I've been thinking about the subject of confidence, and its close cousins cockiness and brashness, so its fitting that I came upon this Branding Blog post. This is an excellent post and I'm posting it on all my sites. What makes it even better is that Baltasar Gracian was a Jesuit. I'll add another quote from him here:
"Attempt easy tasks as if they were difficult, and difficult as if they
were easy; in the one case that confidence may not fall asleep, in the
other that it may not be dismayed."
While I've often been noted for my confidence, I've just as often been called overconfident and cocky, but I never thought those descriptions were particularly fitting. I think people have a tough time discerning between people who think they are great and people who earnestly desire to accomplish great things. In all honesty, I don't believe that anyone can be great, existing in a state of greatness. We are nothing save for the aggregate sums of our actions. Many people have contributed greatness in their deeds, on many different scales. At the end of the day, we are all just people. None of us is any better than the next guy (or girl). That is why my blog is called "This is going to be big." Its not "Charlie is going to be big." That's a major distinction as far as I'm concerned. While I may often promote the things I'm involved with, I never actually promote myself, and I don't plan on starting to either. Its interesting how that line seems to get blurred sometimes. It seems difficult for others to seperate the two when it comes to my activities, because I am indeed so passionate about them. Perhaps there is something in my style that seems to elevate my persona over and above the activity or the content, but its by no means intentional. In fact, I try to avoid it. I've never liked being in the spotlight and would much rather have my accomplishments get into the spotlight turning myself into a small byline.
The other aspect of this is that my blog is not entitled, "This is going to be bigger than you." I am a vervent believer in the potential in every one of us to succeed on our own terms and positively affect the world around us, and in no way do I see life as a winner take all game. It should be win-win all the way around, and just because I'd like my accomplishments to be great, doesn't mean that yours can't be as well, or that I don't want to see you succeed. Everyone out there should make "This is going to be big" the tagline of their life. I don't have a patent or copyright on it, and by no means do I want to live in a world where people don't believe themselves capabile of big things. (And, for the record, by big things, I mean what is "big" to you... not big as defined by monetary gain.)
But, to be fair, the blog is definately named "This is going to be BIG", which is a rather unapologetic tagline. Why do I brand my contributions this way? Its because of what I believe about how goals translate into accomplishments. I don't believe success is accidental, and I certainly don't believe that people with small goals stumble into larger accomplishments. I'm sure it probably happens once in a while, but for the most part, I think you never quite get where you want to be, so you need to try and overshoot. This is me overshooting, and I'm also the one that needs to deal with the "disappointment" which equates to the distance between what I was shooting for and where I wound up. Of course, I need to keep in mind that usually, where I wind up is a pretty good distance from where I started from in the first place--underscoring the need to put everything in perspective as you set and reach goals. So I toss my hat in the ring, starting out with huge visions and winding up with reasonable deeds.
Take my Success Blogging site, for example. I definately want to be to career blogging to what Steve Rubel is to the blog marketing world. I want someone to "discover" me and ask me to write a book. I want my Learning Annex class to be packed... maybe 100 people will show up. Its all going to be very BIG.
But you know what will probably happen? I'll make a handful of good contacts... we'll probably have about 15-20 in the class and maybe I'll speak on an occasional panel now and then. No book. No 1000 people on my Feedburner.
And, in all honesty, that's just fine with me, because I'm 25, and I've only been blogging about a year. I've only been talking about career blogging for a few months and I already have three speaking engagements. That's pretty darn good and I'm very pleased with that, and had I not aimed higher, I wouldn't have had what I got.
Why do I want the opportunity? Its not to promote myself. Its because I want to contribute and I believe I can. I believe I have great accomplishments in me waiting to get out. I feel the same way at work. I want Brad and Fred to look back and what I've done and think that it helped make the firm better--something really special. Isn't that the way we should all be approaching our efforts?
I'm not special. In fact, I probably have no more great accomplishments in me than anyone else. I just don't want to waste mine and look back and wish I had done more. You shouldn't either.