Top Gun Confidence Training

Here’s a guest post on confidence training from my friend  and fellow Brighton trainer Viv Craske:


“What would Tom Cruise do?” Think you’re good at business? Confidence trainer Viv Craske says that Tom Cruise knows how to make you Top Gun in your market…

Tom Cruise is wearing a beret at a rakish angle and “Hollywood getup”. It’s the early 80s, and Tom’s trademark smile is making it big in Hollywood with his role in Risky Business. But this weekend he’s returned to visit teenage friends in New Jersey. “He just looked silly,” said Diane Van Zoeren, who pointed out that a French beret at a beach party was a tad pretentious. But Tom, radiating confidence, takes his ex-girlfriend aside and says, “I have taken Hollywood by the balls!” Tom is no stranger to doing stupid things. The jumping on Oprah’s couch, berating Brooke Shields for using prescription drugs during her post-partum depression, promoting Scientology… But, Tom is also awesome at a number of things, most notably, having total and utter confidence in everything he does. We could all do with a bit more Tom Cruise in us.

I wonder what your Achilles’ heel is in business. It’s okay, I won’t tell anyone. I wonder if it’s cold calling, team building, negotiation, disciplinary meetings, presentation skills, pitching… Whatever it is that you least enjoy doing 9 to 5, I want you to ask yourself “What would Tom Cruise do?”

The winning smile. The one-arm hug. The direct eye contact. He’d be awesome, that’s what. Why? Because he’s got Top Gun Confidence and you could too. Here’s how

1. Break down the problem

Confidence = Competence + How You Feel.

Take your business Achilles’ heel and ask yourself, “What would make me better at this? More skills? Feeling less stressed, anxious or nervous about doing it? Or a bit of both?”

What percentage of the problem would be solved by having more competence, i.e. getting more business skills?

What percentage of the problem would be solved by feeling less stressed, nervous or anxious, and more confident, i.e. changing how you feel?

2. Model an expert

If Tom Cruise needed to learn a skill, whether that was learning to be a samurai, a secret spy or a cocktail mixologist, he’d go find someone who was absolutely awesome at doing that thing and he’d learn how to be awesome too. He’d get the skills he needed.

In NLP, we call this ‘modeling’, I call it ‘copying’. While your business may not have much need for samurai sword skills, you can apply this strategy to anything, from learning how to deliver great sales calls, to motivating your team. If you want to learn business skills, learn it from those who are excellent at it, not those who are average.  Do exactly what they do – every step – then experiment by dropping various steps to discover the essential elements of your new skill.

3. Feel awesome

Now you’ve learned from an expert how to turn your Achilles’ heal into just an everyday foot (perhaps still a foot you still don’t like that much, but a run-of-the-mill foot nonetheless), now you need to sort out how you feel.

Some people think you’re born with Top Gun Confidence, that you’ve either got it or you don’t. I work with clients showing them how to beat anxiety and build confidence. Many of my clients make dramatic improvements in their mental state within 4 to 8 weeks of practicing the skills and strategies I teach them. Some don’t. But many other people in business never discover how to feel better about the things that stress them out.

Early in Cruise’s career, Paul Newman told Tom that you should “decide what to worry about”. He took that advice to heart. When Tom split with girlfriend Rebecca De Mornay in 1985, de said: “When something is not working, you have to face it and move on,”

But when it comes to fear of public speaking, or sales calls, for example, and our fight or flight response kicks in, you can’t just overcome it by just deciding not to worry about it.

There are a number of simple, and often powerful, techniques I can show you to beat anxiety and build confidence in business – ways of changing your mental state, your breathing and your body language, to project confidence and to really feel it too.

It’s 1985, and Cruise is in a meeting with Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer about playing the part of Maverick in Top Gun. Cruise is offered the part, despite being five foot seven – one inch shorter than the minimum height requirement to be a fighter pilot.

Cruise had his doubts, worrying the movie would be “Flashdance in the sky”. Not yet a household name, with little pulling power, he argued he would only sign up if he was involved in the whole production, asking for two months to work on the script, choosing his co-stars, overseeing the directing and editing. He flashed his winning smile and boldly asked for what he wanted, He got it, and Cruise’s standing in Hollywood went through the roof.

What if you had the confidence to ask for what you want and deserve in your job, your business, your career, your life…? How awesome would that be?

To find out how awesome you can be in your career,  email me at for a free 20-minute Business Confidence SuperBoost, or visit

Attend my talk: Top Gun Confidence (What Tom Cruise Knows About Being Confident That You Don’t) at the Brighton Yes Group on Thursday July 29th

About Viv:

Hi, I’m Viv Craske, and I’m on a mission to help 1 million people achieve their dreams, so that you can say ‘Yes I can!’ when you move towards your goals and come up against obstacles. I train managers, MDs and teams in selling confidently, negotiation skills and advanced persuasion and influence strategies to help them close more deals, feel more assertive and build confidence in their company, leaving them less stressed and with more time to have fun. I am the author of ‘30 Days To Confidence’.