Confidence or Competence Issue?

When I was fed up with my waitressing job, still living in Miami, I was looking for ways to replace my income.

Carrying trays with dirty plates wasn’t exactly my idea of the American Dream.

I started looking for ways to make money working for myself.

I started thinking of my capabilities and how I could monetise them. Since I speak 4 languages, and one of them is Russian, I started tutoring English to Russian kids.

I picked up a handful of clients mainly by the word of mouth. I really enjoyed doing it. It was challenging at times, but working with kids and seeing their progress was amazing.

The additional income I was generating wasn’t enough to quit my restaurant job, but I managed to cut my days at the restaurant to just 3 days a week.

I was quite excited. If I could try a little harder, I would be able to quit that detestable job at a restaurant. I was thinking.

One of my clients was Karina. I was tutoring her 3 days a week for a total of 6 hours. I loved it and her parents were quite satisfied with their daughter’s progress.

Then one day, Karina’s mom, Olga, wanted me to prepare her for the TOEFL exam. TOEFL is a test to measure the English language ability of non-native speakers wishing to enrol in English-speaking universities.

I was excited, because it meant additional income. So, I immediately said yes.

However, I wasn’t qualified for a job. It was way above my level.

First of all, I had never taken that test myself. Second, it is very complicated, and I truly doubt an average American would be able to pass it without special preparation.

Yet, I thought I would figure it out in the process. I was confident.

Well, I learned the lesson “confidence doesn’t always work when competence is required” the hard way.

My lack of competence was showing big time during the first lesson with Olga. She was quite irritated when I didn’t have the answers to her questions.

As a result, I lost the job not just with Olga but also with Karina as well. I also lost a substantial amount of monthly income.

I was devastated. I started questioning my capabilities. I began to doubt myself.

I didn’t have enough assertiveness to be able to say, “No, I am not qualified to be able to do that job.” Which would have probably gained me respect instead of being fired.

There is a major difference between being confident and being competent. They are quite different from each other.

Being competent is having the ability.

Being confident is pushing yourself to apply that ability.

You need both to be successful.

You can’t just be confident. No matter how confident you might be, you cannot perform an open-heart surgery without a specific qualification.

Being confident means having self-awareness and knowing your limits. Having self-confidence also means understanding where you might need a little bit of work in order to gain competence.

In the grand scheme of things, I am glad that side tutoring hustle didn’t turn out to be my main occupation, but back then, I felt crushed.

It really scarred my self-image, and chipped my self-belief.

Being able to differentiate between confidence and competence will help you avoid some stupid mistakes.

Never stop growing your strengths, but also be aware of your weaknesses.

Do you even know, what they are?

And if you do, do you know how to monetise your strengths in a smart way?

Ukrainian by birth, American at heart, world traveler, who dares to go after her ambitious goals. Empowering women to achieve their dreams

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