I’ve been getting more attention than usual lately.  Upon reflection on this, one of the questions I’ve honed in on is “Why?” Why are these people talking to me or about me? I think I’m doing a pretty good job of being a good citizen on social media, but I’m no celebrity.

After a ridiculously long amount of time peeling back layers in my mind I’ve traced everything back to one specific quality that I have: confidence. The kind of confidence that makes me unafraid to talk to anyone – even people I hero worship.

What makes me confident? I’m not entirely sure. I’m confident almost by accident. Though I do have things I tend to over think, talking to people isn’t one of them. And I don’t set out to be confident or comfortable in my own skin I just am. Maybe it’s because of life experiences (child rearing, a divorce, a remarriage, being a military spouse, founding an online community, working with Marines, etc). Maybe it’s just an age thing. At this point, how I got here is of little consequence to me. I’m here. What I do find significant is the actual importance of being confident. Confidence matters. It benefits me and I know for sure it does benefit others.

I submit the following for your consideration:

  • No one is BETTER than YOU.

That’s right.  There is always someone more accomplished at something, more popular, wealthier, funnier, better looking.  But that doesn’t make them better.  They’re not YOU. You have a unique combination of personality traits, education, life experience and values that no other human on the planet has.  Remember that when you’re on Twitter or at a cocktail party.

  • You can be humble and confident at the same time.

Humility is also of the utmost importance. Stay humble! But remember that you can compliment someone’s expertise, admit what you don’t know and simultaneously be confident in what you DO have. These things are not mutually exclusive.

  • Your comfort zone is an instrument.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t push your limits and grow.  But there’s something to be said for knowing who you are, what you are and what you’re good at.  Lean extra hard into that even if you’re branching out into new territory.  Your confidence thrives there and it’s that confidence that will help you succeed at scary new endeavors or recover from failures.  That comfort zone nourishes your resilience, without which, you’ll give up when you hit a wall.

  • The truth will set you free.

Tell the truth. If you’re actually being yourself and you’re saying things that you actually believe, you can’t lose.  No one is appealing to EVERYONE.  You’re wasting your time if you’re trying to make sure that everyone likes you.  Everyone does NOT like you.  Make your peace with that and you’ll be so liberated that you’ll be able to channel your energy into making progress toward your goals. Since everyone’s not going to like you, you have nothing to lose by being your honest self.  Free yourself from the effort of projecting a false persona or having to keep your story straight.

  • You might be in your own way.

“Get out of your own way” is one of my favorite expressions.  So many of my own problems are self-inflicted and I suspect this is true for you, too.  Another favorite phrase is “Don’t borrow trouble.”  I don’t know who coined either of these phrases so I apologize for the lack of attribution but the thoughts are brilliant. I’m a notorious “trouble borrower.” I worry about things that either haven’t happened or might not happen or maybe even are as unlikely as me winning the lottery.  What a big, fat waste of energy!  If you over think a tweet or a joke or an emoticon you’re really just getting in the way of whatever you were going to do next.  You’re allowing your armor to decay in the process.  Instead, try getting over yourself a little.  Your misspelled tweet (I think I’m the world champion of these) or tagging the wrong person … These are fleeting.  Let them go.

  • There’s nothing more valuable than quality people.

Value is subjective so you can insert “smart,” “funny,” “positive,” etc. for “quality” here.  But if you surround yourself with folks who inspire you, it will keep your gas tank full. There’s an added benefit here, too.  If you’re already coming from a place of confidence, those people will add to it.  They’ll be as interested in you as you are in them and before you know it, they’ll be supporting you.  Just like that!  And then all of this feeds itself and keeps your psyche in a state of readiness every day. You’re Teflon ®.

I’m thinking about all of this as it relates to my favorite social network, Twitter. If you’re interested in some real wisdom about how to crush hard in that space, you should read this post from Chris Barrows wherein he basically gives you all the high level guidance you need to get started with your personal branding there.

Then, I challenge you to get out there and help someone else with their confidence.  Give to get.  I could list 3 pages of incredible examples but if you want to study those who flat out NAIL the art of lifting others up, here are a just a few people to watch:

Teri Kojetin
Lorrie at Movy
Rachel Miller
Brian Fanzo
Vincenzo Landino
Matt Black
Bruno Winck
Shane Blackwell
Carolyn Portanova
Noah Addy

Do you have thoughts on confidence – like how to build it or why I’m totally off the mark here? I’d love to know what you think!