Finally, the anxiously awaited day has arrived! It’s the big interview that was so hard to land. This could be the ultimate dream job! The position, the title, the salary, the company, the hours, they’re all perfect! What should my approach be?
Scenario #1: Nervousness robs me of my sleep the night before. I’ve rehearsed possible responses to questions that may be asked. I’ve researched the company so I know what their day to day business is about. I’ve even checked out the statistical data, their financial position, and their marketing strategy. I’m so ready for this interview, yet my palms are damp, my deodorant may be failing and I’m even a bit shaky. Though I meet the qualifications, I’m prepared; I still question whether I’m good enough. Am I confident?
Scenario #2: I wake up and feel like I’m queen of the hill. I’m on top of my game and my game face is on. I know I can ace this. Everyone likes me. There is no one better qualified for this position. My prep for the interview is all about me. I pump my mind full of every positive affirmation I can think of. I’m dressed to the nines and immaculately groomed. Am I confident?
Have you found yourself in each of these scenarios before? I think we’ve all felt these things at some point. In these two scenarios, we can identify confidence, pride, arrogance and insecurity. The negative aspects of these characteristics have become huge “pet peeves” of mine. While I like to think I am tolerant of other people’s flaws, non-judgmental, accepting and a really kind person, I find myself feeling rather intolerant and judgmental when I scrape up against a prideful, arrogant person. Prideful arrogance is a characteristic that ruffles my feathers to the point that it’s worth the risk of exposing more lack in myself, to talk about it here. It ruffles my feathers because it hurts people. And I know it hurts people, because it’s hurt me.
So, just what are we talking about here? I looked to the dictionary for the interpretation.
Confidence: 1. the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; 2. firm trust: “we had every confidence in the staff”. 3. The state of feeling certain about the truth of something. Synonyms: trust, faith, reliance, belief, credit, credence
Pride: 1. a high or inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc. 2. The state or feeling of being proud. 3. a becoming or dignified sense of what is due to oneself or one’s position or character; self-respect; self-esteem. 4. Pleasure or satisfaction taken in something done by or belonging to oneself or believed to reflect credit upon oneself. 5. Something that causes a person or persons to be proud
Insecurity: a feeling of apprehensiveness and uncertainty, lack of assurance or stability
Arrogance: an attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or in presumptuous claims or assumptions
I’m not proposing that everything about these subjects is negative, as you can see in their definitions. What I want to propose is that we be willing to take a look at ourselves and identify that which is in us that is negative and hurtful to others. The truth is others see it before we do.
What’s the difference here? There are attitudes that we adopt. Some, we purposefully choose to put on and others we unknowingly adopt. Maybe we picked up on a trait in someone else and there was a certain appeal about it or maybe we adopted an attitude because of unspoken, but strongly expressed societal pressures to conform to an image. There are also attitudes that are just us. They are a part of our character and nature and they come from within. These attitudes are formed by beliefs or perceptions that we believe to be true. Whether they are true or not is irrelevant here. What is relevant is how we come across to others.
Our culture and the corporate world would encourage us to speak in positives, to appear to be a strong, vibrant and happy person. To do anything less would expose our weakness and make us somehow unfit, a lesser person. But, is this thinking causing a generation of phony, arrogant people to be the ones who are running and managing our lives eight to ten hours a day, five days a week? It actually scares me to ask that question, because I’m inclined to believe that the answer is yes. I’m not excited to live and work in that kind of world.
I don’t know of anyone who is naturally confident and secure. Confidence has to be built into a person. Some people will try to make themselves fit the bill on their own. They try to “put on” confidence and security by changing their actions to what’s accepted and expected of them. It’s not real. True confidence is perverted resulting in arrogance.
Arrogance is “all about me” thinking. It will trample the weak and tear apart good people, piece by piece. There will be no remorse, because there was never any concern or regard for any other person. As an arrogant attitude brings success and satisfaction to a person, it’s fed and grows and before you know it, a monster has been created. The monster knows little about good leadership and how to properly manage people. The monster becomes a dictator and those he or she encounters on the journey, will have to become monster like, as well, or they risk becoming, yet another among those crushed along the monsters path.
Confidence is something that is internal. It’s like true beauty that comes from within rather than put on with make up. It’s built in to us by loving, encouraging and nurturing people that take the time to validate us, our true qualities and gifts. It’s built into us through knowledge that we gain in education, in job training or mentoring. It’s built into us by truly “earned” successes and even failures. Life happens and if we allow, we can be built up by it. For a wounded soul, it can take what seems to be an endless stream of affirmation and validation before that person can start to believe in their value and walk in the ability that is in them. It takes someone confident who cares enough to take the time to invest in other people to draw out what was there all along. An arrogant person will miss this opportunity.
As you can see, the recipe for confidence isn’t one that is quick and easy. It can’t happen overnight and it can’t happen to the one who is isolated, a king in a kingdom of one. As you’ve heard it said, it takes a community to raise a child, so it takes a community to build true and beautiful confidence in a person.
So, back to the job interview; which person are we coming across as, the confident or the arrogant one? Even if the job is not for you or the applicant is not a fit for your position, regardless of the side of the table you’re sitting on, an opportunity sits before you to make a difference! An arrogant person will miss out. A confident person will see it.