Be Confident - Don't Self-Sabotage
Updated: Jul 4
Confidence is at the core of success. Of course, it's natural for confidence to ebb and flow. We all get pulled into a whirlpool of negative thoughts, reluctance, fears, and perplexity. We just need to learn how not to get stuck in it.
The amygdala is clearly on a mission of doing what it does best – hijacking your emotions! This little almond shaped dude in our brains processes fearful and threatening stimuli. It detects threats and activates fear-related behaviours. Basically, it is trying to keep you safe from things you fear. Interesting fact: this is also where the fight-or-flight response is activated.
Anyway, Biology lesson over.
When you find yourself being drawn in by indecision, hesitation, and doubt, pull yourself up. I mean this literally - sit up or stand up (this physically removes you from associating the negative feeling to the position you were in). Take a deep breath and slowly breathe out. You’ve heard of the Superhero Pose right? (be sure to read my Superhero Pose blog). We cannot fall prey to our insecurities because they are our greatest blocks to our success.
A few signs that you’re lacking confidence.
You don’t know your worth: If you’re pricing your services too low, this could in fact lose you business. If you’re nervous about increasing your rates, then inch them up slowly. KNOW your worth!
You’re always apologising: Are your sentences starting off with the words “I’m sorry”? Yes? Well STOP it! Remove the word “sorry” altogether – unless, of course, you’re genuinely apologising for something you’ve done to hurt/upset someone, like you’ve broken your mother’s most treasured vase, or you’ve lied to your best friend. Anything along those lines, then yes it goes without saying! Apologise profusely! But for no other reason. If you find yourself saying things like “I’m sorry, but I don’t understand.” (try “Thanks for this but I don’t quite understand…”), or “I’m sorry for the delay.” (try “Thank you for your patience...”), or “I’m sorry for this mistake.” (try “I take responsibility for my error…”). Anything that starts with “I’m sorry, but…” simply remove those words. OWN yourself. Be more assertive.
You over-explain: Be brief, be more high level in what you’re saying. No need for full blown detailed explanations unless asked, or absolutely necessary for the point you’re getting across. If you over-explain things, it can come across as not believing in what you’re saying or what you’re offering. Remember this, especially when trying to ‘sell’ yourself and your services. Businesses/people buy into people Once they’ve bought into you, they will buy into your services/products. Show them that you have a passion for what you do and how you can help them.
You’re an overthinker and always over-question yourself: Okay so we need to question things. And we need to question our decisions, choices etc, but be sure to do it with refined energy and consideration. Don’t over complicate. Whatever the question, refine it. You need to pinpoint and consider what you’re questioning exactly. This way, you can carefully and intelligently question what you need, then run through it to make sure it makes sense for the purpose/action at hand. Make sure it’s not generally (for e.g., don’t question your entire toolbox of abilities, but target which of those abilities relating to the task/idea at hand is the one you’re questioning). Question the actual subject that you need to invest time in thinking about to be sure it’s correct for you/your business.
You stray off the path: You’ve made the decision to start your business. You know what you want to do, offer, and sell. You’ve done your extensive market research to be sure the time you’re about to invest in building this business is viable. You’ve designed a plan (strategy plan/business plan), or both. Don’t get distracted. Focus on your plan, tackle your goals, and reach those business objectives. Once you’ve pulled your first business ‘draft’ together, revisit and review it against the original plan. Consider whether your original goals and objectives make sense still and then, only then, decide what changes/additions, etc. need to be made. If something doesn’t work out, feel right, doesn’t align with your vision, etc. don’t be afraid to pivot, or at the least add another pathway to your business plan map.
You easily dismiss compliments: If you’re constantly dismissing compliments, whether big or small, you are seriously lacking in confidence. Instead of immediately and naturally waving it away, take a moment, look into the eyes of the person giving it to you (if they’re in front of you that is!), listen to it, hear it, accept it, and acknowledge it. Start enjoying them and believing them. Add them to your compliment pocket! Try using your little pocket of compliments for whenever you feel down, or in doubt. Pick one out and remember that positive compliment you were given.
You don’t ask for help! Entrepreneurs don’t go it alone. They may potentially start off that way, but they don’t do it all without at least some form of support. They often even hire mentors and coaches. They make the most of family, friends, professional connections and of course, they utilise their employees.
Constantly seek approval from others: If you’re always looking for validation and approval from others, this is a clear-cut sign that you are insecure in yourself, let alone in your pathway to setting up and running a successful business. I mean positive affirmation and feedback are great to receive but stop depending on reassurances from others. Follow your inner compass. Go with your instincts. Go with what aligns with your values and passions. After all, your passion for what you’re selling as a service/product, is what originally drove you to start this in the first place right? (and your passion for a better work-life balance of course!). So, take ownership of them, be proud of them. Be confident of them!
You take on any and every client: Being a self-employed business gives you so many opportunities. You are finally your own boss, you dictate your own hours, your processes, and systems. You name it, it’s all up to you! Even to the point of picking and choosing the right clients for you. Now don’t get me wrong, when I first launched by business, I was petrified of everything! Would it even work? Had I wasted all the time I’d invested in building it? How would I find clients? Would I even get any clients? (and so many more damning questions that almost threw me off the edge causing me to give up right there and then!). So I’m not saying say no to clients you’re not ‘into’, after all, the more you try, the more you learn. The more clients (whether aligned with you and your values, or not) you ‘trial’ by supporting them, the better for you. You gain more experience, you get your name/brand out there and when your confidence has increased, you get to say no to clients that aren’t quite the right fit for you.
You allow failure to encompass you: We all fail at some stage, whether on a personal level or professional. It’s all trial and error until you get it right – for you. You have to keep going though. Don’t let it define you. Don’t let it take you down! Think of your failure as a frown and turn it upside down! Turn it into a positive and use it as a learning opportunity. Review the failure, analyse it, understand it and apply the lessons learnt to the next attempt. And certainly, don’t harp on this failure. Move on!
You are a procrastinator: And therefore, you lack clarity. If you’re unclear on what you need to drive your business forward, then setting it up, let alone kick-starting it, is going to drag on to the point of potentially never getting started. Be sure to be clear on your vision, your values, and your plan. Invest the initial time creating your business plan and run all the way to the finish line with it. Enjoy it. A lot of setting up a business, albeit hard work, can also be fun.
You’re afraid of everything: When you find you need to do something that scares you, try Take a deep breath, and count 1, 2, 3. Then just DO IT! As a small molecule of an example of many of my fears, I used to be so shit scared of going to my manager for things. Okay, so this was years ago when I was a very quiet, insecure person lacking in anything confidence related. My wife hardly believes I was ever that person, with who I am now - confident and assertive! But we’ve all been in that place. So, recognise it and take control of it. I’m not saying be obnoxious, disrespectful, or unprofessional. I’m simply saying start taking control of your fears. And if this is where is needs to start, then do it now. After all, remind yourself, they’re human too. They bleed blood, and poop poop just like every other human. We all deserve respect.
Visit my Superhero Pose blog.
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