Conviction > Convincing: My Story on Noise, Rent-Free Thoughts, Self-Awareness

Conviction > Convincing: My Story on Noise, Rent-Free Thoughts, Self-Awareness

You know what they say about opinions: everyone has one.

Convincing others of your opinion might seem like a logical step, but more often than not you just waste energy talking to a wall.

Now frame Conviction instead, a word defined as a firmly held belief or opinion.

It doesn't say sharing or explaining it is a prerequisite. It's just a firmly held "something."

And rather than trying to convince you have this philosophy, let me share examples where I've ran across this:

Professional / At Work — Find Cultures Who Share Your Conviction, And Never Settle

When it comes to social media, conviction is something that comes very naturally for me because I'm incredibly curious and follow my curiosities wherever they lead.

My dad always said the key to thinking big is to master the fundamentals. It's in following those curiosities where I can actually test the ideas I have, learn new things, and form my own opinions on various issues.

Enter agency world, where clients have a "we've always done it this way" — and so do the managers.

Enter media world, where platforms have a "best practice" — and people follow case studies rather than problem solve.

I thought having a higher title, or being louder, or working the hardest, was worth it. I did small tests to prove out a bigger hypothesis because I couldn't convince. People said they wanted to "learn" or hear me out.

But we can guess where all that led... nowhere.

Most people in life will model off something that worked. Rather than dissect the fundamentals of something, they play within that best practice. Don't fight; just find the right culture instead.

Conviction > Convincing at Work: Write down your action, not in a way to convince them, but how it'll be done. Think manifesto vs. instruction manual. Timing is everything, and when that opportunity to ask happens, pitch it once. Don't come across as a know-it all; be humble and show your conviction.

Colleagues / Industry Acquaintances — There Is No Playbook, Just Life

A blank open textbook with a pencil on top of it 

For every one thought leader who don't believe you, there are 100 others who believes in your vision.

Most of the time, you're implicitly asking for validation; if anything, you're trying to be convinced yourself.

In the world of clout chasing and influencers, people just want to be heard. It's getting that double-tap like in real life by letting someone understand. Also like social media, the one negative comment sticks out more than the other 100 positives.

Don't try to convince people what you see. Rather, have conviction in yourself, your ideas, and your values.

Conviction > Convincing with Colleagues / Industry Acquaintances: When the convo goes from talking to defensiveness, stop. Move on. Don't debate for the sake of debate. Find people who share your vision, rather than convince them to join.

Customers — Realize There Is No Right Or Wrong, Just Customers

Don't come across as a know-it-all. Period.

Sometimes customers, but more often prospective customers, just want to say their peace.

Objectively speaking, there could be right and wrong — but why convince that one person when there are 100s more who share your brand/product/company's vision.

Learn how to hear that your baby can be ugly. It's not easy... But, if you have conviction — and don't come off like a know-it-all — watch how customers will gravitate, or repel, from the conversation.

Conviction > Convincing with Customers: Remember that being liked, or understood, is not an indicator of sales. (Just look at influencers who gets tons of likes, but no one buys merch.) Spend your energy talking to the people who share the same conviction. For those who don't, learn to move on.

Conclusion — The Secret Is Actually Curiosity and Empathy

Do you have the self-awareness to distinguish between having empathy vs. understanding?

Empathy to listen to others and having optimism about the future allow me to hold onto deep convictions in the things I believe in.

For me conviction is natural; once I believe something, then let curiosity take over. But if you lack empathy, your curiosity will go toward solving said conflict (aka convincing).

Rather, offer the boos and cheers find a seat next to your convictions — but let it be temporary as nothing should sit there rent free.


Originally published on the blockchain under sheckii.eth

Tony Lee (aka @sheckii) is a digital advertising entrepreneur who worked on brands like 20th Century Fox, Sam’s Club, ABC Entertainment, Nintendo, Starz, sweetgreen, outdoor voices, First Republic Bank, Kane’s Furniture and more. He currently works as a lead for Performance Marketing at Shopify for international paid social media acquisition. He’s also the host of welcome to sheckiiville podcast available on Apple and iOS devices.


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