Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Surprisingly enough when it comes to most of life's choices and requirements there actually is one piece of advice that can help almost universally: be confident. Confidence is one of the key things 'required' for attracting the attention of the guy or lady you are looking for, it is one of the key things people look for in a leader, and it is one of the key things people look for in professionalism. No surprise then that confidence can be a key quality to have when it comes to running a game, right? Right. Except, how many times do you let your confidence slip away? I know I do it a lot.

In a way this goes back to what I was posting about last week. Looking at the positive in your games, noticing what you do well, and then executing on them. Part of this takes confidence. You have to be confident not only in your ability to pull off what you want your game to have, but also in your players to play through the event and make it more memorable in their own way as well. This was something I'd lost, and I can't say for sure if I actually have it back now, just that I at least now recognize that it is gone.

How do I know? Well, I can see it in some of my actions. The uncertain way that, as a player, I'd back down whenever someone else was talking instead of making room for that player but also keeping my hat in the mix. In the self doubt I'd feel when running a game and being unsure if I had stacked the odds too far in one side or another. My lack of confidence in myself as a player and a GM made more room for doubts, and eventually I wasn't having as much fun.

But why am I telling you this? Because I've seen the difference between myself when I'm confident and when I'm not. I've seen the difference in other GMs around me when they're confident and when they're not. The same is true for players. It makes a big difference. You may not even notice that it is lacking until it is too late.

So how do you gain confidence? Well, that's the tricky part. Start by focusing on having fun. Notice how when the game is fun, and you are having fun, others will likely also be having fun. Embrace that feeling, do what you can to keep it going. Be bold, be daring, and roll with it. You'll come out the other end eventually. More to the point, once you realize it's not a big deal to act a bit silly from time to time, you'll have more confidence next time you need to.

Embrace it, have fun with it. It's just a game after all, right?

1 comment:

  1. This has got to be one of those "Top 5" topics, for GM'ing anyway.

    Trying to increase your own confidence, I think, can be like pushing on a string - tricky, as you say. For me, somewhat stemming from my work, the path to confidence is largely in my "process".

    Going to the powerful "ask yourself questions" tool, I'm asking myself, "What would it take in my preparation for me to enter a session feeling confident that I was fully-prepped." My confidence challenges, and perhaps others', are rooted in my preparation and how I feel about it. I've typically been inadvertently working on my lack of confidence for at least a week before sitting down to GM my bi-weekly game. Which isn't to say I feel terrible about it in that week preceding a session...but I'm sowing mental seeds of uncertainty. I'm not confident in my process for preparing.

    So I'm very focused right now on getting my preparation process TIGHT. I'm guessing the way most of us prepare for the games we run came about because we just started doing it that way - rather than because we gave a lot of thought to what is the best way for me to prepare. I'm finding there's a big difference.

    Right now I'm reading "Never Unprepared" on this very subject & recommend it to those interested in exploring/reviewing your own GM preparation process.

    Bringing this back to the subject of confidence, working on your preparation process is NOT like pushing on a string - it's something you can really sink your teeth into - and is incredibly worthwhile, since you're going to be doing it again & again & again.

    Then to your point A.L., once I have a repeatable preparation process I can really be confident in - go into that session and HAVE FUN. Boom...that combination is going to produce a great session...it just is.