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The F word is not always bad. Confidence Series [Part 3]

Confidence Series

Welcome to Part 3 of the Confidence Series. #ConfidenceSeries

My dad had a concern while I was growing up that I wouldn’t be able to speak good English. Why? He believed I spoke Yoruba a lot whenever he was around. I actually believed his fears were unfounded. Travelling to the UK made me remember his words. 

Confidence took a hit

I remembered one evening while studying at the University of Birmingham. I was enthusiastically describing one of my favourite movies at the time to my room mates. First, I couldn’t remember the title, so I described multiple scenes. Everyone was blank. Eventually I remembered the title, breathed a sigh of relief as I mentioned the title. Everyone still looked blank and more confused. 

I repeated the title multiple times and couldn’t believe they hadn’t seen the movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. After more attempts, I was asked to spell it. 


They all chorused the movie and I realised I’d been pronouncing it wrong. 

Please don’t ask me what I said 😜

If you are wondering, here’s the correct pronunciation[PRED] + [UH] + [TUH] 

What I said sounded more like [PRI] + [DEI] + [TOR] 

I was embarrassed, but I remembered my decision in Part 1. So I told them thank you. I will make more mistakes like this, please correct me every single time. 

One of my goals is to be a confident public speaker, so I have to keep speaking. 

I definitely improved but learning is continuous. A few years later, I was teaching Mathematics at Chafford Hundred Campus, a Business & Enterprise Secondary School in Essex. After 45 minutes of teaching probability to a Year 9 class, I noticed they all looked confused. I paused the lesson and asked multiple probing questions. Eventually, I uncovered the problem. The way I was pronouncing ‘bias’ got this talented class totally confused. I asked the students to teach me how to say it. We made it fun and the lesson continued. 

Today, I am still learning.

In this #ConfidenceSeries, there are three tips I am sharing to help you become more confident. 

1 – Build Competence – Read more here 

2 – Do it afraid – Read more here

3 – Keep reading below. 

Tip 2, ‘Do it afraid’ is about overcoming inertia. It is summoning all the strength and courage you have in order to step out, even if you are afraid. It is powerful, liberating and shows you can do it. 

The problem is if you get knocked back, laughed at, and embarrassed yourself. It could be devastating, at the same time knocking your confidence even harder than if you never tried. That’s why you should already be prepared to:

TIP 3 – Do it again. 

Here’s an excerpt from Reclaim Your Creative Confidence, a Harvard Business Review article. 

“Most of us accept that when we are learning, say, to ski, others will see us fall down until practice pays off. But we can’t risk our business-world ego in the same way. As a result, we self-edit, killing potentially creative ideas because we’re afraid our bosses or peers will see us fail. We stick to “safe” solutions or suggestions. We hang back, allowing others to take risks. But you can’t be creative if you are constantly censoring yourself.

Half the battle is to resist judging yourself. If you can listen to your own intuition and embrace more of your ideas (good and bad), you’re already partway to overcoming this fear. So take baby steps…

The ‘F’ word

The ‘F’ word – ‘Failure’ isn’t always bad. It depends on when you say it.

Saying you failed after every first attempt will continually knock your confidence. Most things are not successful at the first attempt. It isn’t failure, it is part of the learning process and journey towards success. You need to take multiple steps, even baby steps. 

It is not enough to Build Competence and Do it afraid, you need to Do it again and again in order to build your confidence.

Here are my complete tips. 

1 – Build Competence

2 – Do it Afraid

3 – Do it Again

I hope you’ve enjoyed and learned from this series. What other tips would you add to build confidence?

Be Generous & Share

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