Mareo McCracken in WRITERS and PUBLISHERS on beBee, Motivation, Professions, Workers, Careers Revenue Leader • Movemedical May 16, 2017 · 3 min read · 1.9K

How to Get Laughed Out of The Room by the CFO [the secret to confidence especially when you don't have enough]

How to Get Laughed Out of The Room by the CFO [the secret to confidence especially when you don't have enough]

Earlier in my career I cared about the wrong things.

One was caring about what people thought of me. I still do. I try not to though.

A few years ago I had left London after working for a commodity trading firm and joined a 10,000+ person US based manufacturing company. The company did not hedge some of their raw materials very well and were losing lots of money on metal buys.

It was a swampy Houston morning on the 7th floor of our Galleria office, I was nervously and excitedly sitting in a meeting with people way more experienced (read: older) than me. The meeting with the CFO had about 20 executives and the topic of our internal commodity purchasing issues came up. I suggested we should start to “hedge both sides to lock in our costs”, rather than just doing what “our broker” said to do.

I thought it was a good start to a conversation.

The CFO laughed. The CFO laughed again, even louder.

I felt small.

While laughing, the CFO said “if hedging were easy everyone would do it.” The others laughed too.

I felt embarrassed. I didn’t have enough confidence to answer back and ask him “why do we only hedge one direction instead of locking in our costs?”. We were not a trading firm; we just needed to control inputs. Reality was that I didn’t ask anything else, I stopped talking. Not confident enough to continue. My desire to appear strong held me back, while in the end I just looked weaker.

Never was invited back to that monthly meeting.

The company continued to lose money on the commodity fluctuations for a couple years. They still might be today, not sure.

I knew more about hedging than anyone in the room, but wasn't confident enough to lead or even help.

Confidence is Belief in Action  

Confidence is the ability to act. It is the ability to act in spite of fear. Act in spite of doubts. It doesn’t matter where you start, all that matter is that you do.

Yet, taking action is extremely hard. It is difficult because it requires us to allow the possibility of failure. Failure is scary. Confidence is not about being secure in the exact process, it is being secure in the outcome. Every outcome is your own hands, in your locus of control. You control everything until you give up, when you give up, that is when you give up control as well.

If you believe you can do something, then take the correct action, you will then see your results. Results help give meaning to your actions.

The real secret to confidence is to be ultra-vulnerable, while at the same time to not care what others think of you. When you truly let-go of the need for approval from people who don’t really matter, then your confidence will skyrocket.

The most confident people in the world are also the most vulnerable. They are vulnerable not because they are weak, but because they are willing to show everyone what they truly stand for. Their actions are aligned with their beliefs and they are living the way they need to live to achieve the results they want to attain.

There are two main “False Beliefs” that keep us from being vulnerable and from letting go about caring what other think of us.

False Need for Security

Just because you are warm and safe doesn’t mean there is not more out there for you.

Being well cared for is not enough.

Having a job is not secure. Everyone is fire-able.

A hard life with the ability to achieve is much more desirable than an easy life with no chance for growth.

Fulfillment comes from striving to succeed. 

To survive by your own strength and mind, this is what makes us who we are.

The loss of that ability to strive kills confidence.

Comfort can be a curse, an addiction that erases hope. A hopeless life is a prison.

The prison is not a stone wall or chain-link fence; it is created by your mind. The prison built by the beliefs that you are not good enough, that you are not worthy or capable, or you lack the ability. That mental prison becomes so real - some people never escape.

Everyone has the capacity to do great things; to rise above the everyday and accomplish more.

Sometimes all we need is just a little push, a little encouragement.

Embracing your destiny is the ability to embrace change, instability, and discomfort. Yes, it will be hard. You don’t know what will happen. Yet, you know that by giving up the false securities, you will find more freedom than you have ever experienced. Your confidence will increase because your horizons have expanded.

False Need for Approval

Approval is not love. Love is not approval.

We all need love. No one needs approval.

Love is caring. Love is concern.

Love is respect and appreciation.

Approval is superficial. Approval is only about image.

Most of us confuse approval with love. Most of us confuse acceptance with love.

Love is long- term. Lust and passion are very similar to approval.

The more love we give the more love we will receive. Giving love does not mean you accept or approve, it means you care and them as human and as real as yourself.

When you care about others, you will then be open to also care about yourself. When you can erase the need for approval you can truly care for yourself.

The more love you have for yourself, the more confident you will be. Your beliefs will change and your actions will match those beliefs.

More Vulnerability + Less Need for Approval = More Confidence

Wanting to help is not enough. Your actions must align with your desires. The more confidence you have, the more you can help other people.

Confidence comes from belief. Belief in your value. Belief in your thought process. Belief in your ability to help and cause change. We believe the stories we tell ourselves.

Tell yourself the story of your life the way you want it to turn out. Then act on that story.

I wish I had done it back then. I wish I had done it yesterday.

You can start telling yourself a new story today. 

Comment. Share your experiences. Connect with us. Connect with me. 

Paul "Pablo" Croubalian May 18, 2017 · #16

We've all been there. It hurts at the time. We learn, we move on.

BTW: Right now, you have 14 comments and 26 relevants. Consider sharing this post to Twitter. Add buzz @beBee ( That's the word "buzz" + a space + @beBee ) the end of the text window.

BeBee will tweet-promote it for you. Powered by

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Louise Smith May 17, 2017 · #15

"Confidence is the ability to act in spite of fear."
Sometimes it's about putting that fear in perspective.
What's the worst thing that can happen?
Can I live with that?

Yes I agree " taking action is extremely hard. It is difficult because it requires us to allow the possibility of failure."
So don't think about failure, plan and plan for contingencies.
Be flexible to change on the way to success.

And you're right again @Mareo McCracken "when you give up, that is when you give up control as well "
A well known example - We'd live in a very different world if the Allies in WWII didn't try to believe and persevere and gave up.

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Louise Smith May 17, 2017 · #14

#3 Sounds like you studied Psychology Javier?

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Harvey Lloyd May 17, 2017 · #13

Great thoughts on the challenges of confidence. Confidence is something we lose and gain over time and events. The huge question, as you have displayed is its motivation when we have it or lose it. Confidence drove me in my early years to not get involved unless i fully understood the situation. Never ask a question of the team you don't already know the answer. This was exhausting in preparation.

Today confidence is now a shared experience. Facilitating confidence in the team instead of giving or having is how i approach the process. Success is about equal to other ways but it removed the burden of my own confidence carrying the situation or being butchered.

Great stuff and being broad sided in an area you excel in is challenging to get back into the game.

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David B. Grinberg May 17, 2017 · #12

Nice buzz, Mareo, good lessons learned. I would just add one of many factors regarding boosting one's confidence: faith. Also, try calling your parents, siblings, friends or other relatives who are positive and uplifting. They can help boost sagging confidence. This is important because when others show confidence in us, that helps to build confidence within ourselves.
Lastly, I would just note that there's a fine line -- at least in terms of public perception and personal branding -- which separates self-confidence from cockiness and arrogance. That's a line people need to be mindful of not crossing.
FYI: I've shared in three hives: "Publishers & Bloggers" and "Career Development" and "Lifestyle." Keep buzzing!
cc: @Javier 🐝 beBee @John White, MBA

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Riccardo Marciani May 16, 2017 · #10

Very inspiring @Mareo McCracken! Thank you!

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Giampiero Vilardi May 16, 2017 · #9

Great Producer! I think you're perfectly right! Confidence is one of the most important things to achieve your goals, both personal and professional. Your personal experience and your life could help you to develop your qualities and your confidence too.
Thank you so much for sharing @Mareo McCracken!

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Nancy Walker May 16, 2017 · #8

Good post! Sharing it to my other networks

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