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PPI #149: How To Turn Awkwardness Into Confidence

Eric Partaker

How To Turn Awkwardness Into Confidence // Want to know how to turn awkwardness into confidence and be confident in any situation. We have all experienced awkwardness at some point in our lives and it’s a very uncomfortable feeling. In this video, I’m going to teach you how to put those days behind you so you can build self confidence and self esteem, believe in yourself more and overcome insecurity. Time to learn and apply the habits of successful people to reach your full potential in life.


Be In This Moment! – When you’re sitting in a state of awkwardness, focused on yourself, you are not able to engage properly with others around you. Instead, be curious, get into the habit of asking simple curiosity based questions.

Failing To Prepare, Is Preparing To Fail – Take time developing the skills which you struggle with. Translate the awkwardness into confidence and engage effortlessly.

More Proactive – Seek out situations which make you feel awkward. Those stressful situations are the very things which will build your confidence and strength.

Show Your Vulnerability – Openly talk about your vulnerability. Discuss your most awkward moments. Share some of your embarrassing stories. People respect those who are open about their vulnerability.

Their Opinion Is Not Your Reality! – Let go of what others think of you. You cannot control what people say about you, but what you can control is how you react to those statements. Choose not to hear them. Think past them!

Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day – Be firm but not too hard on yourself. Behaviour changes take time. Focus on getting a bit better each and every day.


Have you ever experienced awkwardness in life? You know, that feeling that you’re doing something slightly out of place or not in the way that others seem to be able to do it? Most of us have, but awkwardness shouldn’t be the thing that stops you. Instead, you can actually turn that awkwardness into confidence. And today I’m going to do exactly that by showing you some simple steps of how you can turn awkwardness into confidence and become the very best version of you.

My name is Eric Partaker, and I’ve been recognized as the CEO of the year. And I’m also the author of two best-selling books, including The 3 Alarms. Now you may think that you’re doomed to just be an awkward person in life, but that’s just simply not true. When I was growing up, I felt super awkward when it came to playing sports. I grew up in Chicago and I so desperately wanted to play basketball, to be on the basketball team.

But the problem was is I was awkward when it came to playing basketball because I was so bad at the sport that whenever I would play nobody would want me on their team and they would just make fun of me. And I would never score basically and always lose the ball. But then I decided to do something about it. I set myself a goal. I wanted to make the varsity high school basketball team. And I was in my sophomore year, my second year of high school. And every morning that year I would take my basketball and I would go to the park right before I’d start getting ready for school, just to shoot around and just to practice my skills. And I did that day after day after day. Sometimes it wouldn’t make it every single day of the week, but I kept trying. And then sure enough, junior year, my third year of high school, I tried out for the basketball team and I still didn’t have the skill level of everyone else, but something quite cool and magical happened.

I made the team. And one of the reasons that I made the team was the coach said, “I could see that your heart was so into this. I could see that even though your skill level wasn’t as high as the other players that you really wanted this and that you were really trying.” And do you know where that effort came from? That effort came from me turning that awkwardness into confidence. I eventually turned that awkwardness into the confidence to be able to try out and compete against all the other players who definitely had a higher level of skill than me, but I still showed up. I still got it done, and I made that basketball team.

So the first thing that you can do to turn your awkwardness into confidence is actually focus on being in the moment. Often when you’re feeling those feelings of awkwardness, they prevent you from fully engaging with people around you. But if you fully engage with people around you, it is a path to developing more confidence. And the simple way to try to be more in the moment, it’s not to say to yourself, okay, be more present, be more in the moment. It doesn’t really work that way in my experience. It’s best to just be curious. Curiosity is your path to being more in the moment, to be more fully engaged, which helps translate that awkwardness into confidence. Because when we’re sitting there in that state of feeling awkward, we’re so focused on ourselves that we can’t actually engage properly with those around us. And then that just perpetuates the awkwardness because then people can feel that as well, and it’s just this vicious circle.

So practice being in the moment, but do that through curiosity. What do I mean by that? I mean, by getting into the habit of asking just simple curiosity based questions. People give us an endless amount of paths to take a conversation through with the things that they say. And instead of just stopping at their first answer, response to particular question that you might have, or that somebody else might ask them, be curious. Ask the next level down. So for example, if you’re in a conversation and somebody asks somebody what they do for a living and they say, “I’m an electrical engineer.” Jump in with a curiosity based question. Oh, so why did you choose that? What was so exciting about engineering that made you want to go down that path? Ask that next level of down. Be curious. And by being curious, it creates presence. It engages you more in the conversation. And when you’re more engaged in what’s going on around you, you become less focused on your own awkwardness. And then therefore you become more confident, you project more confidence and you feel a lot better.

The second thing that you can do to turn awkwardness into confidence is to just be more prepared. As I explained earlier with my story about making the basketball team, that was something only achieved through preparation. I was awkward, so awkward on the basketball court. I was just hysterical to watch and look at, but I worked on it. I prepared. I really developed those skills. And you can apply preparation to skill development as I’m explaining just now, or you can also apply it to simple things. So for example, if you find small talk terrifying and that those moments when you have to engage in small talk, if that really brings out your awkwardness, well, then be a bit more prepared on small talk topics. For example, read up a little bit about current events or understand what’s going on within a particular industry or situation or area or whatever might relate, for example, to the group of people that you’re going to be seeing or speaking with. And then that can help translate that awkwardness into confidence when that preparation allows you do engage more effortlessly in conversations or simply get the conversation started with others.

The third thing that you can do to translate awkwardness into confidence is to be more proactive. So actively seek out the situations that make you feel awkward. Those stressful situations are the very things that will build your confidence and strength. The more times that you expose yourself to the things that make you feel out of place, the more over time you will feel it place. There’s no chance of feeling less awkward in a situation by constantly viewing that situation from the outside. You need to be in it. For example, going back once again to my basketball story, I would have never overcame my awkwardness if I just sat there and just visualized what it would be to play in a non-awkward way. I had to go in and do it and practice the skills. And it’s the same thing with whatever’s making you feel awkward, be proactive.

Now this next one will seem counter intuitive, but one of the best ways to overcome your awkwardness or translate into confidence is to actually show your vulnerability. Talk about your most awkward moments. Share some of those embarrassing stories or from those moments where you perhaps felt out of place. By doing that, it actually makes people respect you more. And by you demonstrating your vulnerability and your comfort with your own awkwardness, people become a lot more comfortable with sharing the same about themselves. Nobody’s perfect and demonstrating your vulnerability actually makes people feel more safe and more likely to engage with you.

Next up is let go of people’s opinions about you. You can’t control what people will say about you, but what you can control is how you react to those statements. You can choose to not hear them, or you can choose to just think past them, but don’t be consumed by what other people are saying about you. And if you want to take it a step further, if somebody says something about you, don’t just discard it immediately. Ask yourself, “Well, is there a piece of constructive feedback in there?” Something that I can learn or benefit from that would help me translate my awkwardness into confidence.

Last but not least, be firm but not too hard on yourself. Recognize Rome wasn’t built in a day. And that behavior change takes time. And if you’re trying to change what you view as awkward behavior or ways of being so that you become more confident, just focus on getting a little bit better each and every day. And then some days you’ll have plateaus. And even other days you might take a step down in order to take two steps up, but stick with it. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Practice self compassion. And in totality, all of these things can help you translate your awkwardness into confidence. And I’d love to hear from you, so don’t forget to leave a comment and a rating as well. And if you’d like to get a copy of my new book, The 3 Alarms, please head over to my website at That’s E-R-I-C,, where you can pick up a free digital copy of my new best-selling book, The 3 Alarms.

Eric has been named "CEO of the Year" at the 2019 Business Excellence Awards, one of the "Top 30 Entrepreneurs in the UK" by Startups Magazine, and among "Britain's 27 Most Disruptive Entrepreneurs" by The Telegraph.

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