“Acting as if” is great career advice on building your self-confidence. People respond to what you do and how you behave. So, if you act and look self-confident, people will treat you as someone who is self-confident. If you act as if you expect to be accepted – at work, by a customer or client, by a group you want to join – you will be likely to be accepted. It’s all in how you carry and present yourself.
Self-confident people greet others with a firm handshake, look them in the eye, and smile. They offer their opinions confidently, and listen attentively to what others have to say.
Debra Benton is a friend of mine. Chapter two in her excellent book, Executive Charisma, is called “Expect and Give Acceptance to Maintain Esteem.” She says…
“As a human being walking this earth you have a right by birth to expect acceptance from everyone; and you have an obligation to give it to everyone. You can’t expect it for yourself and not give it to others… If you don’t expect acceptance, you won’t get any… Ignore thoughts such as ‘I got here by accident and I’ll be found out.’ ‘I’m dreading the day when someone is going to get me for that.’ ‘I’m close to being found out, so I’ll hide out where I am.’ Expecting acceptance is putting yourself on a par with any other member of the human species. Expecting acceptance is stubbornly and justifiably holding a belief of simple self-acceptance. No one is above you or below you. We are all at the same level.”
It’s difficult to expect acceptance when you have little or no confidence. On the other hand, it’s easy to expect acceptance when you are self-confident. This can become a positive or negative self-fulfilling prophecy. Self-confident people expect to be accepted. Therefore they are and their self-confidence grows. People who are not self-confident expect to not be accepted. Therefore, they aren’t and their self-confidence is diminished.
The key is to create your own positive self-fulfilling prophecy. Debra says…
“Initiate a conscious, deliberate, persistent attitude of expecting acceptance from other humans, regardless of whether they earn more money, carry a loftier title, or appear to have more power, experience, status and so on… Everyone knows people who can intimidate, overwhelm, rankle, derail or overly impress… These people don’t have power over you unless you give it to them.”
This means that you have to consciously work on building your self-confidence. No one is going to do it for you. Be optimistic. Face your fears and act. Surround yourself with positive people. Find a mentor and absorb his or her wisdom. Mentor others. Do all of these things, and you’ll be more self-confident, and able to expect acceptance. You’ll be creating your own positive self-fulfilling prophecy.
Here’s a personal story. Several years ago, I was working for a large company. I was in the training and development department and was scheduled to do a talk for sales people in one of our divisions. I wanted to make sure I did a good job. I called the Division President and VP of Sales to schedule information-gathering interviews.
I had great conversations with both of them – and their input helped me develop and conduct a dynamite program that was the highlight of the sales meeting. The Division President even sent a nice note to my boss, complimenting me on the job I did.
My boss came to me with the note and asked, “How did you get the guts to call the Division President to do that interview?” My response – “I couldn’t do a great talk if I didn’t know exactly what he wanted and needed.” Reflecting on this many years later, I realize that I expected acceptance. Of course, the Division President would be happy to speak with me. I was someone who could help him run a successful sales meeting. I created my own positive self-fulfilling prophecy.
Sometimes this takes guts. But I have found that the reward is worth the risk. Fear of rejection is one of the biggest human fears. But I have found that if you approach people confidently, openly and honestly, they are very likely to accept, not reject you. To do this, you have to conquer your fear of rejection. You have to do something – like initiate conversation. You have to demonstrate that you expect to be accepted. When you do this, you’ll find that your fear of rejection is just that…
F = False
E = Expectations
A = Appearing
R = Real
The common sense career success coach point here is simple. Successful people are self-confident. Self-confident people follow the career advice in Tweet 53 in Success Tweets. “Act as if you expect to be accepted and you will be. This will increase your confidence and help you make a strong personal impact.” As Debra Benton says, “Expecting acceptance is putting yourself on a par with any other member of the human species. Expecting acceptance is stubbornly and justifiably holding a belief of simple self-acceptance. No one is above you or below you. We are all at the same level.” This is great common sense career advice. Don’t put yourself above or below anyone. Accept others as they are. Expect that others will accept you.