THE BLOG

The Confidence Cloak

09/04/2015 17:05 BST | Updated 09/06/2015 10:59 BST

So Harry Potter may well have the rights to the cloak of invisibility but, me I have a confidence cloak.

When I wrap this around me, as I do most days, I change into this amazingly different person; bubbly, friendly, outgoing and of course super confident.

Take it off and there is the real me; quiet, self-effacing modest and very shy. These latter personality traits however do not make for good business development skills, so the cloak needs to be worn most days.

Speaking at 80 events a year at least, often in front of audiences of 100s, sitting shyly in the corner and speaking quietly isn't going to be a great asset with which to engage the audience.

I was never the popular girl at school or university, I don't like sports of any kind so was always the last to be chosen in team picks, I wasn't cool or pretty so didn't hang around with the "in crowd", I was a very loyal and steadfast friend but because I was inherently shy I was thought of as standoffish.

Also I was very short sighted and reluctant to wear my glasses as a teenager so I was thought of as rude when I didn't acknowledge people, thought the fact was I couldn't actually recognise them as I couldn't see them!

For me a degree of natural confidence has come with age. There is now a sort of devil may care attitude about me and I am at a stage in life where by and large I only care about the opinions of those close to me.

It's a fact people generally like to do business with people they like and, as long as confidence doesn't slip into anything near arrogance, then the best people to be with are those that are fun and lively. In a business situation who wouldn't rather work with someone who has an assured air about them as, by implication, this should instil more confidence in their skills.

The odd thing about the confidence cloak is that the more you wear it the less you need it as its confidence potion soaks through, by some form of osmosis, into your skin.

I do, like many seemingly confident people, have imposter syndrome in gigantic proportions and as a result can easily overcompensate by being louder and more opinionated than is always appropriate. As a result I make an extra special effort to stop myself before I go off on one!

Confidence and arrogance are close bed friends so care is always needed.

But the cloak does seem to have a few holes in it from time to time and a seemingly personal attack can see me rather more vulnerable than I would care to admit to. When people say "it's not personal" you can bet it almost certainly is!

I keep sewing up those particular holes but they have a nasty habit of coming unstitched.

Confidence is also partly a state of mind. Even with the cloak on and in full working order, a personal pep talk in front of the mirror adds to my own "just get on with it" tool kit.