In the business world, one of the best pieces of advice is to take yourself seriously. For those of you that are already established doing something that you love, you can probably skip this post. For those of you who are just starting out with something (anything), like I am, this is extremely important advice. That stupid saying “fake it until you make it” actually carries some weight, and is a good confidence builder for newbies.
Immediately upon graduating college I started working for a small Internet company as the sales coordinator/operations manager. I had very little previous job experience (a couple internships) and was 22. During the interview and my first few days of work I was confident and collected, acting like I was made for the position and had no chance of failure. Of course I made a couple mistakes in the beginning, but proceeding with confidence and taking myself and my job seriously really paid off. Not only was I rewarded for doing really well in that position, but after I year I was given the opportunity to do what I really love – write for the company. Now I’m the content manager and my opinions and suggestions are taken seriously by my bosses and co-workers. I doubt any of this would have happened if I was timid and unsure of myself. Even though I didn’t know EXACTLY what I was doing, acting the part until I DID know what I was doing was a key part of my success. Note: this isn’t to say that if you want to be a doctor, you should act like you are until you complete med school… everything is situational. This IS to say that confidence and taking who you are and what you are about seriously will pay off.
As a new blogger, I’ve made sure to (virtually) surround myself with people that seem like experts in the blogosphere, and continue to reach out and connect on a daily basis. By putting myself on an even playing field mentally from the start with people like Pat Flynn and Colin Wright, I’m making a value judgment on my blogging and writing. Instead of thinking “I’m new at this and my opinion and writing is nowhere on the radar,” I’m thinking “I’m a talented writer that has definite goals I will achieve, like Pat Flynn and Colin Wright.” Eventually, this will come true. “Faking it while I’m making it” keeps me in the mindset that what I’m doing is worthwhile, important, and will help me achieve my goals. A simultaneous benefit is that others will hopefully take me seriously as well.
It’s easy to be seen as an expert in something if you act like an expert in something. Most everyone that knows me knows about my passion for travel. This isn’t just a weird coincidence. I talk about travel, I write about travel, I suggest places for people to travel, I ask people about their travels, I take pictures when I travel and plaster them on Facebook, and I TRAVEL. Because I’ve made travel a huge part of my life, I’m considered a “travel expert” in my group of friends and acquaintances. Although I know there are many people with much more knowledge than I have, I gladly accept this title and go with it. I am a travel expert.
While you’re thinking about taking yourself seriously, also consider how important it is to take your dreams seriously. A lot of people won’t share their ACTUAL dreams because they think they are silly or not worth talking about because they won’t come true. This is all mental. If you take your dreams seriously, their chance of coming true increases by 67%. I made that figure up, but I’m sure it’s somewhere close to that. It’s important to talk about your dream or your dreams if you are serious about making them into reality. Make specific goals and plans and work towards them. Give your dreams room to grow, don’t stifle them and hide them. One of my dreams is to start a business. I have no idea what I want it to be yet or how I’ll get to that point, but that dream is out in the open. I tell people about it without fear, even though it might seem silly in its infant state. This is not only to let people know I’m serious about it, but also to reinforce in my OWN mind that I’m serious about it.
If you’re serious about yourself and your dreams, you also can’t be let down if things don’t go exactly as you thought they would. It’s like giving yourself your all. If you don’t take yourself and your dreams seriously, you’ll just be left wondering what would happen if you did.