It’s not what you might think.
A couple years ago I attended my company’s sales conference. The setting was beautiful, it was at a game farm and the magic of the bush was captivating. Our managing director liked to play a game that involved each person being told by each other team member what three attitude improvements they should make, which would improve the overall performance of the team.
I was the last person to hear my three suggestions. One of the comments I received is that I’m arrogant but then someone else jumped up and said ‘She’s just confident.’ And they continued to argue whether I was arrogant or confident as I watched curiously. What is the difference? The truth is I didn’t really care if I was perceived as confident or arrogant. Those labels mean different things to different people and it’s none of my business what other people think of me (caveat* below). I was secure in the results which I was delivering for my company. That was enough. And let’s be honest, most good sales people will at one point or another be called arrogant.
One important distinction to note is that you have to be able to back up your confidence/arrogance with measurable, proven results. Otherwise, you’re just smoke and mirrors and that’s worse than being arrogant.
Over time, I put less and less emphasis on being confident as a key personality trait.
As I gained clarity on what I really wanted out of life, business and how I really want to serve people, I realised that the most important “type” of confidence is to go confidently in the direction of your dreams, your best life, and your best business.
If you have that kind of confidence then it doesn’t matter what labels other people project onto you.*
It’s not easy to go confidently in the direction of our dreams. I know this from personal experience. The reason it’s so difficult is because many of us don’t know what our dreams are in the first place. There are so many options and opinions out there that it’s often a struggle to gain clarity, yet alone confidence.
Having had no clarity for a very long, frustrating time, I started to nurture the confidence within me that everything is as it’s supposed to be. Even the seemingly murkiness of my dreams and all the infuriating intricacies of life and business were as they were meant to be. I feel that that’s the second most important confidence to have. I don’t always have this unwavering confidence, of course, it’s difficult to believe this all the time! But the more I believe this, the more conviction I have and the more confident I feel.
Here’s the caveat* about the confidence and arrogance labels. It’s one thing not to care about other people’s perceptions of you. However when you’re trying to connect with someone and they perceive you as arrogant, then building that connection is more difficult than if you’re perceived as humble and relatable. Does that make sense? So depending on who you’re talking to and what you’re wanting to achieve, it’s necessary to keep this in mind.
To conclude the story of our afternoon spent in the heat of the sun in the bush, you might be wondering whether I did adjust my level of confidence or arrogance. I can’t be sure, but probably not. But it did make me delve deep beyond the label and find out what confidence means for me.
Here’re a couple questions to spark a conversation. Please leave your comments below.
What does confidence mean to you?
Have you ever been called arrogant? And how did you respond?