// BarryBlog //

A creative dumping ground for issues that interest me personally and professionally, with the thought they may interest you too. Issues such as the business of design, the design of business, the design of objects, design strategy, creative direction, innovation, creativity, thought leadership, observations, as well as recommendations, mid-century modern decorative arts and architecture, and the state of my thinking (and currently the state of my heart).

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Confidence or Enthusiasm: Pick One

Those who know me well may be surprised to hear me admit that deep down I'm not particularly confident. Admittedly I fake it rather well. But between me, myself, and I (and now you), confidence has never come naturally. To the contrary, and to make up for this deficit, I've spent a career planning, paying attention, and practicing in order to be a strong performer. Therefore I believe it's safe to say that being a good performer isn't necessarily indicative of confidence in oneself.

Having said that, my desire to perform well and serve others and the passion and fitness associated with that, compared to my lack of confidence of late, has really been troubling. Deeply. Having internalized this much of late, I can't tell you how grateful I was to get a new perspective on just what it is that's been digging at me of late. In this article, by a smart person who I admire, and whose blog I subscribe to via his RSS feed, he shares five reasons why enthusiasm is better than confidence. To me, this is a refreshing bit of encouragement—news to my ears if you will, as it helps me to consider how enthusiasm and passion, two things which do come naturally to me, may in fact be related to my desire to do great work and produce value for my employer.

Boiled down to it's essence, confidence is always about yourself. Your position and concerns. Enthusiasm on the other hand, is about the work you’re presenting, the information you want to share, the message you’re trying to get across, etc. Not about your own position, rather the concern for others; your desire to share and learn and teach.And ultimately as an creative leader, to do great work that adds value.
I can't say with certainty this will resonate with you in the way it has for me, but I find Mark McGuinness's perspective innovative, refreshing, and a huge encouragement which couldn't have come at a better time. Read the entire article here.

( via wishfulthinking )


Anonymous kevin said...

Barry completely know where you are coming from on this. I goota say tht I resonate strongly with the viewpoint of this article. I guess at the heart of the issue is our need for things to be about us. When we go down that road its all about ego - and it really doesn't matter whether we have an overinflated or underinflated one we still get into all kinds of trouble. But when we focus on something else bigger than us and are passionate about it something amazing can happen. (and somehow that is so much more fulfilling than thinking about me anyway).

12:40 PM  
Blogger studiosmith said...


That's why people gravitate to you, and trust and enjoy working with you. Because it's always apparent where your heart's at. That is also my goal. I love this article's perspective on the matter.

1:07 PM  
Blogger Mark McGuinness said...

Thank you Barry - I'm delighted my words struck a chord with you. Reading your response has given me fresh enthusiasm to write more posts like this - see, I said it was infectious, didn't I? :-)

Nice blog you have here. All the best,

1:26 AM  
Blogger studiosmith said...

Infectious indeed. Everything you write is to me, as I appreciate the fitness and momentum of your blog. Regarding your post specifically to which I responded...It's hard enough being creative. Then we're judged on decorum. Then we're looked at for leadership. People's feelings are always important. But if a group of people are really enthusiastic and have their eye on results, no one should be worried about getting their toes stepped on. Perhaps Pride is something that would be good to consider in a future post(s). Position over progress sometimes. Your post helped me focus on the passion and the prize as opposed to confidence that may in fact be on the pride side. Thanks for a great blog and for your comments.

5:34 AM  
Blogger Mark McGuinness said...

Good point about enthusiasm and results. I've been interviewing some managers of creative teams recently, and several of them have said it's fine for people to take risks and make mistakes as long as they are genuinely trying to do their best for the client/company. That's the kind of manager I'd want. Not the 'proud' kind :-)

2:52 AM  

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