Many men were taught as little boys that it’s wrong to act as if you’re better than anyone else. That lesson was usually taught by parents who wanted to make sure that we fit in with other children. For some of us the message was delivered by peers who criticized children who had the courage to present themselves with confidence.
Weren’t we also taught as children to strive for the very best qualities that a person can have? Wasn’t the message to become better than other people—and never settle for being average?
Do you really think your parents would be proud to know that they raised an average child? Do you remember the smartest and most talented children in school ever gravitating toward the average kids for leadership?
Whether being “better” to us meant being smarter, nicer, harder working, happier, more popular, better looking or more athletic, wasn’t “always strive to be better” the message that we were directly or indirectly being taught?
You can see that the real message was mixed: We should aspire to become better than other people—but make sure that we don’t act as if we have done so when we have.
As an adult you can certainly understand how we may have adopted conflicting beliefs as to how much confidence we should present to the rest of the world. Is presenting ourselves with too much confidence really the problem? The number of people who act better than they really are is so small that I wouldn’t even worry about that challenge.
If you’re having trouble persuading people to treat you with the respect you deserve, acting too confident shouldn’t be something you are debating. Do you really believe the vast majority of people overstate their value—or sell themselves short? Most of us sell ourselves way too short. We don’t give ourselves nearly as much credit as we should. We don’t carry ourselves with the confidence we should in order to get the respect from other people that we feel we deserve.
Often we wonder why other people don’t recognize our true value. Isn’t it obvious? When we sell ourselves short, we unintentionally persuade others to treat us accordingly. The people around us simply fall in line with the way we present ourselves.
I believe that you should never act humble just to make other people comfortable in your presence. If they don’t feel comfortable in your presence because you display confidence, that’s their problem—not yours. Leaders carry themselves with confidence. Carrying yourself with confidence is that great place in between being arrogant and acting humble.
There’s a gigantic difference between being confident and being arrogant—and the middle ground is not acting humble. Confidence is presenting yourself in a manner that gets you what you want in life—while helping other people get what they want too. Arrogance is when everything you think, say and do is only for your own interests.
Alpha males present themselves with confidence and thus earn other people’s trust and respect. When you can do that, you will have an important ingredient needed to take your life to a higher level. And your leadership skills will help others take their lives to a higher level at the same time.
Remember, you’re always selling yourself and your ideas. The only question is how well you’re currently selling yourself and your ideas to the world. If you aren’t getting what you want in life, assume that it’s because you’re not selling yourself very well. If you don’t sell yourself well, why would you expect other people to buy into your leadership?
The alpha male is very aware of the strengths he possesses. He proudly presents himself exactly the way he sees himself. Less-dominant and beta males sell themselves short most of the time. They are very careful to not appear arrogant or too confident. Less dominant males never want to take the chance of offending anyone.
So here’s this month’s MANformation alpha leadership assignment: As you strive to take your leadership skills to the next level, prepare a 10-to-20-second crisp, clean, well-planned, well-rehearsed introduction that accurately describes who you are, what you do and what you’re all about. It won’t be overly boastful—but it won’t humbly play down who you are, what you do and what you’re all about. That’s in the past.
If you’re going to err when creating your introduction, make sure that you err on the boastful side. Chances are, you’ll still sell yourself a little short when you first start using your introduction because of the many years of conflicting lessons you were taught growing up.
When you become aware of the importance of this alpha leadership skill and practice executing it repeatedly, you’ll integrate it into your own personality.
Editor’s note: Six-time national-champion bodybuilder and success coach Skip La Cour is the creator of MANformation, a powerful personal-development and fitness program for men that is based on the qualities and actions of the world’s most powerful, influential and charismatic men. It is a structured series of alpha leadership strategies that will transform you into the man you really want to be. It doesn’t matter where you are in your life right now, what you have achieved so far or your age. The MANformation program will help you become a better version of you—step-by-step and one strategy at a time. To learn more about the MANformation personal-development program, visit www.MANformation.com. Sign up for the free weekly e-newsletter, and you’ll get a free alpha leadership e-book.