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Don’t Let Confidence Rob Your Success

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably been taught that your success as a professional is tied to confidence – both in yourself and in what you do. But is it?

Confidence money picAccording to this article from Fortune, “The correlation between career success and any measure of career confidence is .30 at most, which suggests that if we measured someone’s confidence to estimate how successful he may be, we would be only 15% more accurate than if we just guessed.”

Despite the large independent study this article cites, the WeGreenlight team believes that confidence is tied to and necessary for success. To reconcile with the data, “confidence” itself must be further explored. We’ve all seen two manifestations of it that are misleading

  1. Fake Confidence: pretending to have confidence when you actually don’t.

Someone with fake confidence is actually nervous, but they display a confident demeanor. It’s often seen in introverted types who need to assert themselves and their product or service to land a new client.

Fake confidence is not only okay; it’s potentially very beneficial. If you’re pursuing opportunities outside of your comfort zone, you’ve certainly had “Fake it ‘till you make it” as your motto more than once. And it works!

When fake confidence stands on a foundationally good idea, product, or service, it’s marvelous. With time, an individual’s fake confidence will grow a backbone and no longer be a fake front, but a part of their natural disposition.

    2. False Confidence: being firmly confident in something you shouldn’t be.

For years, scores of average people have been standing in line for countless hours, dying for a chance to star on American Idol – many of them with ample confidence.

Nine times out of ten, their confidence is shot down by reality (courtesy of Simon Cowell’s smoking gun).

Even though watching these auditions can be amusing, there is an important insight to take away. These individuals may have had confidence, but it was false confidence, which led to a rude awakening.

Their confidence was false because it was in a voice that was (sadly) far from American Idol caliber. Of course, some contestants with amazing voices had little confidence, and had to employ “fake” confidence (the beneficial kind) to appear self-assured.

So, how does this apply to us?

A new business owner, inventor, or entrepreneur has a lot riding on something that is doomed to fail anywhere from 80 to 90+ percent of the time (no sources seem to precisely agree).

This is how that eyebrow-raising statistic from Fortune rings true. There is a weak correlation between success and confidence because those aspiring individuals who are confident, yet unsuccessful (most), are suffering from false confidence. They are falsely confident in a product, service, or business model that will not succeed.

No one is immune.

How do we protect ourselves from all-too-common false confidence?

Unfortunately, copious research and unbiased analysis can still support false confidence (and sometimes negate good ideas, too).

That being said, strive to solidify your confidence in the marketability of your idea, using the direct feedback of your target audience. This can be done by pitching to a wide swath of viewers by means of crowdfunding, pitch competitions, or other online platforms.

When working with your target audience in a low-cost environment, it becomes much easier to safely receive constructive criticism, affirmation, and inspiration. You can also go back to the drawing board if need be – without your time, effort, and wallet wasting away.

Best of all, when it’s time to take that next step, you can do it with confidence that isn’t fake or false, but holistic and legitimate.

It’s been said that a simple bias to action is the most prevalent trait among successful businesspersons. So, yes; work with aggression and full dedication to your goals, but also take steps to avoid the pitfalls of false confidence.