An interview with Larina Kase, PsyD, MBA
As a solo entrepreneur, you have to be a leader to be successful. In fact, being a confident leader is pretty darn crucial for your marketing, as well. Today, I present to you an interview I did with Dr. Larina Kase on her book, The Confident Leader.
Larina is a professional speaker, author and recognized expert in peak performance, anxiety and stress management, leadership and entrepreneurship. She has a doctorate in psychology and masters in business administration, and her unique approach is regularly seen in media such as Inc., Entrepreneur, SELF and on national TV and radio. She is the author or coauthor of seven books including The New York Times bestseller The Confident Speaker. She has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs and executives from companies such as Verizon, Intel, Morgan Stanley, & Ernst & Young.
Carma: As business owners, why do we need to become confident leaders?
Larina: Whether you own a business of 1 (you) or 1,000, you are the leader — of yourself, your business, your life. As a leader, your confidence will determine what you achieve as well as how others respond to you and your business. In terms of business growth, your confidence will enable you to take on key challenges in growing your business, such as:
- Describing the benefits of your business and educating others why they should do business with you.
- Getting yourself to do the marketing activities that you want to avoid (things like public speaking, networking, running a blog) but you know would help you build your business.
- Inspiring others (your employees, virtual assistants, contractors) to stay motivated and see the big picture.
- Presenting your business from a standpoint of conviction and value (which attracts others and makes them want to do business with you) rather than insecurity or desperation.
Carma: I know this has been an issue with me throughout my life. But, how can we tell if we (or others) lack confidence?
Larina: The number one thing to look for is avoidance. When people have confidence, they will take on all sorts of things, feeling secure that even if they “fail,” they”ll work it out. On the other hand, when we lack confidence, we tend to avoid situations when we fear we could fail, embarrass ourselves, or let ourselves or others done.
Keep in mind that avoidance can be subtle. It may not be as obvious as declining to participate in a project. More often, we’ll attempt something but do it half-heartedly or rely on crutches. For example, let’s say that you lack confidence in your ability to introduce yourself. You may not avoid it (you know you can’t sit there and say nothing), but you use the crutches of speaking really fast, looking down, and not saying an interesting fact about yourself.
Or let’s say that someone lacked confidence about confronting people and having difficult conversations. She may attempt to confront someone but she tries so hard to be nice and not offend that person (her crutch) that she lacks assertiveness and doesn’t express her needs.
Carma: Boy, that has certainly happened to me! But sometimes people can overcompensate, right? So what if we come across as too confident?
Larina: Many people worry about appearing arrogant and would rather appear less confident than over-confident. In reality, it is often a lack of confidence that makes people come across as over-confident.
Carma: How ironic!
Larina: When we lack confidence, we tend to overcompensate. And it is the overcompensation makes people look over-confident (or look like they’re trying too hard) and puts others off. If someone is worried that he will come across as unintelligent, he’ll try to use fancy language, and will look like he thinks he’s so smart. If someone worries that she will come across as boring, she will try to be interesting, and will look like she loves to talk about herself.
There are exceptions. Sometimes people actually are arrogant and have an inflated image of themselves. You would know if this were you because you’d think that you can do no wrong, your opinion of yourself would be higher than others (you’d be shocked by Bs on papers or performance reviews that were not 100% glowing). You’d dominate conversations and not be interested in others’ viewpoints.
If this is you, then these things need to change. If this is not you, then you really don’t need to worry.
Carma: Phew! O.K. Let’s get to the meat of this conversation: What are three simple things we can do to build our confidence?
- Develop your growth mindset.
This is your ability to ask yourself questions like, “What can I learn?” from situations regardless of their outcome and NOT to judge yourself from the outcome.
- Take on strategic challenges.
Push yourself about 20% past your comfort zone by seeking out and taking on challenges (not just dealing with them as they arise).
- Give yourself credit.
Reward your efforts (not your results) when you have done something difficult.
Carma: Very good. So, I’m sure many of my readers are thinking, “I’m not a business leader.” Should they still check out your book, The Confident Leader?
Larina: This book is really more about leading yourself than leading others. It’s about challenging yourself, pushing your boundaries, staying motivated, and standing out. There’s a detailed description (and some great bonuses) here at my website: www.ConfidentLeaderBook.com.
Carma: Thank you Larina, this has been an insightful interview. I really appreciate your time.