Insecure vibes are a self-fulfilling prophecy

Get rid of them and you’ll appear more confident

Photo by Caleb Woods on Unsplash

Insecure vibes are subconscious clues and signals that you might be giving off when you’re feeling anxious, nervous, or a little uncertain.

We emit insecure vibes when we really want something to work out…but aren’t sure if it will. You might be feeling self-conscious. A little desperate.

Insecure vibes are usually subconscious, which is why it’s important to be mindful. You don’t want your worries to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

If you appear hesitant, doubtful, or anxious…

The other person picks up on it…

You get more nervous…

They start doubting you.

If you acted normally to start with, they would have assumed everything was great.

Get rid of insecure vibes — and your writing, meetings, negotiations, and pitches will become stronger.

What insecure vibes look like

Insecure vibes look like overcompensating. When we’re feeling uncertain, we express it in subconscious and weird ways, which other people pick up on.

A long diatribe, when a short and warm response would have sufficed. We get defensive when we feel triggered. The other person touched on something sore, so we react. Should you write a short note instead and give the benefit of the doubt? That can come across as much more confident.

Assuming the person will say no before you even start. When you assume the other person will say no, you load up on caveats and explanations. You talk super fast because you want to get everything out. You enter the conversation already playing defense. You don’t give the person a chance to say no because you’ve already said no to yourself.

Insisting on email when you know a phone call is better. You know deep down you should just hop on a call. It could all be resolved in 10 minutes in real-time. But you don’t trust yourself to do well on the call and you’re nervous about messing it up. So you’d rather spend three hours drafting the “perfect” email.

Over-explaining because you expect the other person to be skeptical. You bring up counterpoints to arguments no one has even mentioned. You explain differently if you give the person the benefit of the doubt. When you over-explain, you introduce objections the person might not have thought of if you hadn’t mentioned it in the first place!

Accidental insecure vibes: Don’t look doubtful if you actually feel confident

It’s a shame if you feel confident but you’re accidentally making people think otherwise. Something about the way you’re talking or behaving, that LOOKS like you’re doubtful.

This is purely about optics. You want your outsides to match your insides.

This is where knowing your own “tells” is helpful. Tells are subconscious clues in poker that give away if you’re feeling confident or not.

Before, with accidental insecure vibes: “Hmm I don’t know if this is helpful… And this might not even be a good idea… But one thing is maybe try X?”

After: “One idea we can try is X.”

Don’t preface your idea with caveats. Speak in complete sentences. Remove “ands” and “buts” that create never-ending sentences, which can sound less authoritative.

Notice when you emit insecure vibes

Insecure vibes aren’t all or nothing.

You won’t give off insecure vibes all the time. It’s situational. The best thing you can do is get better at identifying when you might be doing it.

Better yet: Give your friends permission to point out when you are emitting insecure vibes.

This is best done with people you talk to regularly for feedback. This could be your spouse, best friend, or coworker.

When you say, “Do you mind taking a look at this before I hit send?”

Give them the vocabulary to say, “Ooh I think there might be some insecure vibes going on here…”

Thank them for their honesty, then get rid of those insecure vibes. It can be exactly the thing you needed to realize to make your work stronger.

How to get rid of insecure vibes

Before you hit send, ask yourself:

1. Could this be interpreted as sounding defensive?

2. Does it look like I’m overcompensating?

3. Would I still say this if I had plenty of alternatives? (Scarcity can make us seem desperate.)

Think about you on your best day, feeling on top of your game. React the way that person would react.

Marketing | Product | Strategy | Prev: altMBA, Seth Godin HQ, Flite (acq by Snapchat), Gap Inc. @wes_kao |