When I meet with my business consulting clients to talk about challenges they’re facing in their work, there is one single core issue that’s at the heart of almost any problem and it may not be what you think.
It’s not a financial issue. It’s not a time issue. It’s a CONFIDENCE issue.
And that lack of self-confidence keeps people from doing their best work in lieu of doing whatever work comes their way. It keeps them from reaching out to the perfect prospective client or partner to create their dream project or product. And it definitely keeps them from charging what they’re worth for their services. This confidence issue keeps them doing things because they think they “have to” instead of doing the work they want to. It holds them back from their passion and ultimately from success! Sound familiar?
After all, how can you “sell yourself” to someone and convince them that you are the perfect person that they need to hire or partner with if you can barely recognize your own unique gifts, skills, and specialties? How can you take the risks required to get your business to the next level if you don’t have the confidence to make the first move? And how are you going to ever find joy – with yourself and with your life – if you can’t stop worrying about what others think?
Part of getting into the confidence zone means you have to stop fearing failure. And trust me, we all struggle with this. ALL OF US…even me. It’s something you must work on every day. I do that through meditation, by celebrating my successes but especially through managing my thoughts. One of the tools I use most effectively to stay in the confidence zone and get under my negative thoughts and limiting beliefs is journaling. It’s a game-changer!
But to really rock the confidence zone, you also have to be willing to try new things and to take risks – even small ones. So that means staying in the confidence zone long term, can mean getting out of your comfort zone. Because you will learn that even when you fall, you always get back up and you learned something amazing in the process. So if you want more confidence, plan to fail. Plus when you try things, you won’t always fail. You will have successes too, and both the successes and the failures will give you more confidence!
Want to get on the confidence train immediately?
Write down two things that will get you out of your comfort zone, either personally or professionally and then make a commitment to do those two things right now. Put them on the calendar today and take the first step.
Another big factor in low self-confidence is perfectionism.
We need to stop thinking we have to be perfect at everything. There is a difference in excellence and perfection. There’s nothing wrong with having high standards. But there has to be a point where we really believe we tried our best and our outcome is not only good enough but that it’s actually great! That’s not arrogance. It’s important for happiness, joy, and fulfillment. We have to be able to be satisfied with our work. And with ourselves. Too often we won’t try something unless we believe we will do it absolutely perfectly. Well, that’s just not going to happen in every situation, so get over that perfectionism and start loving your results. Besides, what you consider B+ work, most people will think is off the charts good. So practice putting out your B+ work and be proud of it. That’s where the good stuff is – all the fun is on the other side of perfection.
Finally, and this is probably the biggest thing you can do, you have to get rid of your negative self-talk.
Even if you don’t think you have an inner mean girl, check again. I pride myself on being confident and guess what? I have that negative inner voice, too. You know the one – she’s constantly telling you that you aren’t good enough, that you don’t have what it takes, that you’re not the right weight or size, that you aren’t talented or smart enough, and that you are really not worthy of success. I have to quiet this mean girl inside me often. In fact, one of my 2 resolutions last year was loving myself more. My resolution was precisely in response to that inner critic that tells me I can only be happy when I am perfect.
That kind of thinking is the worst form of self-abuse and you have to commit to stopping it today. I have committed to that, too. I want you to write down three things – right now – that are fabulous about YOU! Then put that up somewhere where you can see it every day as a reminder. Or even better, start every morning by writing 3 new things that you love about yourself in your journal. Not loving yourself is too costly. It will keep you from your dreams and your purpose. Realize all those things you are saying about yourself are just thoughts. They aren’t the truth. Our brain runs through thousands of thoughts every day so hang on to the ones that serve you and toss out the ones that don’t. You have the power to choose the right thoughts that give you confidence. And think about it this way, are you really willing for YOU to be the person keeping you from your best self?
Does your negative inner voice also whisper to you what others may be thinking of you? It’s a complete waste of time to worry about what others think of you or what they say about you. Often they aren’t even thinking or saying anything about you anyway, they are too busy being a “mean girl” to themselves. Trust me on this one. You can’t control other people’s thoughts. So allow them to think whatever they want about you, and allow them to be wrong about you. It’s ok.
And yes if it’s hard for you to know that some people out there don’t like you, remember this.
According to Brene Brown in her fabulous book Daring Greatly, those people typically aren’t the ones “in the arena” working hard and taking risks themselves. They are just criticizing from the sidelines, too fearful to put themselves out there the way you are. Like you, I too have people out there who may not like me or believe in me. We all do. And if you are leaning into your potential or taking risks to be your best, somebody is going to be intimidated or threatened by it. Maybe even a lot of people. It may be people close to you like friends or family members. But my favorite saying for situations like that is that “What people think of me is none of my business!!” They are entitled to their opinions but I keep these negative thoughts at bay. We have to remember that we are each on our own paths and we can’t let others knock us down or push us off the path or we will never become all we were meant to be!
Instead of hearing those naysayers or worse, your own negative thoughts, focus on your cheerleaders and supporters.
Or even better, become your own cheerleader!
It’ll help remind you of why you’re so special, unique, and fabulous every day. Because YOU ARE! Now get out there and show the world what you’ve got!