Respect- earned/ deserved vs undeserved/ paid for…?

I’ve been thinking over the past few weeks about respect/ confidence in another. A lot of people aren’t as open, nor do they want to publicly air their “dirty” laundry as I did in the Stronger Together post. I currently believe that everyone has their own paths and for fear of sounding cheesy, need to follow their own destiny. Which brings me to my latest musings on confidence in an another. I’d like to say that this could also be looked at as a matter of respect.

I’ve a history in mar-tech, trying to find the best ways for people to reach and understand their customer base. Earned allows for organic growth, which in the long run will provide more reliable customers that will stick with you through difficult times. However, initially a client will need to gain the visibility and that’s where paid marketing comes in hand. It’s the same as an ice-cream van playing it’s tune on blast as it takes the same route weekly. That sound alerts those new to the area of its services even though the van may take the same routes week in week out. In this analogy, the van’s siren works as paid media, and thus for this post, please see it as paid for confidence. Should its sound system break, it’ll still take the same route and those who know it will be ready to get their weekly ice-cream fix- thus representing earned.

So onto confidence. There is a difference between the confidence you feel when it’s an achievement; you worked hard at a task to reach your goal vs something that’s been given. The first involves overcoming a problem to reach a solution, whilst the later is based on nothing other than you being you. One is earned and thus deserved unlike the other. One is based in reality whilst the other might as well be based on rainbows and unicorns, whilst they convince you it’s perhaps a birthright.

However, confidence is still confidence regardless how a person got to that state. I personally love confident people and don’t lie to yourself, so do you. Confidence breeds trust. Confident people have an energy about them that attracts others, it’s like an elixir to one’s own self doubt. If they’re confident they must be right, have a plan and know what they’re doing…right?


There is a difference in why one is confident. I’m going to be bold here (in this moment, subject to potential change at a later date) and say that there are only two reasons for confidence, earned vs paid for.

I’ll start with the later, paid for confidence. This confidence comes from your social circle, and is one of the reasons we really enjoy reality talent shows. Your significant person (parent, bff, employee etc) in your life tells you you’re beautiful , have the best voice, can act, are amazing and so you go into the talent contest etc. They always want you to succeed and to them, what they tell you is true. To you also, because you love and respect them more than a stranger, their words hold faith. Suddenly, it’s you vs the world.

I’m sorry, I presumed in the last paragraph that you were untalented in every way. You might not be, but please bear with me for this post. Imagine that you actually did suck, just as the worst performer you have ever seen, and then think of why they would put themselves in such a situation. It comes back to the point that those around them encouraged them regardless. That is what I mean by paid confidence. Your mum complimenting you as a grown up, equates to a similar, unrealistic situation. You’re friend telling you “You’ve got this, you’re the champion” equates to the same thing. Those that know you might complement you as it’s seen as encouragement, which is always a good thing…right?

No. This is my second emphatic no.

I’ll switch on the paid confidence front, to another perspective- alcohol. A lot of us will have taken what is often referred to as dutch courage. That need for an extra kick to make us do, reveal or say what is needed because it’s scary.

There’s a difference for earned confidence. Earned confidence leaves an honest trail, a realism to what needed to be done to get you to X stage. This is the confidence of experts who have knowledge founded through rigorous research. Earned confidence leaves others concerned if they are used to being appreciated on their title alone. The problem with earned vs paid, is that if you paid, you acknowledge you don’t have the necessary skills, and thus you rely on rigid structures in place to keep the status quo. Those who have earned their confidence can see each other amongst the throng. Status tags are meaningless because they know that they will always rise as they do the work.

And so this brings to two very different mindsets. Those that have underserved confidence, and I suppose this is where my initial point of where confidence can be interchanged with respect. Deserved vs underserved respect, societal positions etc..

This has me thinking of those I’ve admired. In the workplace it has been the managers who I learnt from, who are themselves and who will push you based on the want to learn. I appreciate the graft. In politics you have Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or Jacinda Ardern who on a global scale blow my mind. They have the confidence to challenge the status quo because they have done the hard work and thus understand the nature of success based on grit. In comparison, you have the likes of Trump, Boris Johnson & the other Etonians who have confidence that is paid for. The former inspires a betterment whilst the later breeds distrust.

Earned confidence and thus earned respect has capacity to learn, to understand nuances within society to help everyone evolve for the better. This is who I’d trust with my future. The later wants to keep tipping the scales in their favour by any means necessary. Sadly with the later, it is often those disadvantaged that end up paying for it.

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