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The Confident Professional

One common element that distinguishes a fulfilling career from a run-of-the-mill work life is something that most people find rather vague and utterly baffling. It’s something that so many professionals wish to acquire yet only a few of them actually have.

It’s the thing called confidence.

A lot of people I know tend to avoid the topic of confidence. They’d rather not dwell on a subject matter so ambiguous and sensitive because they themselves have underlying doubts about their understanding of the idea.

The act of thinking about a confident professional often conjures up images of high-earning people in suits rubbing elbows with executives and people having direct influence to those around them.

While these mental conceptualizations are not entirely false, they are a highly flawed generalization of a confident professional. So what are the factors that constitute a competent employee?

Contrary to popular belief, a fulfilled worker does not necessarily have to earn a lot of money, have direct control over their company, nor are they required to have monumental achievements worthy of being featured on the evening news. A fulfilled worker simply has to take pride in what they do.

It sounds so incredibly simple, yet why is it so easy to lack?

A lack of confidence in one’s work can stem from a wide variety of reasons. After asking a few professional acquaintances about what makes them lose faith in their jobs, I received different answers.

One believed that lack of confidence comes from the inadequacy of technical know-how in their specific line of work. Another exclaimed that perhaps the deficiency roots back to the pivotal moment of choosing a career; that maybe the person decided to settle on a path out of necessity rather than personal interest.

However, there is one major thing that can do serious damage on one’s self-esteem…

Handling the “Big R”

The most prevalent source of disillusionment is rejection. The fear of spending vast amounts of time and effort only to watch it be brushed off by a higher-up can be jarring for most — if not all — of us. So what do we do? We give in. We surrender to the system without question.

Our over-reliance to established institutions and under-assurance in our own conviction can hold us back from being highly proficient virtuosos in our fields. The confident are, above all, aware of how flawed the system can be. They know that the path to fulfillment requires them to perform what I would like to call “calculated rule breaking.” They welcome authority but they always maintain some form of skepticism towards those in charge.

Whenever a confident professional gets rejected, they don’t take it personally but they never fail to ask for valuable input from their superiors. Only then will they decide whether the problem stems from their own proposal, or whether the issue is caused by the innate flaws of the system itself.

No one is invulnerable to foolishness

The ability to accept and even adore one’s own imperfections is an unlikely yet highly effective source of courage. To be confident means to have the audacity to put oneself under risky situations in hopes of achieving personal satisfaction. Invariably, this exposes you to potentially embarrassing situations, but that’s okay!

The confident worker knows that nobody is immune to foolishness, not even the affluent and haughty chief executive. They believe that by nature, all of humanity are nitwits, reckless, and absurd — including themselves. It doesn’t matter if they mess up a speech, accidentally email a wrong document, or make fun of themselves during a business dinner.

In the end, the confident professional wholeheartedly believes that the path to a fulfilling career will unavoidably be scattered with rejections, failures, and embarrassing situations — and they wouldn’t have it any other way.