Building Confidence Through Experience

Written by: Evan Lyszczyk

When I started my journey as a “young professional”, I quickly began to realize I knew much less about how the business world works than I initially thought. My college education was sound and from a fundamentals standpoint I could navigate through my responsibilities and ultimately get the job done. When faced with any complex in-the-moment decisions or obstacles I did my best to work through them. I would confidently take my best educated guess at the things I didn’t know and circle back to them with a more seasoned individual when time permitted. Essentially, I lived by the saying “fake it till you make it” and I was okay with that. I knew that naturally over time, these situations would become more routine and eventually I would be able to tackle these complex obstacles with more ease.

However, as time went on and I became more skilled, I still had this lingering feeling that I was still faking it, and that the solutions I provided were merely a whimsical guess. Even when I was right (and knew it) I was “just getting lucky”. I would get so nervous about potentially being wrong that I would spend an unnecessary amount of time proving to myself that I was right. Additionally, whenever I did not have an answer at a moment’s notice I felt as if this somehow meant I was unqualified for my position. After a while I began to realize how ridiculous this train-of-thought was and went to a mentor of mine to seek advice on how to deal with this. During this conversation he gave me three short phrases that have helped me overcome this mentality and ground myself in the understanding that I did in fact know what I was doing.

  1. No one is going to die
  • This one resonates with me the most because unless; you’re a surgeon or quite literally working in constant life or death situations, it can apply to almost everyone and every situation. Essentially, what it means is that whatever decision you make, no matter how big or small no one is going to die as a result of your decision. When I remind myself of this it always seems to marginalize the problem and I am able to work through to a solution with much greater ease and in an overall clearer state-of-mind.
  1. You’re here for a reason
  • When faced with difficult situations its important to remind yourself that you were put in this situation for a reason. Through past experiences you have proven that you are capable of making decisions and/or performing a certain task. So, when you find that you’re second guessing yourself, it helps to recollect on what got you here. Reaffirm yourself that you belong and are fully capable of coming up with a solution.
  1. It’s okay to say I don’t know
  • This is such a simple concept yet so many people (myself included) have a difficult time with accepting or admitting that they just simply do not have the answer. For some reason, we believe that because we are in a decision-making role we are expected to have all the answers at a moment’s notice. In reality, this is simply not true, no one in their right mind should have this expectation. In almost every instance when I admitted to not having the solution at-hand and affirming that I will take the time to find the correct answer it has worked out for the better.

We all get to a certain point in our careers in which we no longer have to “fake it” and are more than capable of relying on our experience and knowledge to navigate the trials and tribulations of the professional world. Yet, this transition can prove difficult at times, and it is always important to find a way to reassure oneself that we in fact have the necessary skills and acumen to be a successful player in the realm we work in.