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On Confidence

2011 May 27
by Shannon Lowder

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You’ve really got to open this and savor it.

That’s seriously an application that was sent in to a colleague this week.  After working with most people in IT, It more common to help them build up their confidence.  Most of us in IT work quietly in the back rooms of the office.  We aren’t the ones who make a big show. 

We don’t shout our accomplishments to the entire company.  We’re all really lucky when we have a supervisor or manager who understands what we do and takes care of getting us better benefits and pay.

But that’s not usual.  In IT, you need to be able to build up your own reputation, both in your current job, and in a transition to a new job.  You’ve got to overcome your own sense of doubt and meekness, and learn to sell confidence in who you are, and what you bring to a team.

I’ve not always had that confidence.  It took many years of faking confidence before I actually started to feel like I knew what I was doing.  It took even longer before I could project that in my own career.

My best piece of advice to start projecting that confidence really is to start faking it.  Even if you don’t feel like others believe in you and what you do, fake it.  If you know how to use DMV’s to troubleshoot slowly performing queries, and you’re in a meeting where those people around you are simply scratching their heads at the problem.  Explain what DMV’s are and how they can help.

Believe in the technology, and be confident in what the technology can do.  You’re not selling yourself yet, but your selling the tech.  When they ask you to demonstrate, that’s when you’re going to have to sell yourself.  Use the confidence you felt for the tech.  Concentrate only on showing the tech.  Do that without showing any weakness or doubt, and it’ll show as confidence.

Act like that enough, and eventually you’ll start to feel that confidence in yourself.

But the guy in that cover letter. Wow.

He’s really got that confidence down, doesn’t he?

This is where I have to remind you all, there is a very thin line between confidence and over confidence.  If you sell something you can’t backup it’ll drop your credibility faster than you can blink. 

Just remember to work up your confidence slowly, and you’ll be a lot less likely to over shoot and end up sounding like the guy from our cover letter.

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