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Issue #33: Humble confidence


James Costa

November 8 · Issue #33 · View online
A batch of thoughts, resources, and motivation from a friendly digital agency owner delivered every Monday at 6am ET.

I took Phuse full-time when I was 18. I had reached a crossroads where, between working at an education startup with investor issues and becoming a single father, the best decision forward was going all-in on my hobby. Looking back, I recall how unsure I was, but how curious I continued to be. While in many circumstances I didn’t know what I was doing, a bit of curiosity mixed with the pressure of necessity helped pave the way.
Early-on, my lack of confidence was clear; instead of relying on my own problem-solving abilities I (constantly) messaged others, I created the façade of a having a larger business than I had (the royal “we” was thrown around a lot), and instead of calling myself the founder I called myself a “Creative Director”. It didn’t help that my age showed, but I was lucky to have had most of my first impressions remotely so that age didn’t wasn’t (much of) an issue What built trust with early clients was all that mattered: the products I helped craft.
We have a problem with confidence in the tech industry. People are either too confident or not confident at all. We try and nurture confidence in people newer to their craft, but meanwhile detest those who are overconfident. We may pretend to be confident, but set too high an expectation for ourselves and look foolish. Most people can’t seem to find the proper balance and unknowingly let it affect their work and relationships.
I believe a balanced confidence comes with humility. Humility requires a level of self-understanding and authenticity that can get lost in a society where we’re naturalized not to be honest. What we need to focus on is a humble confidence that allows us to be approachable, while still being knowledgeable and sure of ourselves and the decisions we embark on. 
This is especially hard in tech as the climate is constantly changing, so a humility becomes necessary as we can’t possibly know everything. There are three types of things: things we know, things we know we don’t know, and things we don’t know we don’t know. While we pursue lives in what we know, let’s admit what we don’t know and continue to let our childish curiosity push us to learn.
PS: If you enjoyed this week’s issue, I’d really appreciate your support sharing it. Whether it’s a forward, a Twitter post, or getting a crowd of people to form the letters of my name and taking an aerial photo of them, it would mean the world to me.

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52 Musings
You Don’t Need a Master Plan You Just Need to Start
“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”
― C. S. Lewis
I really, really wanted to end with a joke about the U.S. election, but I’m sure everyone can agree that it couldn’t come soon enough. Here’s hoping that with it’s decision a new chapter can form that will push the country forward.
As always, if you have any questions or I can help you in any way, all you have to do is respond to this email!
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