Sunday, January 19, 2014

In Confidence

Lately, I've been thinking about confidence. Partly because whomever curates the Elance Twitter feed seems to have the same theme running through their mind recently. Partly because it's simply a recurring theme in most articles and books about starting out in new fields. At my "day" job, however, I frequently come across a certain paradox about confidence.

For many people, someone with a lot of confidence inspires trust. They are speaking with someone providing (or wishing to provide) them a service and if their service provider is confident in their abilities and value, the customer will believe them.

Except when they don't. Perhaps this is getting confounded with power relationships (I have a very low-power role when dealing with my customers - "the customer is always right" reigns supreme in retail and there's no room for a Vancome Lady attitude!) Even when I am confident about an answer, I feel the need to hedge it and say things in the most wishy-washy "I believe" (instead of "I know") sort of way. Anything more confident is treated to a "well, check anyway!" anger-filled reaction.

There's a voice in my head that says to go with the confident response anyway, despite the anger that it will sometimes elicit. Practice makes permanent and I have successfully convinced myself that I am frequently uncertain and dis-confident about what I really do know. Perhaps the positive response I will get from a portion of my customers will be worth the intermittent nastiness.

Hmmm... I hear the winds of change. If there's rioting at a certain drug store in Juanita, you'll know who caused it ;).

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