The key piece of advice I give beginner netball umpires when I train them has nothing to do with the rules of netball and everything to do with being confident. Quite simply, I always tell them to “fake it ‘til you make it”.

This advice doesn’t just apply on the netball court; it’s applicable in general life too, particularly in your career or business.

Let me be clear: Fake it ‘til you make it is not about lying or being dishonest. It’s not about being unauthentic or exaggerating your skills and abilities. Rather, it’s an attitude.

It’s about acting confidently even when you don’t feel it, and believing in yourself rather than giving into that niggly little voice of self-doubt. It’s about saying yes to opportunities and being prepared to face challenges, even when you’re scared.henry-ford-quote-whether-you-think-you-can-or-think-you-can_t-you_re-right

Many studies have shown confidence has a significant impact on performance. Just take a look at the athletes competing at the Rio Olympics for a host of perfect examples. The mental side of their preparation and training is just as important as the physical. In order to win, they have to believe they can. The same goes for you in the workplace. You have to believe you can do a job well in order to do just that.

Confidence also has an impact on other people’s perceptions of your competence and ability. It may not be fair, but it’s the truth. Even if you’re good at your job, if you’re plagued by self-doubt and constantly talk yourself down, others may start to believe it too. You may miss out on opportunities and promotions, or lose clients as a result.

Let’s go back to the beginner umpire example: Whilst knowing the rules of netball is important, being confident is vital. The umpire may feel nervous and unsure of their calls, but they can’t let the players see that. If they do – if they blow their whistle softly and make weak, uncertain calls in a soft apologetic voice – the players will eat them alive. I’m only slightly exaggerating; I’ve seen it happen many times. The groans, the huffs and puffs, the eye rolls, the comments, and the outright tantrums. If the players believe they can intimidate an umpire and potentially impact the calls made, they will. It’s not pretty to watch.

But if an umpire acts confidently – regardless of how nervous and unsure they are – they will command the respect of the players. Even if the umpire is internally questioning every decision they make, if they blow their whistle loud and firm, speak in a strong voice, and make their calls quickly and decisively, the players will believe the umpire is confident and therefore competent – even if they don’t agree with all of the decisions made.

Confidence is like a muscle; the more you use it, the stronger it gets. Of course you won’t feel confident all the time, but don’t let that hold you back or stop you from doing the things you want to in life. Push through and do them anyway. Act confidently, assertively and enthusiastically, and you’ll eventually believe you are and find behaving in that manner comes more naturally.

Believe in yourself, and when all else fails, fake it until you eventually make it.


Want to learn more about overcoming fear and self-doubt? Come along to ‘Set to Soar’, an all-day workshop for women on Monday 12 September in Moe. Proudly presented by Methmac Communications in collaboration with Maree McPherson Consulting. For tickets go to