Learn how to build self confidence quickly using these 10 top tips….
Nothing succeeds like success but until you have it, what can you do to optimize your prospects?
It turns out you can do a lot with how you answer that common, casual question, “Hey, how’s it going? What are you up to these days?”
You probably don’t rehearse your answer to it. You should, especially if you ever experience anxiety or doubt about your efforts, plans and prospects.
A careful answer affords you a rare opportunity to inject your spirits with high-grade confidence that will fuel your resolve for hours, if not days or longer. A careless or casual answer can empty your fuel tank. Here are ten tips for optimizing the opportunity the question affords you:
- Personal elevator speech: In business, an elevator speech is what you’d say about your venture to potential backers if you were stuck in the elevator with them for a few floors. It’s short and sweet, a mating call for their support. And like any mating call, not enough to seal the deal, just enough to get them intrigued. Your answer the question “how’s it going?” is something like a personal elevator speech, a report on your personal ventures whether they be raising kids, starting a dog-walking business, changing the world, searching for your next big caper, getting over a major fail, or building skyscrapers.
- Short is good: Rehearse what you’d say for succinctness. Most people don’t want a long answer.
- Intrigued is good: You’re not looking for a lot from the person who asked. You hope their faces don’t indicate that they think you’re crazy or a loser. It’s good if they showed mild interest. It’s great if they show interest enough to ask a follow-up question. Business elevator speeches and flirtations seek more than you seek in answering the question. The only deal you really need to seal is with yourself.
- Etch your groove a little deeper: The object of the game is to say what you need to hear. It’s only secondarily about their response, which you hope isn’t a sneer but is fine whatever it is. What you’re after are ways to reaffirm your focus, making the groove of your pursuits that much deeper than it was before they asked. Tailor and rehearse a response that enables you to walk away affirmed in what you’re doing.
- Their tact is your freedom: Most people will give you a pass on whatever you’re doing. Whether it’s out of charity, diplomacy or genuine respect, they won’t express doubts. And anyway, anyone likely to be critical of your choices is probably not someone you spend time with, or if you must, anyone you take very seriously. Trust most people to be at least mildly supportive of whatever you do. Lean into that and design your answer so that it persuades you, not them.
- Calmfidence: The more confident you sound about what you’re doing, the more you gain from the opportunity to say what you’re doing. Still, confidence can sound either like insistence (“Dammit, this IS what I’m doing so you best not mess with me!”) or like comfort in your own skin. Avoid the former; employ the latter. Rehearse and cultivate the calm confidence that makes your brief personal account roll easy off your tongue. Channel Ben Carson’s calm, though not his crazy-talk please.
- Toot subtly, if at all: To your ears, your horn-tooting may sound impressive. To their ears it may sound like a desperate attempt to impress. Name-dropping, self-assigned job-titling, (“I’m the CEO of my one-person company”) and all sorts of other stretchers can make you sound like a wannabe, or a legend in your own mind. Relax into what you are. Put a positive spin on it, but no hyper-spin or you’ll sound like you’re just spinning your wheels. Also, if you’re path is spiritual resist the temptation to toot and tout with romantic grandiosity, as though your life were some magnum epic. No “I’m breathing in mindfulfillingjoyogattunementalspiritualpsychicliberation every second of every moment of my life, hallelujah.” Again, relax or it sounds desperate.
- Anticipate their doubts but don’t address them directly: Think about your audience, but don’t try hard to please them. Instead, please yourself with your answer. Anticipate their doubts but don’t speak to them. Assume that they’re on your side or will at least act as though they are. Don’t say “I know you’re going to think what I’m doing is lame, but…” And keep your own doubts to yourself, at least in your first response to the question. Sure, if they ask how you feel about your path, maybe but only maybe give voice to your doubts. Know that expressing them can either feed them or release you from them. The truth doesn’t always make us free. If you express your doubts when asked, do even that with calmfidence. Everyone has doubts about their path, or at least everyone should.
- Seeking affirmation or critique?: Telling people how you’re doing points to two distinct objectives: their approval or their critique. Know the difference and tailor to whichever you want. Don’t leave them guessing which you want. If you want their critical feedback ask direct questions. If you want their support don’t hint at your doubts. You might get whichever one you don’t want anyway, a friend placating you (“I’m sure, it will all work out fine.”) when you really want feedback, or giving you feedback (“Hey you know what you should do?…”) when you really want affirmation. And know your motives. Don’t ask for feedback when you really just want affirmation.
- Tailoring your response is tailoring your life: If you’re pivoting to a new life plan, your answer to “how’s it going?” is your trim-tab, the little rudder that turns the big rudder that turns the big ship. If you use the question well, you can make any change you want to how you’re living. It’s amazing what you can get away with doing with your life if you only know how to cast it in gently positive light.