I am not one to discourage confidence, even if it sometimes borders on cockiness. And with everyone talking about the recent release of Watch the Throne, a debut Kanye West and Jay Z collabo, there’s much to be observed about two of the most successful — and unapologetically braggadocios — hip-hop artists of the day.
I’m extremely attracted to the Kanyes and Jay Zs of the world — people who aren’t afraid to say, “I’m great, and I have a reason to feel that way.” They follow that inner voice that says, “You’re the best there is, so go show them what you got!”
And who are we if not our own biggest fan?
I grew up singing “This Little Light of Mine” in church, with family members who always told me to hold my head high and never let anyone make me believe I wasn’t or couldn’t be the best. But even the most confident people have their bouts of insecurity and doubt.
I sometimes second-guess whether something I’m doing or want to do will be accepted, loved or admired.
Will it be worth the effort or risk of failure? Will people buy into it? What if it totally tanks?
(Hey, I even second-guessed writing this blog, thinking, “What will people think of me? How will I be perceived? Am I good enough? Who will even care what Janell Hazelwood thinks about anything?”)
The problem with second-guessing is the insecurity factor. There’s a weakness there that doesn’t mix well with the “This Little Light of Mine” mantra instilled in me as a child. And the dangerous part of second-guessing is that while one person is pausing with the ball, another is stealing it and dunking it right into the hoop.
I recently had a media-related idea running around in my head for weeks and never said a word. I wondered, “How will I execute it? What if it can’t be done? And what if I do it and it’s a total flop?”
Well, lo and behold, a competitor had the idea, and did it — awesomely!
I was a tad aggy considering I’d been thinking about the idea for a while. I could see the whole concept in my head and envision each part of it. To not see my name credited with the successful project made me a bit … well … jealous. That old “Heeeeey, that was my idea!” monster showed his ugly face.
Those who executed didn’t let doubts or possible challenges hinder them from trying. They took action and believed in what they were doing and what they could bring to the table. The whole project was packaged and presented professionally and right on target for the market.
I write all that to say this: Second-guessing can be a major hindrance to letting your light shine and capturing your own success. It’s a common-but-often-overlooked fact that the tag-team of self-confidence and being one’s own biggest fan has helped catapult careers. A healthy dose of self-confidence (mixed with a little humility) is what it takes to succeed in such a competitive world, and, as I was reminded by a competitor, it’s crucial to one’s personal and professional advancement.
Second-guessers get left behind with the screw face saying, “I could’ve done that!” (and become close cousins to the I’mas), while the people who forcefully act on something they believe in smile all the way to the bank.
No more second-guessing, people. Purposeful thought or counsel is essential for some things in life (like maybe purchasing a home or choosing a mate), but for others, a pause can stifle a win. Channel your inner Kanye, and run with the greatness in you. Whether you rise or fall, at least you won’t be regretful, watching as the light you have is overshadowed by the star who wasn’t afraid to shine.