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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Faking confidence...

I don't know if this will let the cat out of someone else's bag, or my own for that matter, but someone's gotta say it.


Most people have no idea what they're doing but live looking like they do.


It's true. Leaders make decisions and everyone else thinks they came to the conclusion they did because of some "insider info" that important people have a "backstage" pass to. Special access. While the leader's guts are rotting like a bruised apple at the bottom of a bushel basket, other people are largely living as if that person is decisively certain about every aspect of their decisions. It's just not true.


Most people are making stuff up on the fly. Even while they are in meetings with furrowed brows playing "make believe" with themselves about the future and its certainty, they are scared spitless of making a mistake or misstep. But here’s the thing, you can't let on like that's what you're feeling inside or everyone else will feel insecure, so you feign uber-security to keep the natives from getting restless.


I talk to lots and lots of people. Rich people and Poor people. Good looking people and average looking folk. I don't care who I'm with or how they are labeled within society, at the core, they are largely making, at best, an educated guess about the details of life. I've learned that we all feel "so in control" right up to the moment we're not. Once the bottom falls out due to unforeseen variables, we scramble around like beheaded chickens groping for a buoy. I will say it again; we are confidently assured right up to the very moment we're not. Period.

This must be known. It must be known by those who don’t think they know anything and those who think they know everything. I’m guessing even the most astute and poised leader knows less than 10% of any given thing at any given moment. (Even in that last sentence I’m guessing about guessing, I don’t know, maybe it’s less than 5%...hahaha.) The point is that life is largely about risk and trust.

What I’m learning separates people from other people in the leadership realm has less to do with knowing more or being smarter, it has to do with what we choose to fear. I’ve noticed that good leaders don’t fear failure or people. They don’t know everything, but they already know that. They’ve given up on that greyhound chase of the little mechanical rabbit. They, instead, choose to live with calculated risk. To get comfortable with discomfort. In the middle of the “unknown”, they “know” one thing, it’s not what you know in the first place, it’s who you know. And they know who holds everything together. They know him well, and that’s all they need to know.

So when you look around you today, don’t make the mistake I often make. Don’t think that the humans shuffling about you any less scared about the sketchy details of their own decision-making. Everyone is nursing a fear of not having enough facts and way too many feelings.

But this is just my best guess based on my own inconclusive data. See what I’m saying?

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