How does self-confidence affect success business news heraldextra.com gas stoichiometry

Chinese fortune cookie, "Think highly of yourself because the world will take you at your own estimation." This week Val and Donna have been challenged to answer the following questions related to this fortune: How does self confidence affect success in business? Will the world really take us at our own estimation?

Donna: I’m not sure any real measure of success is possible without first having some confidence in oneself. A business owner or professional must have that balance of assurance in his/her own ability and an understanding of fallibility. Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, author of The Power of Positive Thinking, said, "Without a humble, but reasonable, confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful."

Imagine walking into a small cafe. You meet the owner, who looks at the floor and says, "Oh you don’t want to eat here. My food is not as good as Sharla’s next door." I personally might feel bad for the person and eat there. However, I would be equally as likely to walk back out and go to Sharla’s Place.

On the other hand, picture walking into a new small cafe and being greeted immediately by someone who invites you to a table, making eye contact and asking how your day has been so far. This owner says there is a family favorite on the menu today and he thinks you’re going to love it. Suddenly I think I’m going to love it too.

There is of course the third cafe owner, who is so confident he comes across as pompous and self absorbed. This cafe would not hold my interest for long either. The arrogant business owner can find success, don’t get me wrong. I personally prefer to deal with people who are confident enough to be interested in others and who know the benefits and limitations of their business. It is much easier to keep your commitments to customers if you know exactly what you can provide, believe in your product and know your capabilities.

Will the world take us at our own estimation? Ask Coca-cola. Are they the "Real One?" Is The World’s Best Chocolate really the best chocolate in the entire world? I don’t know, but they seem to think it is. Certainly at first glance or first impression level, we take people and products for what they appear to be. After that it is the responsibility of the person or business to keep us believing in them.

I just finished reading Larry H. Miller’s biography, "Driven." The impression I got from the book was that Larry The Person was somewhat insecure early in his career, mainly because of his upbringing. Larry The Businessman, however, had tremendous confidence in himself, even when others doubted his ability to succeed. He leveraged himself way beyond what he should have done to acquire his dealerships and the Jazz. But time and again he defied the odds and proved he had the Midas Touch.

One of the biggest obstacles standing in the way of success in life and in business is the paralysis of fear. Fear can weigh us down and hold us back like nothing else. Those with confidence in themselves have the ability to stare down fear and move ahead, despite its threatenings of imminent or eventual failure. I love Howard W. Hunter’s admonition: "Do not take counsel from your fears."

As Donna mentions, overconfidence in business can be just as detrimental as insufficient confidence. People who have all the answers and think they don’t need to listen to others are setting themselves up for a big fall. Humility is an important leadership characteristic, as Jim Collins points out in his epic book "Good to Great." In fact, Collins points out that humility is one of the keys demonstrated by nearly all Level 5 leaders.

As for the world taking us at our own estimation, I suppose there is some truth to that. Advertisers repeatedly try to associate the word "best" with products and companies. Those companies that truly believe they are the best and can convince their employees and customers to believe that assessment have a huge leg up on their competition.