“The future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave” (Ronald Reagan).
Recently I was taken by my boss to a meeting. I had only been to two prior meetings with our own staff and coming from two kitchen jobs at 19, I never felt I had the authority to talk.
I was only just now becoming accustomed to working at a desk with a mouse and keyboard as opposed to standing in an industrial kitchen spaced out doing manual labor.
However, traveling across our campus to another building in my college associated with branding felt like a bring your son to work day. The audacity of entering a building in casual but just professional enough clothing without the intention to get food on it was liberating.
The feeling of having a role and a title instead of being labeled as one of the cooks or packagers was something that although it may be egotistical of me to say, is what I have wanted for a while.
I love my new job. I was surprised when I first got offered the job because my initial process was to apply to what I want but don’t think I can get. Of course, being offered the job was a pedestal to my esteem that I was seen as someone of value.
Although the only thing that kept me anxious was knowing I may now have to play the act like you belong game.
The feeling of being an outsider
We all have had experiences in which we are more than uncomfortable and that is due to us trying to mask our uncomfortable feeling which in turn makes it even harder.
Whether it was a social event, a new class or a new job, the most intimidating thing is believing everyone else has already become accustomed to their role and knows you are new.
In truth, they probably view you as someone worth being there before a judgment is even made. If your boss brings in a new coworker, you assume they saw the same value in them that they have seen in you before.
Bringing a new friend to a party may be scary for them, but to other’s they see it as someone who has already been admitted to the party as a welcomed guest.
Feeling out of place is annoying and I wish it didn’t happen the way that it does as I’m sure most of us with social anxiety feel. Yet the only real thing to be scared of is overstepping by taking the initiative someone may not want you to take.
That is my experience and will obviously differ, but being brought into a situation and letting the situation play out to yourself before taking action is enough to show you respect what is going on and want to be a part of the already structured dynamic.
Faking the confidence to belong
Another point to be made here is when it is time to take action, the confidence in doing so is what makes it.
It may not be how something is done, because everyone adapts to process, but confidence in the way you know how you have done it shows you do know what you are doing.
Being told to format a paper and without further instruction doing it yourself the way you were taught shows you know something. The boss may just have to correct you and apologize for not being specific enough to explain the how the formatting differs from your previous work.
Sometimes in this sense, acting oblivious can be your best friend.
If you act nervous when doing a task for the first time, it can be seen as you being lost. You don’t understand it and don’t want people to know you don’t.
Yet if you act like you do know it, coming from an outside place, you probably did know it and just need further direction to their new methods.
I have stated before that there is no difference between fake confidence and real confidence because the only one who will know the difference is you.
The experiences we can go through can be scary but they all shape us for the better.
It is about knowing how to be confident in what you have done, expecting to encounter a new situation in which you can apply what you know and showing outwardly that you are willing to make an attempt.