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I help seasoned professionals leave their ill-fitting work lives behind in order to find more aliveness, fulfillment, and ultimately, success that truly feels good. 



How to Exhibit the Right Amount of Confidence (Guest Post)

Kelly Studer

This article is written by one of my dear friends (and former colleagues) at salesforce.com - the one and only, Mike Hulse.  Based in Sydney, Australia, he is the head of recruiting for Asia Pacific and one of the best recruiters, leaders, and people I know.  I've always admired Mike's confidence and ability to make things happen in his career.  In fact, I often ask for his advice on how to exhibit such incredible confidence (just look at that pic (left) for what confidence looks like!).  So, I asked him if he'd be willing to share some of his sage wisdom with all of you and he said YES.  Thank you so much, Mike.  

I believe everyone should have a favorite quote from a famous person. My favorite quote is "Obstacles cannot crush me. Every obstacle yields to stern resolve". (Leonardo da Vinci, c. 1502).

I think you can tell a lot about a person by their favorite quote. What is yours? 

In addition to having favorite quotes, I think that everyone should have the opportunity to contribute an original quote or to coin a phrase. Maybe it will inspire or amuse someone else. Famous people don't have a monopoly on quotes.

My contribution is this: "Attitude = Everything." (Mike Hulse c. 2008)

I would never dream of comparing myself to da Vinci but I also have this written in big letters at my desk where I can see it when I look at my computer screen. It has helped me everyday since I put it there. The Capitals, the equals symbol and the period (it was called a full stop where I went to school) are as important to me as the words.

It occurred to me when I started writing this article that I could expand on this. My new contribution is this: "Attitude = Everything. Confidence is the cornerstone of attitude. Therefore Confidence = Almost Everything." (Mike Hulse, 2012).

I want to share a few more of my thoughts about confidence and attitude, and how they relate to the career enhancement process- be this job hunting, interviewing or impressing the people you currently work for (so when you ask them for a new challenge, they say “yes” immediately).

So how much confidence is too much?

A few years ago I was promoted to report directly to the COO of a billion dollar company. We had not spent a lot of time together previously, and in our first one on one meeting I projected immense and unwavering confidence that I was the next big thing. (Note- I do not recommend this approach and was fortunate to get away with it). I remember his words at the end of the meeting: “Your confidence is out of alignment with your competence”. I guess that was his contribution to the world of quotes!

I resolved there and then that I would work extremely hard to ensure my competence matched my confidence and I still have a copy of an email that I sent him that night thanking him in advance for his support to help me achieve this. Your confidence should match (or ideally slightly exceed, so you have impetus for growth) your competence. I recommend you honestly and objectively assess your competence in a particular area, and then project slightly more confidence.

How much confidence is not enough?

I once managed a person who I think is one of the most conscientious, loyal, honest and best recruiters I have come across in a decade. Despite evidence to the contrary, she sells herself short every day and feels that she isn't smart enough, ‘salesy enough’ or experienced enough to consider herself a top recruiter. Her confidence trails her competence and this limits her self belief and career progression.

How can you use confidence to influence your career?

You can influence how a recruiter rates and ranks your application for a job (e.g., if they file it under T for Trash), by being confident in the way you structure and tailor your resume, and by being referred to the recruiter by someone they trust (see one of Kelly's earlier blogs for the importance of this).

You can influence how interviewers see you by projecting confidence in the way you dress and groom yourself, your posture and body language, and by the way you answer their questions and the questions you ask them.

You can influence what happens to you in your current job by projecting confidence that you can and will exceed expectations, and by suggesting and executing new tasks and ideas that aren't currently done that would generate positive results.

In summary, I urge you to seek out (and create) positive, confidence boosting quotes that resonate with you. If your attitude is positive and underpinned by the right level of confidence, you can achieve almost anything, and certainly you can ace your next interview or presentation. 

Now, here's my question to you - what is your contribution to the world of inspirational quotes? Why not think about this today, post it here and I promise to share it with my friends, colleagues and people I meet every day. (Kelly says she’ll do this too!) You could genuinely change someone’s life, right here on Kelly's website. Isn't that truly awesome, the power that we all have to change someone's life (for good or for evil) by putting words together in a particular order? 

Lastly, I want to thank Kelly for asking me to write a blog for her site as I'm a big fan of hers. If you are reading this, then I guess you either know why this would be, or will soon find out why by becoming a client of hers.

Mike Hulse got into recruiting by accident and is so glad he did. He is currently Asia Pacific Director of Recruiting for salesforce.com, and has also been General Manager, Recruitment at Fujitsu. He started off English, became an Australian and lives in Sydney. He has occasionally been accused of being confident, which he doesn’t mind at all.