Tools and Time

One of the things that most bothers me when I mentor or coach people, is when they say: ‘I’m not confident — never have been, never will be.’ It’s like they think they lack some ‘gene’ for confidence. It bothers me because if you don’t believe confidence is possible. You give up — or you try too hard. You become invisible or try to show everyone how super-confident you are.

Neither strategy works.

What bothers me even more is when people sell ‘quick fixes’ for lack of confidence. You know the sort of thing: ‘LEARN THESE THREE TRICKS AND ACE ANY INTERVIEW’ or ‘FIVE FAILSAFE TECHNIQUES TO DOMINATE THE ROOM — EVERY TIME!’

People without confidence make an easy target for frauds without morals.

Quick fixes don’t work.

Faking does not work.

In fact nothing works, unless you are willing to put in the time to MAKE it work.

You know those adverts for kitchen knives? Apparently all you have to do is buy some shiny knives and you’ll dish up meals like the dude in the video!

I get lots of ‘art supplies’ adverts, because I draw and paint. Apparently if I buy a new type of sketch pad I’m going to be drawing like Leonardo da Vinci! Straight away! That’s what the advert says!

What the advert doesn’t say is that the person who drew that amazing sketch spent years learning how to draw amazing sketches. They dedicated the necessary time.

You want cook well? Spend time learning to cook.

I’m not saying that the right tools don’t help. In fact the right tools can make all the difference. If you put in years learning how to be a carpenter and then work with blunt chisels and unsharpened saws, your work is going to look shoddy.

The right tools help. But without the self-discipline to learn how to use your tools — to practice, and fail, and practice again, and improve — you will never be an expert. You’ll be a person with a great set of knives you use for slicing up your Domino’s pizza.

It’s the same with confidence. Learning some good tools is really important. You need to become present, authentic, self-accepting. That WILL make a difference.

The tools are the starting point of the journey. But the tools are not magic. To become really confident — to change so that you actually feel confident in any situation — means spending time learning how to use those tools.

Quick-fixes sound nice, but they don’t work. When the pressure is on, they’ll fail you. Your fake confidence will collapse and like the emperor in his ‘new suit of clothes’, you’ll be naked. EVERYONE will know it.

When I am working with someone who says they are not and never could be confident, I tell them it’s not true. They could be. Anyone can learn to be more confident — authentically confident.

They need the right tools.

More than that though, they need to look in the mirror and ask themselves whether they want it badly enough to learn how to use those tools.

Tools plus time.

Neither tools nor time on their own will get you where you need to be. Put them together, and you are unstoppable.

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