Do you have the confidence to take the next step for your business success?
The success of any business is dependent on the people in it. For many of you, either operating as solopreneurs or with small teams you are your business. So the growth of your business is linked to your growth. That can feel like a daunting prospect but taking up that challenge and growing yourself and your business can be one of the most rewarding experiences you will have.
Key to taking that step is confidence and business confidence is about your confidence in yourself. People buy from people they know like and trust, so if you lack belief and conviction why would someone do business with you? Our confidence is the greatest personal resource we have, with it we feel we can face any situation, without it we can be defeated before we even start. So you may have a great business plan, a clear marketing strategy, an exceptional service or an innovative product but without the confidence to take the necessary action none of that matters.
What do we mean when we talk about confidence?
Our confidence comes from feelings of well-being, acceptance of ourself and belief in our ability, skills and experience. We grow in confidence from being effective; learning new skills and achieving our goals. Also an individual can be confident in one area of their life but lack confidence in another. Not the same thing, but overlapping with confidence is self-esteem. Our self-esteem comes from the idea that we are of value and deserve to be happy. People with low self-esteem lack confidence but the two are not mutually exclusive.
So how can we grow in confidence?
Well some of the actions to help us grow in confidence are directly linked to where our confidence comes from. Things like just taking action, continuing to learn new skills, taking the time to acknowledge and celebrate successes will strengthen those confidence muscles. However I recently worked with a client who had become stuck in a loop where she just needed one more training course, and then she would be ready to ‘really’ launch her coaching business. In fact she was ready, she didn’t need more training; she needed to take a risk and start working with clients. As can often be the case, it was fear holding her back and this is what we invariably find when we seek to understand our lack of confidence.
A fundamental route to having more confidence is becoming more self-aware. Our relationship with ourself informs everything else. What you tell yourself, how you see yourself, what you believe is possible for yourself, creates the results you achieve. Getting to know yourself involves recognising and acknowledging how you can help and hinder yourself. Identifying ‘what helps’ ie your strengths, reinforces them and builds confidence and identifying ‘what hinders’ or weaknesses opens up a way forward, which also builds confidence as it creates a feeling of being in control. Becoming more self-aware gives us options and choices which in itself empowers. A study by Cornell (to identify the top traits of successful business leaders) determined that a high self-awareness score was the strongest predictor of overall success.
So that may sound well and good but what does it look like in practice? To start developing your relationship with yourself you need to start to notice your reactions. For example when you are preparing for a sales presentation, how do you react – how do you feel? If you feel anxious or afraid you have a decision to make. You can ignore those feelings and hope for the best or you can listen to that information and choose to do something different. The fear is telling you something is missing, that you need something; it might be more information, more preparation, some feedback or more practice on your pitch. Imagine how much more confident you will be when you listen to that feeling and take the action you need, rather than going into the situation still feeling anxious.
Confidence is not something that can be gained through quick fixes, rather it’s something to work towards on an ongoing basis – perhaps with the support of a coach or mentor.
Here are 5 actions you can take today
- Identify your strong points… then list areas where you see a need to improve as well. Chances are, if you’re like the majority of people, you have a tendency to focus on what you don’t do well. Instead, start getting to know yourself by recognising what it is that you do well.
- Take an inventory of your habits. We all have them good and bad, recognise what they are and how they affect you, are they taking you closer to your goals? A lot of success comes from positive habitual behaviour – for example starting each day reflecting on what you want to achieve, ending each day recognising your successes.
- Know what motivates you. Knowing what motivates you is an important part of becoming more self-aware. It’s no secret that in order to live life to the fullest, we have to be able to motivate ourselves.
- Write down your core values. Your values are the building blocks of how you live your life. They are such an integral part of how we live, that we adhere to them without really thinking about it. Often our values come from our upbringing – so they may no longer be right for you today. Clarifying what is important to you, is a key step in knowing who you are and what you stand for. This is the route to true personal power and confidence.
- Consider asking for honest feedback. We all have blind spots about ourselves and our impact on others, and although greater self-awareness helps us to become more honest with ourselves, it’s also important to get that external view. To continue to grow and develop you need feedback on what you’re doing well and what isn’t working. Learn to accept the positive feedback fully!
Building up your self-awareness builds your self-confidence. You gain clarity about who you are and what you believe in, and this can only help as you grow into your fullest potential. And this is the powerful foundation to realising the potential of your business.
How do you boost your confidence? Let us know in the comments below.
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