In 2008 I wrote my first book on LinkedIn. Within a year or two I was in Minneapolis speaking at a few job clubs. Minneapolis (the Twin Cities area, really) holds a special place in my heart. I have spoken there probably 25 times over a few trips and have been welcomed so warmly. Of course, it’s Minnesota, right?
So I go to Minneapolis for my first speaking tour and I was, well, of course, awesome. I had spoken in Texas and California and Washington and the D.C. area and Florida and other places, and going to Minneapolis for a few keynotes was pretty easy. I had polished my presentations, my stories, my timing… I was good.
Fast forward three years and I find myself in Minneapolis again. I’m reminded of the awesome people in the area who give so much to people in transition. Very good people with big hearts. They welcome me back and I make a similar tour like I did a few years prior. But this time something funny happened. A lady came up to me after one of my presentations and enthusiastically said,
“Jason, I went to your presentations a few years ago when you were in town. You were MUCH BETTER this time than a few years ago. You were good then, but you were just much better today!”
I was… um… flattered? Actually, I was a little speechless. I didn’t know what to think. Instead of appreciating the sincere compliment I was stuck on “geesh, was I really that bad three years ago?”
It’s been years, almost a decade, since she told me that. I regularly think about it. I figured out years ago why she said it, and why it was true. It had everything to do with my confidence.
My presentation was mostly the same. While I had tried to freshen it up, I found it so principle-based that it was hard to change. And it was a great presentation. So it wasn’t better content… it was my confidence.
In those three years I had found my entrepreneurial sea legs. I wasn’t in “can I pay my bills this month” or “do we have enough grocery money this week” mode. I had figured some things out and was seeing enough success to finances, while still tight, didn’t feel suffocating.
I’m sure in the latter presentations I was in Minneapolis having a lot more fun, and enjoying the conversations I was having with people, than worrying about whether I would be good enough to convince someone to sign up on JibberJobber, or sell any of my stuff.
My presentation was noticeably better. And this is the message I want to share with you.
The year I started JibberJobber I wrote an important post titled I Smell Blood! That has the same message as my post today. Please read that post when you are done with that one.
As a job seeker I know how scary things are. I know how you feel like you are off the cliff, hanging on by your fingernails. Hopeless, not knowing what the next few minutes or days will bring… it’s overwhelming.
I also know that you will be okay. It may take a few years to feel like you are on track again. It might take decades before you don’t fear another long-term bout of unemployment. But you will be okay. You are resilient. You are stronger and more empowered than you think. Want proof? Look at your career. What have you accomplished? I’m sure you’ve done remarkable things. Don’t let the circumstances of today define who you are. If you do, you are being influenced by lies. Let those wins from before today buoy you up and give you perspective into what you can accomplish.
Fake confidence. Fake it until you feel it. When others smell blood they won’t want to make introductions for you. When they smell blood they won’t pick you to work with them. Clean yourself up. I know this is hard. I know my advice might sound disingenuous. But it is important that you exude confidence, even if you are still trying to convince yourself that you are confident.
Need help? Reach out to me. When I became confident my job search changed. Later, when I had more confidence, my speaking changed. You need to make this change to see the results change.
I believe in you. Now, it’s your turn to believe in you.