There’s a difference between being confident and being cocky. Women are under such a microscope in this industry. Sometimes I feel like we are always walking on eggshells. But this is one thing I don’t walk on eggshells about.
I’m damn good at my job. You’re probably thinking, “wow, she’s cocky.” No, I’m confident. I’m not the best writer. I’m not the best with designing graphics. I’m not the best at public speaking. I don’t know all the ins and outs of using statistics software and my local media people don’t even reply to my deadlines about credential requests. But I’m damn good at what I do.
When I submit a football flip card, I know it’s not going to be perfect. Heck, the highest “grade” I’ve gotten all year has been a B-. But you better believe every time I click ‘send’ on my submission, I’m confident that it will be an A. (My boss ‘grades’ me on my flip cards. It’s a joke but he uses it as a scale to show my improvement game-to-game.)
I make mistakes and I’m FAR from perfect. So how can I be so confident? I know that I put 100% of my effort into everything I do. I don’t half-ass anything. I over-commit, yes, but I go all-in on everything.
Here’s a few tips that help me keep a level head and a small ego, two things that will help any female, or male for that matter, flourish in this industry.
One of my favorite quotes is “stay humble, stay hungry” and I try to live by that every day. I thrive on compliments. Who doesn’t? You’re totally lying if you say you don’t. But I don’t brag about the compliments I receive, or at least I try not to. Accept setbacks and don’t point the finger when you mess up.
Say thank you.
I wouldn’t be successful if it wasn’t for the people around me. That goes from my boss right down to my operations guys that help me set up for events. (Shout out to Kellen for always meeting my last minute requests.) Thank those people in your life that you wouldn’t survive without.
Self-promote but don’t be self-obsessed.
Another way I remain confident and not cocky is knowing how to promote my successes. There’s a difference between saying, “so thankful for the opportunity to speak on campus today” and saying, “today I spoke on campus because everyone knows I am a great public speaker”. Don’t be “that girl” or even “that guy”. Everyone will think you’re a jerk. This goes for publically and privately when you’re talking one-on-one with someone. A big way to self-promote is to help others without expecting anything in return. People will always remember what you do for them. Show your passion and be energetic about it, as well. Never stop learning and never stop growing; There is always something new to learn, and always exceed people’s expectations of you.
Learn how to take a compliment.
This is something I am soooo bad at. I get so uncomfortable when someone compliments me that I have actually done extensive reading on training myself how to take compliments. Always express your gratitude to them. Say ‘thank you’ and move on. If you feel you should say more, share the credit. But always make sure to avoid a complement battle. Those get awkward.
Accept constructive criticism.
This might be the hardest for most people. No one likes being told that they’re not good at something and then being told by that same person a better way to do it. You wouldn’t be receiving constructive criticism if you didn’t have areas to improve. My biggest piece of advice here is to stop your initial reaction, which often can be over-emotional. Remember that you will only benefit from the things you are being told and it will make you better. Ask follow up questions and always remember to say ‘thank you’.
There’s only one of you for a reason. If you’re original and true to yourself, no one will question you and your intentions.