Building Confidence

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What holds people back?

I had a great conversation today on Intrepid Radio with Todd Schnick about what holds people back in their careers and their pursuit of success.

This was a fun and interesting conversation. Have a listen here.

Break free of your job description

I talked about how people often don’t see the possibility to break outside the constraints of their job description.

So they get stuck just repeatedly doing what is asked of them, so they never create their breakthrough.

This, by the way, is why I wrote my book RISE — To help more people get the career they want.

In RISE, I talk about how you need to do more than your job description if you want to get ahead. I talk about why you need to, and specifically how to:

1. Work in a way that doesn’t use up all your time… so you can
2. Do the necessary, extra stuff above and around your job description

Does fear hold people back?

Then Todd asked me if fear also plays a role.

Absolutely. Many people are held back by a lack of self confidence. People talk to me about this every week.

Just because you feel afraid, doesn’t mean you are not good enough. Everyone gets scared.

I talked about how it’s OK to be scared and that you just need to DO it scared.

But that’s still scary!

But then Todd challenged me. “But Patty, that’s pretty scary advice — to just do it scared. How can you help people who are too scared to do it scared?”

DO Something

The reality is that only way to build self-confidence is to DO stuff.

You don’t build self-confidence just by preparing, or by learning about stuff, or thinking, or by waiting. You have to DO stuff.

And while that’s scary in the moment, the benefit is that you actually build self-confidence each time you do it.

When you DO something you get one of two outcomes:

1. You are successful. So you build self confidence. Each time you create success you build a little more confidence.

2. You fail or get embarrassed…But you don’t die. The act of “doing and not dying” also increases your self-confidence.

So, the bottom line: The only way to build self-confidence is by DOING.

The people who succeed are the ones who try stuff, and do stuff.

The people who get promotions are the ones who go for promotions and don’t wait to be discovered.

The people who get promotions are the ones that seek out and volunteer for experiences which will support their career aspirations. (See page 216 of RISE for ideas to learn about bigger jobs.)

They DO stuff.

They do more than their job description asks of them. And if they find it scary, they do it anyway.

Sometimes they succeed, sometimes they fail, but they always learn something. They build a bit more confidence each time, and they try again.

Listen to the whole conversation here.

More about dealing with being scared

If you missed these, I’ve recently written two other articles about working through being scared.

One was where I walked up to Clint Eastwood and Bill Murray at a dinner and said “Hi, I’m Patty”, just because it scared me. (I didn’t die.)

Another was an article called Do it Scared, which also links to a wonderful Ted Talk by Dr. Brene Brown about fear and shame.

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About Patty
Patty Azzarello is an executive, best-selling author, speaker and CEO/Business Advisor. She became the youngest general manager at HP at the age of 33, ran a billion dollar software business at 35 and became a CEO for the first time at 38 (all without turning into a self-centered, miserable jerk)

You can find Patty at, follow her on twitter or facebook, or read her book RISE…3 Practical Steps for Advancing Your Career, Standing Out as a Leader, AND Liking Your Life.


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You can find Patty at, follow her on twitter or Facebook, or read her books RISE and MOVE.

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