Overconfident --- a hard pill to swallow

Me: I really need to get some feedback on how I show up in the world

Them: Reliable

Me: Awesome

Them: Fun

Me: I hope so

Them: Helpful

Me: That's good

Them: Over confident - at times, appears to know more about something than she actually does

Me: WHAT? What do you mean over confident? When do I pretend to know more than I really do?  What do they know?

TIME PASSES (a whole day of mulling over this one comment in my mind)

Me: Let's stop and think about this. If someone sees me as overconfident, what could that mean?

It could mean that I am appearing more confident than ...

they think I should be?

or than they would be in the situation?

or than I really am?

or that I have a different picture of what confident looks like than they do?

I certainly reacted badly to that - why?

I asked for feedback on my attributes, my strengths and my weaknesses.

I understand that feedback can be difficult.

I know that others can have very different perceptions of those things than I do. 

I value other people's perceptions and should seek to understand more about where those perceptions come from.

At the end of the day, someone else's perception is data and I get to decide what to do with that data.

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This is a completely true story of what happened - yesterday!  I participated in a personal branding webinar 2 weeks ago, and as part of that webinar I was given 30 day access to a 360 feedback tool.  In my line of business, who I am is just as important as what I know or my experience - perhaps MORE important. I am not the right fit for every person in search of a coach - that's for sure. I am also not the right fit for every organization; sometimes the organizational culture and I just clash. I have come to accept that. Actually, I embrace it, because it helps me know who I should YES to and who I should say NO to.

There are a zillion and one coaches in the world, and I want my potential clients to know a bit about WHO I am so that I attract the right clients.  I have not given much thought to what my personal brand is until now, so I am going after it with determined focus. Part of the exercise was to come up with my own attributes, strengths and weaknesses - my self perception. That is necessary, BUT not sufficient. I may have real blinders on as far as how I show up in the world. That is why the picture below has meaning - I may see a lion when I look in the glass and the world sees a kitty cat. It isn't that being a kitty cat is bad and being a lion is good - it's just different. Once I know that someone views me differently than I view myself, I can do some exploring and try to understand their perception of me. What is it that I do or say (behavior) that says "kitty cat" to you?

After all of this 360 feedback is synthesized and presented to me in report format, I will draw some conclusions and take some action. That's great! However,  I know that the real value will come from the process of self-reflection I will have undergone - that is invaluable.  Thank YOU to all of you who have participated in my survey; I am learning from you.

I feel the need to share what I have learned about myself and over confidence...

  • I lacked confidence for many years of my life and it wasn't a good feeling - perhaps, I am making up for lost time
  • When I started to work with certain professionals (physicians, engineers, attorneys, executives), I had to appear confident or I would instantly lose credibility
  • I don't like to appear as if I don't know something (vanity), so at times I put up a front - nod my head as if I know what people mean, when I don't
  • I know that many people do this (after discussing with a few friends) - it just feels better to know I am not the only one
  • Confidence has a spectrum just like other qualities - friendly, shy, quiet, outgoing - the definition is in the mind of the perceiver - what one person thinks is just right, another person thinks is too much and yet another person thinks is too little.
  • At the end of the day, I need to understand the impact that appearing as overconfident can have on my relationship with other people. Does it make me unapproachable? does it make it difficult to trust me? does it intimidate people?  does it make people not want to listen to me or work with me? Those are the parts of this that I need to understand.
  • Feedback is still a difficult pill for me to swallow at times
  • I can become so focused on the feedback that is critical that I cannot see the feedback that is appreciative and positive - that isn't valuable
  • Lastly, I can take anything that happens in my life and turn it into a blog post ...and that is very cool

OOH, that last statement sounded pretty confident didn't it? (wink wink)