Confidence is the platform for success in any pursuit and i’d say ESPECIALLY if you are a solo entrepreneur who IS the name and face (the brand) of your business.
But confidence in any context is important to be let you live a life that you absolutely love! When we have self-confidence, we don’t look for outside validation to see whether we should do something (or shouldn’t do something). We start to follow our own internal compass and recognise and honour our innermost desires. This is living with freedom and fulfilment.
Firstly, I want to dispel the idea that confidence is “you’ve either got it or you don’t”. This is bullshit! Yes, there may be people who we think are ‘naturally’ more confident, but this often will come down to 1)whether they were taught about their “inner voice” or self-love and 2) how they internalise, feedback from their environment.
But ultimately, whether you grew up being confident or not,
Confidence is a skill that can be learned.
So where does confidence come from? The answer is both internal and external. That is, confidence comes from a strong sense of self-worth AND it also comes from positive experiences from the outside world.
So which one is more important? I say that the internally generated self-confidence is the most important one to work on, because it allows us to feel good even if shit’s going down in the world around us! BUT, internal self-confidence is very very rare. This is something that majority of people have to work on, because we are taught from a small age that external validation is important.
Feel this for a second. As a kid, you knew if you were good or bad by the way that your parents reacted. You were rewarded for being good and you were punished for being bad. Before then, you had no sense of what it meant to be ‘good’ or ‘bad’, you just did your thing. But your parents (or caregivers) unintentionally planted this idea in you. From external sources you learnt whether you were good or bad. And the more that you have positive reinforcement, the more confidence you have in yourself.
Once we become fully conscious adults who have the power to dictate our own lives, what we eventually have to do, is to learn how to detach ourselves from feedback being bad or good, if we want control over our self confidence.
But many of us don’t know how to do this. We aren’t taught the tools to build internal self-confidence. We are so ingrained in the idea of positive and negative feedback being indicators of how awesome we are (or not).
Now it’s solution is simple. The way to build your internal confidence is to love, recognise and validate yourself. Recognise and love your flaws, recognise and love your quirks, recognise and love your uniqueness, recognise and love your strengths.
Here’s a simple exercise to do: Write down a list of 10 things that make you a kick-arse, beautiful human being. If you are struggling with this, ask your close friends and family. They often see you in a completely different light than you do! Read these back to yourself every day. Remind yourself of how beautiful and amazing you are.
Love yourself up! That’s the key to inner self-confidence!
But what about external validation? As I said, confidence comes from both internal and external sources. So I still think this is important. We can use our external environment to either boost our confidence or bring it down.
So let’s be smart.
Learn how to detach yourself from feedback as your indicator of whether you are good or not good.
Then play with these ideas to create an environment that supports you:
Surround yourself with people who fully back you and LOVE what you are all about and LOVE you and your business.
Put yourself out there and ask questions. This action can help detach you from the idea of asking questions as being stupid! It opens you up to access more knowledge. So next time you have a question (especially in a public forum) - ask!
Help others. Set yourself up as the expert. If someone else has a question and you know the answer, then answer it! This works three ways - you feel good about helping someone, they feel good about receiving help and you step into the shoes of someone who is confident.
Using the body as a powerful tool to boost your confidence.
Use your body. Have you seen this Tedx Talk by Amy Cuddy, she talks about the power pose (see the banner photo -a perfect illustration of the ‘power pose’ )and I’m all about it. Hack your mind into thinking you are confident, by using your body. Walk, talk, pose in a way that a “confident” person would and you will start to embody the feeling of confidence in your cells.
Now this isn’t a “fake it till you make it” scenario. I would use this strategy sparingly - like if I really need to get my confidence on and I’m not feeling it at all - it happens! But you don’t want this to be the one and only practice you do. People can sniff out a thinly veiled lack of confidence, especially if you are overdoing it. I would say this one is best used in emergencies LOL!
So there you have it! Confidence comes from both inside and outside. Although working on your inner confidence is most important so that you have a strong foundation, let’s use what we have in the environment to foster our confidence too!
Search for more blogs on this subject by entering key words below: