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Confidence Fake It 'Til You Make It?

Posted by Stephen Hager

We'd like to introduce guest blogger, Dale Furtwengler, and share his recent blog post on living a life free of fear, anxiety, and frustration. The original post can be found at Confidence: Fake It 'Til You Make It?

Enjoy! 

Confidence: Fake It 'Til You Make It? 

During a recent conference on confidence the primarily female audience bemoaned the fact that men are better at “faking it until they make it.”

Based on my experience in working with both female and male clients for more than 25 years, I believe that the difference in confidence between men and women lies in where they place their confidence.  Women tend to rely on their experiences for their confidence whereas men tend to draw confidence from their ability to learn and adapt.

Generalizations

Before we delve more deeply into this idea, I want to emphasize the danger of generalizations.  You and I both know men who won’t take on a task unless they’ve had experience performing that task.  We also know women who readily embrace any opportunity that comes their way.

While there are some natural tendencies that differ between genders, there are always exceptions to the rule that make the use of generalizations somewhat risky.  What doesn’t differ between the genders is the ability of the person to retrain their minds to overcome natural tendencies that get in their way.  Women and men alike possess this ability.

Experience vs. Adaptability

When presented with an opportunity, the question that women seem to ask themselves most often is “Do I have the experience to be successful?”  And even when they do have experience, they tend to discount the value of that experience.

Men, when faced with the same opportunity are likely to think “I didn’t have any experience doing ‘x,’ yet I was successful doing that.  I didn’t have experience with ‘y,’ but I was able to produce good results doing that, so why wouldn’t I be able to be successful in this endeavor?”

The difference between the two genders lies in where they place their confidence.  Women tend to place theirs in their experiences whereas men tend to place theirs in their ability to learn and adapt.  The implications are huge.

Implications

The first implication is that men are more progressive than women.  That’s not true, it’s just that women tend to be more deliberate in their decision-making process which is a great counter-balance to men’s tendency to decide quickly and suffer the consequences.  When blended, these two differing styles provide better and quicker results.

Another implication lies in the way men and women are evaluated for promotions.  In a 2011 McKinsey study, researchers found that men are judged on potential, women on performance.  That raises the proverbial chicken and egg question.  Are men and women judged differently because they are of different genders or because they express their confidence differently?  I can’t help but think it’s the latter.

If I’m correct in my observations and women tend to admit that they don’t have experience in a given area or discount the experience they have, they’re sending a message that is framed within the context of their past performance.

If, as I suggest, men are more inclined to point to situations in which they’ve been successful even though they possessed no prior experience, they’re sending a message that highlights their potential.

This difference in presentation could easily account for the results in the McKinsey study.  It’s not much of a stretch to see how that difference influences managers’ decisions.

As a manager considering a person for a job or an employee for promotion which would you prefer, someone with potential or someone with experience?  Someone who has demonstrated success in areas in which they had no prior experience or someone who needs prior experience to feel comfortable taking on new responsibilities?

Good news

The good news is that regardless of whether you’re a woman or man who feels that a lack of experience is holding you back in your career pursuits, you can retrain your mind to focus on your success in situations in which you had no prior experience.

It doesn’t matter whether that success was a personal development achievement, career success or business success.  The key is that whenever the doubt which inevitably accompanies a new opportunity arises, you’re able to quickly remind yourself of the successes you’ve enjoyed in situations in which you had no prior experience.

When you’re able to make this transition from experience-based thinking to confidence in your ability to learn, you’ll be judged on your potential rather than your experience.

Author: 

Dale Furtwengler is a coach, speaker, and internationally-acclaimed author who helps people lead a life of confidence.  He helps them free themselves of the fear, anxiety, and frustration that stand in the way of living their dreams.  You can find more of Dale’s tips, books and services at www.TheLifeOthersDesire.com.

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Neu Who?

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The “neu who” is a “neu” you! The “neu” in neuidentity represents using the power of neuroscience to reinvent yourself. No matter how old you are, your situation, or your circumstance, you can create a better life with the “power within.” Think of your brain as computer hardware and what it stores as the software. The software is your “operating system” for how you interpret and experience life.

You may not be aware that your brain is innocent and childlike; this applies to people of all ages. Your early software was built by parents, teachers, friends, religious authorities and life experiences. You had no trustworthy internal mechanism to judge the value and truth of what you took in; this process continues today from life and social media.

What’s stored in your brain and how you use it defines the life you experience. As you become more conscious of your beliefs and what you think about, you build the foundation to gain greater control of your life. Imagine no longer being a victim of unconscious programming that holds you back from that better life you so richly deserve.

This quick 3-step DIY exercise gets you started to be a neu and better you:

1. Pay attention to what you think about
Take 20 minutes after you get up in the morning and pay attention to your stream of thoughts. Pick a quiet and comfortable place to sit and write down your thoughts. Neither try to initiate, nor stop thinking; thoughts will come of their own accord. Pay attention to the way each thought makes you feel; then, record positive and negative symbols next to each thought. This exercise gives you a diagnostic view of what’s going on “under your hood.”

2. Use “high road” thinking to cancel out negative programming
Every thought with a negative feeling can be cancelled out with “high road” thinking and behaviors. As an example, you may experience fear about your financial situation. Make a list of your beliefs about your finances; they may include scarcity, competition, unworthiness, helplessness and victimhood. Reverse these beliefs with their positive counterparts; your neu thinking is now abundance, cooperation, worthiness, capable and captain-of-your-life. Even if you don’t believe this, “fake it until you make it.”

3. Use your brain strengths in a conscious manner
When you know your brain strengths you can leverage them to process incoming information, examine your beliefs and implement high road behaviors. Now your strengths are working for you instead of against you.

When you change your thinking, your behaviors automatically change; then, outer-world experiences automatically change. You can trust your brain to correct and change what’s holding you back from being the best you can be. The key is to keep thinking on the “high road” until your desired outcomes occur. Change your thinking, change your life.

Neuidentity.com, with its myriad of products, services and resources provides you with trusted practical neuroscience knowledge and tools to be a “neu you.” You can do it!

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