw it out there. You might be surprised how well it’s received and what new possibilities open up as a result. Your idea doesn’t have to be perfect to be valuable, but it does have to be presented to have potential. :)
Til next time