Confidence and why you NEED to have it
If you listen to any of the famous entrepreneurs out there, Gary Vaynerchuck, Marcus Lemonis, Steve Jobs, Oprah, etc., one thing stands out. They all have huge amounts of confidence. I mean unwavering confidence. Like nothing can take down their confidence.
This mystified me for the longest time. I used to think, 'wow these people are so cocky. How can anyone like them'. Then I started my own business, and I quickly realized that their cocky attitude, which I thought was a negative, was actually a massive positive.
Their unwavering confidence allowed them to get hit over and over and over again without giving up, and that is the #1 thing you need to become a successful entrepreneur. Period.
Once I figured this out, I was pissed. My family raised me to believe that arrogance was a cardinal sin and to be avoided at all costs. They told me that respect and admiration is earned, so if you haven't done anything then you are dirt. Even when I succeed at something there was never a big to-do over it. 'It happened. That's great. Don't rub it in people's faces that's rude. No one will like you if you talk about yourself.' That was the mentality.
While I don't think there is anything wrong with ensuring that your kids aren't arrogant brats, I do think that constantly suppressing confidence during childhood can have real negative effects in adulthood, especially if said adult has entrepreneurial aspirations. In my personal case, I quickly realized that my lack of confidence was one of, if not the, largest thing holding me back in business.
If you constantly second guess yourself, have a hard time making decisions, or break into cold sweats at the thought of having to promote yourself, there is a fair chance that you suffer from a lack of confidence as well.
I think it's important to mention that there is a difference between having general low self esteem and having low confidence in entrepreneurship. Many people who you would never say are self confident can crumble under the alienation and criticism of entrepreneurship.
For example if you met me in person you would never say that I have low self esteem. I'm the person who loves public speaking and feel most comfortable as the leader of a group, but I struggle to hold my weight in networking scenarios and high powered meetings. Even though I can feel that my body language is becoming submissive, and I'm saying indecisive and vague things, I haven't mastered how to overcome this achilles heel of mine.
Because confidence is SO important in entrepreneurship and business, I have been thinking a lot about strategies that can systemically improve confidence that anyone, including myself, could implement right now.
Here are a few strategies I came up with that I'm eager to share with you so we can all raise our confidence to successful entrepreneur levels. In no particular order they are:
- Dress to impress. If you look good you feel good, or that's at least how the saying goes. While I haven't ever listened to this saying in the past, I am willing to try it out and see if switching out my worn hand-me-down wardrobe for something less ripped and stained will have a prolonged impact on my confidence.
- Cut out the negative self talk. As humans we often feel like our thoughts just flow into our brains and there is nothing we can do about it, but it's actually the opposite. We decide what to think and can change it at will whenever we want. It's exactly like changing any highly ingrained habit. It takes some serious time and energy, but replacing negative thoughts with positive ones is possible!
This is something I have been working on for a while but it can always be improved. Keeping those inaccurate negative thoughts at bay and replacing them with positive ones is imperative to any kind of success.
- Be more prepared. Not being prepared can throw anyone off their game and it's the last thing someone struggling with confidence needs to deal with. Do you want to be focusing on your next key point at a meeting or be fidgeting because you forgot a pen and can't take notes?
I have gotten caught in the trap of not being properly prepared for meetings and other types of engagements and it gives off the worst impression. Being properly prepared, even over prepared, can very easily be the difference between a meeting where I land a new partner or if they offer me a job because they believe I need more experience.
'Confidence is key' should be every aspiring and established entrepreneur's motto.
There is a reason Gary Vee has entire shows dedicated solely to explaining the importance of confidence in business and why confidence is listed in Forbes as one of the top character traits you need to be a successful entrepreneur.*
Have you struggled with confidence? Do you think your confidence helps or hinders you in business?
I'd love you know, leave a comment below!!!!