As an entrepreneur, it can be the most exciting time of your life when you’re about to embark on your entrepreneurial journey. As self-assured individuals, we have a confidence that drives our desire to be an entrepreneur, but it’s also not uncommon for that new found confidence to be short lived.
Being an entrepreneur is not the same as having a normal 9-5 job. Fact. There is no-one there to guide us, make our decisions for us or tell us what to do. This is great, as it’s what we’ve always dreamed of, but it can often lead to us becoming indecisive, unconfident and unsure of ourselves. Entrepreneurs live a rollercoaster of emotions, but one of the emotions that will be tackled specifically in this blog is a crisis of confidence.
Why is confidence important as an entrepreneur? It’s important because it’s the driving force in our life. It’s the key to allowing us to make decisive decisions and acting in the best interests of what we feel is right for our business. Confidence is an important issue to address as it is what carries us through our entrepreneurial life and gives us the courage to make crucial decisions.
So what do we do when it seems that all confidence is lost and we don’t know how to get this confidence back? This Virtalent article sets out a few tips that we could implement in our lives as entrepreneurs and business people to increase our confidence.
You are human
Your biggest critic is yourself. If you’re an under confident person, the picture you paint of yourself could cause your downfall and if there are areas of your life that you are critical of, you need to address those first. As humans, we have a tendency to berate ourselves and mentally criticise any aspects of ourselves that we don’t deem to be perfect. But why is that? We know that nobody is perfect and as an entrepreneur, life is far from perfect. This negative perception can affect our positive outlook on not only ourselves, but on many aspects of our personal life too. It can change our behaviour, our relationships, our attitudes and can damage our confidence, so the constant reinforcement of negative thoughts can become mentally damaging.
How do we get out of this pattern of negativity and how can you increase your confidence?
As silly as it sounds and no matter if you feel stupid doing it, you must tell yourself at least one positive thing every day. Whether it’s “you came across really well in that meeting” or “you’re really good at remaining calm in stressful situations”, you need to start reinforcing positive thoughts. One positive image a day can change your attitude, the way you being to perceive yourself and increase your confidence. Those who don’t begin to adapt this positive mind set will end up in the consistent cycle of negativity and low self-confidence. Next time you leave to go to the office, look in the mirror and say something positive about yourself. Try it! If you truly want to see an increase in your confidence, give it a try!
If an occasion arises and you think to yourself “No, I can’t do that”, you need to stop and take a moment to say to yourself “Yes, actually I can, as I have done this so many times before.” There would have been so many occasions in the past where you thought you couldn’t do something, yet you have come this far, so of course you must have been able to do all those things! Talk to yourself from a third person perspective (yes it will seem strange), but it really does help! Don’t be afraid to do it, nobody has to be around so there’s no excuse not to!
Your body language
The way you appear can be a big factor in the journey to increase your confidence. Have you thought about the way you dress and the way you carry yourself? When we’re feeling down and lacking self-confidence, your body can reflect how you’re feeling. Sometimes we can become stooped when we walk or slump in our chair, and this adds to the feeling of lower self-confidence. When others see us like this, we are perceived to be weaker and not in a position of power. Holding ourselves taller will instantly allow us to feel more confident.
It is those situations where we know we will feel instantly intimidated or less self-confident where we have to change the way we come across. Stand taller, relax your body and engage with whoever you come into contact with. At the end of the day, you are the only person who knows whether you’re faking how you feel or not! If you don’t feel sure of yourself, act like you are! Like we said, you are the only one who is in control of how you act, so act how you feel you need to. (No-one will ever know!)
If you make yourself look confident, you’ll instantly feel an increase in your confidence. It’s a natural reaction.
Trust in who you are
There’s a key thing to remember as an entrepreneur and it’s something that we very often forget. Being an entrepreneur does not mean that you are Superman or Wonder Woman. Making mistakes is part of the life of an entrepreneur. We don’t get things right all of the time and that’s what part of being a great entrepreneur is all about – making mistakes and learning from them to become an even better entrepreneur.
It’s a great trait to have when you know you haven’t gotten something right, you take it as something to build upon and not allow it to get you down. Be open to knowing where your weaknesses lie and embrace them; don’t let them decrease your confidence. We don’t know it all and that’s ok! It’s better to feel confident in what you can do and what you do know as opposed to pretending to be good at everything. People will respect you for who you are and what you know, not who you pretend to be.
Don’t confuse faking who you are with faking confidence as these two things are not the same. This blog focuses on building your confidence and acting confident, not pretending you’re something you’re not. You can’t fake competence if you’re not a competent person, but you can fake confidence!
Taking these steps to increase your confidence can be easy. It just takes some practice, that’s all!
There will be times as entrepreneurs and business owners where we feel that we’re not worthy to be in business (especially when things go wrong!) and we do lack confidence and feel we ought to give up. Tackling your confidence can be the key to success, even though we may not feel qualified to do the job we’re set out to do. But how do we really know if we’re qualified to be an entrepreneur? The simple answer is we don’t know if we’re qualified.
But doesn’t that make the journey all that more exciting?