When you got it-flaunt it! That saying was created in 1967 as a theme for an outrageously memorable Braniff Airlines advertising campaign that featured some of the worlds oddest couples, exchanging the screwiest and most sophisticated chatter heard on TV.

George Lois, an absolutely fearless American art director, designer, and author paired Pop Art guru Andy Warhol with clueless Heavyweight Boxing Champion Sonny Liston. Clueless because Sonny had no idea who this arty Cat was sitting next to him.

In the TV spot Warhol explains, “ Of course, remember there is an inherent beauty in soup cans that Michelangelo could not have imagined existed.” Andy continues on as Sonny looks incredulously right at him and at the end Warhol turns to the camera and throws the tag line out, “When you got it – flaunt it”.

I was 10 years old in 1967 so, I should remember those Braniff commercials. But, I don’t. I sure remember the saying though. It’s great. It’s one of those ad slogans that become part of our English vernacular. You know like “Been there, done that” (Mountain Dew), “Be all you can be” (U.S. Army), “This is your brain on drugs” (Partnership for a Drug-Free America) and “Pardon me, but would you have any Grey Poupon?”

When you got it-flaunt it, is that arrogance or confidence? Practical confidence comes from inside you and has no relation to external events. You can’t expect yourself to be confident only after you have been successful. It’s the other way around. You become confident before you require yourself to be successful. Damn, I know, another one of those things that just makes shit harder. Now I have to take responsibility for being confidant too? I was hoping to wait until I had verifiable proof that I was kicking ass before I could become confident. Nope, this is on you also. Which should be a really freeing thing. Imagine that, you can have confidence anytime you want. And it doesn’t matter what is going on around you. Yep, confidence is a choice not a result.

I know I don’t have to sell you on the idea that confidence is important. What I’m selling is that confidence is something that you can develop. It’s easy to be confident when the all the stars are aligned in your favor, when the moment is perfect. But, what about when things are not going great? How do you dredge up the strength to “Flaunt it”?

One thing you could do is spend the time to be great at something. Mastery of something in your life gives you a spill over effect. “If I can do it with this, than there is no reason why can’t I do that.”

Another thing is change how you present your self physically.

Practice power positions: spread out, take up space, and keep your chin raised. It’ll change your internal chemisty; it’s crazy I know, but it’s true. I wrote about this a while ago; https://tommymcwilliams.wordpress.com/2015/06/12/feel-like-a-rock-star-in-only-two-minutes/. Faking it for a meager two minutes not just to make it but also to actually become it.

Scientists have found that confidence is part genetic. But genetics only accounts for 30%. Some people are just born more confident. The other part is called volitional. That means it’s your choice to make. You choose to be confident. Now, I was not the one who received the “confidence” gene. I have come to realize I have to always work at it; sometimes it’s fun, sometimes it sucks. I work on it all the time.

In seeking success in business or anything else in life, confidence matters more than competence. In other words your competence is judged by how confident you appear [don’t make me have to use Donald Trump as an example again.] The leaders in any group are always the ones who project that most confidence whether they are the most competent or not. It does take some energy. It’s kinda exhausting exuding confidence at all times, especially in new situations. Which, by the way, is exactly how to practice your confidence – when you don’t feel it naturally.

Confidence is what divides those who want to “do” with those who “do”. Plain and simple. Every risk you take, every step you take, every time you get outside your comfort zone it’s like paying into your “confidence account” it starts to build. Unless you pay it into the Bank Of America “confidence account” then they hit you up with a bunch of fees.

Confidence is often a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more confident you appear the more confident you are.

So, here is the big take-away; confidence is what turns your thoughts into action. Without it you are standing on the outside, you are not living up to your potential and you are not kicking ass the way you know you could be. The process of taking the risk, acting “as if” and proceeding with confidence is exactly how you actually gain confidence. It’s like the Circle Of Life, to be confident you have to act confident and when you act confident you become confident.

“When you got it-flaunt it” became synonymous with George Lois’s career and is now used in popular culture to recognize any hip, outspoken personality. As George Lois [the coiner of the phrase] explains in his fab little Phaidon Press book, Damn Good Advice [For People With Talent], “So if or when you are on the road to fame and fortune, some sound advice: When you got it-flaunt it.” In other words be confident.