Confidence in what you’re pitching. Confidence in the work you do for clients. Confidence in yourself. Are those things different? Can you have one without the others? Or, better question, can you do something about it if you find one wavering?!? As an entrepreneur in charge of keeping a million balls in the air and being responsible for untold facets of your company- all while not totally knowing if your company’s going to even exist next year- the confidence question is one that needs to be settled. Luckily, the answer to the last question is yes, there is something you can do about your confidence if it is wavering.
Many think overcoming a lack of confidence takes years on a couch painfully recounting all the “skeletons from your closet” to a therapist. Or that it can be boosted with a few well-worded positive affirmations posted around your office and chanted every hour on the hour. Neither could be further from the truth.
Significant gains in confidence are only made with an earnest commitment to learning skills if needed, practice, and upgrading one’s mindset.
What we often think of as “confidence” is actually a collection of beliefs that we think need to be true in order for us to feel self-assured or optimistic. I’ve listed some of the main beliefs I’ve heard over the years when it comes to being an entrepreneur. Read through the lists and answer experience of “yes”, “sometimes”, “no” to each belief.
- I believe in the product or service I am pitching.
- I believe I can communicate what I do in a manner that others will see my value.
- I believe I know my stuff, can answer in depth questions or admit when I don’t know something.
- I believe in my ability to keep doing whatever is needed every step of the way and bounce back from rejection.
- I believe I’m a good person and that’s not indicated by the acceptance of my pitch or project.
- I believe the outcome or results of the product or service I’m pitching will always happen just as I say.
- I believe I can always persuade others to see things my way and buy/invest in me.
- I believe I can always answer others’ questions.
- I believe that everything will always go the way I want them to go.
- I believe others agree that I’m a good person because they accept my pitch or project.
List 1 reflects the part of the confidence equation relating to what you can control: your skills, experience, and mindset. If you answered “yes” to a statement in List 1 then you are on solid ground to “feel confident” in that area. Meaning, you have the skills to execute on that belief. Nice!
If you answered “sometimes” or “no” to any in the first list, it indicates an area of growth for you. Use it to point you in the direction of acquiring or enhancing specific skills. As you grow in these areas, you will feel more confident. Real confidence, not artificial confidence.
Don’t feel bad if you answered “no” or “sometimes” to any of these. They don’t reflect your ability or aptitude, just an honest appraisal of where you are in relation to those skills.
If you’re wanting “confidence” in your business, your ideas and yourself, work on these areas and see your feelings of confidence skyrocket!
List 2 reflects the part of the confidence equation that you can’t control (bummer!) It is the part of business and working with people, however, that we often rely on to determine our level of “confidence”. Unfortunately, it is the least accurate. Somewhere along the line, in our desire to feel control and reassured, we convince ourselves that the beliefs in List 2 have to be “true” in order for us to feel confident in our ideas or ourselves. We conflate guarantee with confidence in ourselves or our ideas.
Real confidence is built on shoring up what you can control and recognizing what you can’t.
Reflect on your answers to List 2. If you answered “yes” or “sometimes” to any of them it’s time for a mindset shift. Sure, it would be nice if you could always count on things going your way but that isn’t realistic.
So the mindset shift is to recognize that you can feel confident even if you can’t control the outcome.
This mindset shift can occur just by deciding to shift.
You don’t need any fancy intervention or years with Freud. Simply practice shifting away from connecting your “confidence” with anything on List 2. The more you practice this shift, the more separate these beliefs will be from your feelings of confidence. Before you know it, you’ll be feeling stronger and more grounded in “real” confidence!