May 04, 2006
Confidence Is KeyTweet
I recognized at an early age that confidence was a valuable asset. Being confident could take you places you wouldn't normally be able to reach. Here are two stories of how being confident helped me get to where I wanted to be (but maybe shouldn't have)...
I started working as a Disc Jockey the summer after grade 11, which would have put me at 16 years old. It was a very exciting job for a teenager to have, not the least of which was I got to drink alcoholic beverages while I was playing music. Actually, some times I was expected to - when the father of the groom walks up and says "good job!" and hands you a drink, you don't want insult him, so you take the drink. (Thankfully, I did not end up being an alcoholic after 11 years on that job... but I know many who did)
One thing that being a disc jockey does do for you is give you confidence. Well, it has to - either that, or you end up quitting the job. You just can't stand up in front of hundreds of strangers at a wedding, all staring at you, and mutter away on the microphone; you have to speak with authority and conviction. Once you start doing that, then you begin to understand the influence that you have over this crowd of people (but, that's another story).
Some time around May of 1988 when I was 17 years old, a few friends and I were headed to a party. Naturally, we needed to pick up some beer for the party. Although I don't remember who I was with, I do remember that there were four of us, and none of us were of legal drinking age (which was 19 at the time). Nobody else was stepping up to the plate, so I volunteered to go into the liquor board store and buy the beer.
I walked in, grabbed two dozen beer, and waited in line to pay. When I reached the checkout counter, the clerk looked at my purchase, looked at me, and then asked, "Do you have identification?"
"Of course," I replied, and then started to reach into my pocket for my wallet.
"Oh, OK, thanks."
I hesitated... "so, you don't want to see it?" I queried.
"No, that's OK, if you're so willing to pull it out, you must be 19."
Well, wasn't that a shock. I told my friends about this after I got into the car, and they laughed and asked if I had fake ID.
"No, I don't have fake ID."
With a stunned look on their faces, one of them then asked, "what would you have done if she didn't stop you?"
"I would have shown her my ID."
"Showing that you are 17?"
"And then what?"
"Well, the worst that could have happened was that she wouldn't sell me the beer. So what? There's nothing really bad about that. Except that we wouldn't have any beer, of course."
So there we sat for a few seconds in the car, three of them staring at me and thinking about that last comment. I don't know if they felt enlightened or just thought I was crazy.
Fast forward a few years to 2005...
My wife and I were in Nashville, sitting in the third floor concession area of a large stadium. Security at this event was higher than most... they were checking bags and such, yes, but they also had security people at each and every escalater, elevator and stair well. Everyone (my wife and I included) had plastic badges around our necks to indicate which areas we were supposed to be allowed in.
I decided that I wanted to get back down to ground level so I could see if there were any nice T-shirts for sale. We had taken the escalator up to the third floor, but I didn't want to take it back down since I though it was slow. So I walked over to an elevator in the corner, and looking directly at the security guard I asked, "will this elevator take me to the first floor?"
Ask the wrong question, get the wrong answer.
"Yes, it will" she replied, and proceeded to open the doors for me, turn a key to unlock something, and then push the button marked "1". I stepped in, the doors closed, and I thought, "that was strange. I wonder why she needed to use a key."
The elevator stopped, the doors opened, and I stepped out. Then I looked around, confused - this wasn't ground level. Where was I? I wandered around for a bit, and it became obvious to me that I was below ground level. It was also obvious that I wasn't supposed to be there, as I could see stage hands loading equipment onto the stadium stage (yes, I was back stage). I spotted a man sitting on a golf cart nearby, and walked over to him. I immediately admitted to him, "I don't think I'm supposed to be here"
With a smile on his face, he replied, "where do you want to go?"
No, no, this is going all wrong I thought. He isn't understanding that this is a secure area and I'm basically trespassing. So, ignoring that issue, I gave him explicit directions, "I want to be up one level. I want ground floor."
"Sure, hop on!"
So there I was, being escorted through the back stage area while a major concert was being prepared, given a ride on a golf cart by some man eager to take me wherever I wanted to go. It was a strange feeling.
Posted by Hammer at May 4, 2006 10:40 AM
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