5 Things Kanye West Can Teach Us About Confidence
Kanye West is a legend. (No, really, he’ll tell you that himself). And let’s face it, some days you’re feeling pretty down and decidedly un-legend like. So how do you dig yourself out of that rut? Even better, how to do gain confidence at work and grab that golden ring? Let’s take some tips from Mr. West and start winning some Lifetime Achievement Awards.
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1. “YOU CAN’T LOOK AT A GLASS HALF FULL OR EMPTY IF IT’S OVERFLOWING.” – Kanye West, Twitter 2010
Kanye has a point there. Are you constantly bringing yourself down with self-deprecating remarks? When you turn in a project, can you take a compliment on it, or do you say, “Well, it’s just OK. I wish I’d had more time to work on it.” Not only do you bring your own mood down with that kind of talk, you might be showing that you’re not giving your all to the team (even though you are). So give your mental state a good full blast from the firehose! Keep that glass not only full but overflowing with chutzpah and you’ll stay on top. Give your all and say, “Yeah! I think it’s great!”
2. “IF YOU HAVE POWER, YOU SHOULD EMPOWER. THE POWER IS IN THE PEOPLE. THE PEOPLE CHOSE ME TO BE THE PEOPLE’S CHAMP.” – Kanye West, The Breakfast Club interview, Feb. 2015
Are you championing your co-workers? Why not? Everybody likes a good team player. Don’t keep all the crayons hoarded at your desk, spread them around. If you’re a boss, are you doing your best at helping your team succeed? Geez, get with it!
3. “I SEE STUFF FROM THE FUTURE, AND I’M SUCH A FUTURIST THAT I HAVE TO SLOW DOWN AND TALK IN THE PRESENT.” – Kanye West, The Breakfast Club interview, Feb. 2015
We all work on a timeline. Either your career has a trajectory upwards, or it’s going to stagnate and die. Follow your good friend Kanye, and keep a weather eye on what’s on the horizon. Keep up with research in your field. Check out seminars or lunchtime talks. Subscribe to new podcasts and read a few articles on your own time. Share them with your colleagues. Get into discussions. Form a little Bloomsbury group. Change the WORLD! (Or just, hey, have fun and talk to people about cool stuff.)
4. “I AM WARHOL! I AM THE NUMBER ONE MOST IMPACTFUL ARTIST OF OUR GENERATION. I AM SHAKESPEARE IN THE FLESH. WALT DISNEY, NIKE, GOOGLE.” – Kanye West on Sway in the Morning, 2013
You know who didn’t really know how huge they were going to get? All those guys. (Kanye probably did though, let’s be honest.) But Walt Disney sitting around drawing mice couldn’t possibly have guessed how much of a game-changer he was going to be. If you don’t have the confidence and drive to fight for something new and ground-breaking in your career, nobody will do that for you. Do you see yourself as “impactful”? Why not? What could you do that would make an impact? Start small, and you’ll be amazed how fast things can snowball.
5. “I’M GOING DOWN AS A LEGEND, WHETHER OR NOT YOU LIKE ME OR NOT.” – Kanye West, radio interview with Tim Westwood, 2008
Do you spend a lot of time wondering what people think of you? I’m not advocating being a jerk, but you certainly don’t see Kanye walking around trying to please everyone. You can be democratic, and even nice, and still have a way of persuading others that your ideas are great. Confidence is a big part of that. You can be well-read, reasoned, a good listener, and a fair discussion leader and still come out on top. Just don’t go pull a Kanye and take the mic out of the CEO’s hands at the next town hall meeting. She might not let you finish.
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