How To Feel Confident When You Feel Like A Phony

I never felt more fake.

My earliest memories of working in sales were more of a nightmare than a daydream.

I was sitting in my car trying to psyche myself up for a cold call in this dump of town we’ll call Mullberry. Before me was a nice, welcoming “no solicitation” sign and a guy who had a face so sour, it could make a lemon look sweet.

He was eyeing me down with apprehension, like how you watch your neighbor’s dog after it drops a nice juicy shit on your front lawn.

And there I sat, sweating, wondering how in the Hell I was supposed to cold call him. I was scared out of my mind.

My manager gave me the vanilla-ass-advice “just be confident”, but how can you be confident when you feel anything but?

I stepped out of my car and gingerly approached the door like I was feeling for a landmine with each step. And when I reached the door, I exploded.

That man gave a tongue-lashing so bad, he probably should start a second career in OnlyFans.

But in the pain and embarrassment of being epically rejected, I learned the most important lesson that still serves me to this day.

How to be confident.

Confidence isn’t what you think it is

When most people think about the concept of confidence, they think about Hollywood. They think about a James Bond type who always knows the magic words to melt hearts and mine gold.

But here’s the thing. Most things you see on TV aren’t real — it’s made up, including how you think of confidence. Of course, James Bond knows what to say; someone wrote his lines. In reality, real confidence isn’t what you think it is. Real confidence is having the assurance you can do something.

This means having confidence is more situational and less absolute. I have confidence I can tie my shoes, but I don’t have the confidence I can go to a foreign country and become a dopey tour guide. I have confidence I can start a computer, but I don’t have the confidence I can disassemble an army-issued rifle. My 84-year-old, veteran father is the exact opposite.

The truth is you already have confidence in certain aspects, whether it’s playing a game, the best way to get around town, or even something as simple as making a dynamite dinner that’ll make your husband purr — whatever the Hell that means.

So the real question becomes what do you want to be confident about?

You need direction

The way to obtaining confidence in any situation is to first define an outcome. After all, if we don’t know where we’re going, how in the Hell are we supposed to get there? So what do you want to be confident in?

Is it confidence in introducing yourself to strangers? Confidence to ask for a raise? Or even the confidence to do a cold call and not get frozen by a cold shoulder. Without direction, we have no goal.

Start your search

Now that you have a goal, you have an advantage that makes college deans tremble in their $40,000-tuition-bought-boots. Your phone.

In a matter of seconds, you can learn from the absolute best in any field as quickly as you can say Youtube. And this my friends, is the building block of confidence — understanding.

If you want to start feeling more confident and less like a phony, you’ll feel more confident once you understand at some level what you’re trying to do.

Afterall, we feel unconfident when we feel unprepared. Therefore, the easiest way to begin getting some momentum is to understand what you’re trying to do. It breeds familiarity and familiarity breeds’ comfort. Comfort in a situation breeds confidence.

The secret

Ahh secrets, who doesn’t love a good secret?

The secret to gaining confidence in any situation isn’t to stand in front of a mirror and scream I’m the greatest like a psychopath. (I know this from experience.)

The secret is to get out in the streets and start to practice. You need reps in order to learn a skill and gain confidence in it. Competence is how you create confidence. Competence is how you don’t feel like a phony.

In my sales world, while I did get rejected more times than an author trying to publish a novel — eventually it kind of stopped. I got good and confident in my cold call ability after doing it about 4,000 times.

Hell, if you do anything 4,000 times, you’re probably going to gain some confidence in it.

And whatever your goal is, the path is no different. You need to earn your stripes in order to feel confident and less like a phony. Because it’s impossible to feel like a phony if you’re the real deal.

Remember, you’re human — don’t fall for Hollywood’s tricks

In life we have this idea that confidence is without doubt. But we’re human; there’s always going to be a little nugget of doubt, just like there’s always going to be a hair that won’t stand up straight. Like I said, we’re human and that’s ok.

Doing something anyway even when you’re slightly apprehensive, is a part of the confidence package. Remember, real confidence doesn’t look like the James Bond type. Real confidence looks like you in the mirror.

So get out in the world, and practice the skill you want to become confident in. Because as sure as the sun rises, the more you do anything, the more confident you’ll become in your skills.

Please like,comment, share and tell me what you think!

66 thoughts on “How To Feel Confident When You Feel Like A Phony

  1. Great post! I remember my first sales job too. Sales sure does build confidence. Your message was a powerful reminder that to overcome any fear, we just need to do it, then confidence is ours.

      1. I had my frustrations and fears too. Luckily, I had a funny Italian manager who told me, I don’t care how many hours you work. Think smart. It takes just as much time/effort to sell a small advertiser as it does a large advertiser. With the big advertiser, they understand advertising, it will take longer, but they have a budget and they will buy more frequency. The other thing that was key, is someone in my office said when I was feeling down one day, “HEY… ONE more NO, brings us CLOSER to a YES.” You’ve got to rack in those NOs. Which really meant, if you make one call, no results, if you make 50 calls, you increase your chances of the sale, So, I looked at it as a numbers game. Also, it become easy when someone said, “Not interested,” to KNOW it wasn’t me, they just didn’t want to spend money. So, I had to either work them in a more clever way or move on to the next one. I do think there is a certain aggressive personality that is good at sales. They don’t care about the customer, they just want the sale. The customer is a $$ sign. All young kids in High School should be taught sales. Helps them overcome LOTS of fears even how they look, etc. Dress like your customer. LOL Have you watched Selling Orange County real estate show on Netflix. I’m amazed at how these women dress. Still, it’s amusing to see them in the office. Sales “is” competitive, that makes it hard.

      2. Yeah it’s like doing sales dressed as a supermodel – wild! And that’s good advice he gave you. I know for me, I learned you gotta just roll with the punches – mentally I treated it like trick or treating

  2. Great post! That phrase “fake it until you make it” doesn’t include the appearance of confidence factor that you so nicely cover here. Reps. It’s all about the reps. Thank you for the insight!

  3. The thing that kept me going in my sales career was a) selling something that I believed in, and b) believing that my product or service would truly be of benefit to the buyer. Without those two beliefs, I’d have caved after the first ‘no’. My sales career was an exercise in personal growth, overcoming, listening, frustration and joy. And sore feet.

    1. Haha , sore feet😂😂. Well, as someone who was also working in sales and marketing, I agree a Salesperson travels a lot and for me as a young man with no car yet I better get used to walking👍

  4. What a refreshingly honest take on confidence! 🙌 Your story of facing rejection in sales and finding true confidence through practice and competence is relatable and inspiring. We often forget that confidence is not about being without doubt but about taking action despite it. Real confidence is indeed a journey that we can all embark on, one step at a time. Thanks for sharing your valuable insights! 👏

  5. Confidence is indeed assurance of what one can do, the dream of becoming something and scaring the college professors is true too. Confidence looks like the one in the mirror… Sir, there are so many beautiful lines describing the wonderful meaning of confidence and I’m so glad that I read this amazing blog of yours, it was much needed… Thankyou 🌻:)

  6. Incredible article Anthony man, I really enjoyed reading it and that contributes to the fact that your headline is captivating and eye catching.

    Also, I always love your sense of humor like the part where you described that man’s face as being sour which you can use to make lemonade, haha, that means the man doesn’t like to smile at all, he probably frowns too much, he will age very quickly😂😂

    Lastly, I agree that confidence , the real one is not one we copy from Hollywood as if we are actors but real confidence is having the assurance that you can do something and focus needs to be on the outcome!

  7. Excellent. Loved it. Loved this line even more – “a guy who had a face so sour, it could make a lemon look sweet.”

  8. I find that imposter syndrome is quite rampant among my generation however this article is a good reminder to stay the course and the confidence will build with each victory that we accomplish.

  9. I’ve always admired confidence in others, but like you said it’s all tell and show. I’m more confident now because I put on a mask, step in front of an audience and smile. Once you know what you are going to say everything will be okay.

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