By Aaron Pitman
MASON, Ohio (TheStreet) -- In business and in life, confidence is key. You need to believe in yourself and your abilities to take the right risks for big rewards. After all, if you don't believe in yourself, why should anyone else believe in you?
Optimism stems from confidence, and this sunny outlook can have a real impact on your business and life prospects. For instance, studies have found those with an optimistic outlook are more resilient and better able to bounce back from setbacks. Optimists in the business realm are even more likely to be approved for bank loans than their more pessimistic counterparts.
So how do you boost your confidence if it's lacking? How do you tackle problems confidently when you know you don't have all the answers?
I use a method I like to call "confess and attack" to address the elephants in the room and ramp up my confidence. I'll outline each stage and show you how you can use the method to appear more confident to those around you:
As a young entrepreneur, I knew my age was actually working against me when I was taking meetings with the movers and shakers in my industry. People will often not give you much credit you when you're young, especially when you're under 30 and a highly driven entrepreneur. They might not think you're serious about your company or, worse, that you don't know what you're talking about.
Short of Benjamin Button-ing yourself, there's really no way to get older to make investors and business partners more comfortable. So, instead, I decided the best plan of action was to address the elephant in the room.
I would admit I was a young entrepreneur and I might not have the same years of experience they do. This doesn't mean I haven't put in my 10,000 hours to build up my knowledge base, though. I felt confident in my abilities even though on the surface I might not seem like the ideal business partner, and I expressed this confidence during my "confession."
This is a great plan of action for addressing the insecurities holding you back from being more confident. Admit them! Confession is good for the soul, and only by admitting your shortcomings can you begin to address how you are more than a stereotype.
For instance, say you go in for a great job but you're underqualified. You know you don't have the exact qualifications the employer needs, which means the employer probably knows this as well. This can cause you to lose confidence in your abilities during the interview. In fact, a recent study showed 92% of people had some fear going into an interview and for 26% this fear stemmed from their qualifications.
Instead of hoping the employer won't notice or ask about your lack of qualifications, address the matter head on. Don't wait for the employer to ask you about it; explain how passionate you are about the opportunity and how your transferable skills can contribute to the organization.
By getting out in front of your negative press, you have the potential to turn your biggest critics into potential fans. Having the confidence to own up to the things that cause you anxiety, whether it's your age or inexperience, shows you're willing to tackle tough matters and you're working to improve your skills.
Go on the offensive
Once I had confessed what we both knew, I pushed the situation a bit by "attacking" their preconceived notions. I would tell potential business partners that my youth was actually a selling point, since I understood the tech market as someone who had grown up a digital native. I would tell them if they really weren't comfortable with me because of my age, perhaps we wouldn't be such a good business fit after all.
It takes confidence in yourself and your abilities to be willing to leave it all on the table. But parting ways with someone who doesn't believe in you is always the right decision. The willingness to walk away shows your confidence, because it means you believe in yourself enough to be respected by someone else. If you don't get this respect, it's not worth your time.
What you're attacking isn't the other person, whether that person is an investor, potential business partner or even a potential employer. What you're attacking is their preconceived notions of you and what you can accomplish. By attacking those wrongheaded ideas, you show you're willing to stand up for yourself and fight for what you deserve.
In the example of the underqualified candidate, an employer who pushes back on your lack of skills might not be doubting you at all. They might be looking for you to step up to the plate and defend your skills and abilities. After all, there's a reason the employer brought you in for the interview in the first place.
"Attack" by explaining confidently how your passion puts you above the other candidates, dedication makes you the perfect employee and transferable skills provide an added dimension the employer would lose by hiring the same-old cookie cutter candidate.
By using the confess and attack method, you can address the insecurities weighing on your confidence. You need this confidence, whether you're trying to score investment money, a well-earned raise or your dream job. Being willing to admit your perceived shortcomings and stand behind your abilities are the first steps toward becoming more confident and more successful.
What do you think? Have you ever used the confess and attack method before? Share in the comments!
Aaron Pitman is an angel Investor, self-made millionaire and founder and partner of RA Domain Capital, a domain name development firm. He's a positivity nut who welcomes anyone to reach out to him through Twitter @aaronpitman, Google+ or you can visit him directly at aaronpitman.com.