Have you ever practiced something in private over and over until you perfected it, only to choke once you try to show someone else your talent/skill?
(Ex: "No, no, I promise I did it when you weren't watching!")
Has this ever happened to you in your business, talent, knowledge, or skill?
Great news: You're not alone.
Tons of us feel that way on a regular basis. Daily even.
I asked the Frontrunners community a little while ago what some of your biggest obstacles were that kept you from pursuing your dream/business/goal, and a huge number of your answers were in relation to your businesses and not feeling like you could confidently talk about them.
Here are some of the things people shared:
- What I wish I knew how to do better in my business is follow the process that we have and give people the right information about the business and not stumble over my words so much.
- I can’t talk about the business side of the business...
- Once it comes down to business, following up, and building it financially... I clam up.
There's a lot of different things that are connected to these issues, but at the heart of these statements is one big underlying issue:
Lack of Confidence
Something's not right. Something's being missed. Somehow, and for some reason, the wrong "understanding glasses" have been put on and things are being looked at from the wrong perspective.
In some way, there is doubt connected to the idea of the business. You might be totally convinced of your idea when you're alone, but when you speak to other people, you second-guess yourself.
Rather than being defeated when this happens, I like to imagine it's like a "Check Engine" light on the dashboard of your car: It might not necessarily tell you what's specifically wrong with your car, but it let's you know that something's not right and that you need to get things looked at. In the same way, when we find ourselves hitting a wall like this, it's a sign that something inside of us isn't working right, so we need to go through the process of finding out what it is.
So how do we address these issues in our own life, dream and business?
We've got to dig to the root of the issue and find out what false belief is underneath the surface, then correct it with the truth.
How do you gain confidence?
Confidence is something that we can easily think, “You either have it, or you don’t.”, but that’s not true.
Anyone can have confidence in anything, it just needs to be built.
These 7 tactics will help you grow in confidence and dismantle the insecurity that's holding you back:
1.Practice & Preparation
Among her many sayings, my mom always told us,
You either know something or you don't. You either understand something or you don't.
Becoming familiar with all the ins and outs of your business, product, service, etc. will create a sureness that can't be mustered up on the spot unrehearsed.
Repetition results in knowing something well enough that it becomes second nature. It also helps you be a lot more natural with your conversations. Rather than having to stick to a rigid structure, you will be free to flow when you talk to someone (you know, like a REAL human, not a robot?), and you will be able to easily steer back to the main goal/point because you're so familiar with it.
When you speak with a client or customer, this should NOT be the first time that information about your business leaves your lips.
I would argue to say that the percentage of people in history who could jump right into something without any practice or rehearsal and be world-class at it is ridiculously tiny. Those people are the outliers, the unicorns. And even those people couldn't do EVERYTHING well without practice.
- Imagine if Michael Jordan waited till he was 18 to start playing basketball with the goal of getting into the NBA, and just assumed that because he wanted to be great that it would just come to him when the moment came.
- Imagine if (God forbid) you go into surgery for an operation; and in walks a woman off the street who clearly isn't a doctor. Then she says, "Ok, I didn't go to medical school, but I've watched every season of House and Grey's Anatomy. I think I've got this."
- Imagine if Steve Jobs had never put any thought into how a personal computer or an iPod could change someone's life. Imagine if he hadn't spent months and years obsessing over every detail, and then he just walked up on to a stage and tried to convince you to buy one, even though it was more expensive and less powerful than the competition.
Would you expect any of these people to perform well if they hadn't put in practice and preparation?
You need to know your stuff.
We should be as familiar talking about our business, product, dream, project, as we are about our favorite movie, tv show, athletes, etc. Especially since our business is our livelihood and the vehicle that is meant to take us into our preferred future.
Too many of us "major in the minors" and "minor in the majors" of life.
And instead of treating our business like a test that we need to cram for, what if we treated it like something we actually really cared about? And if you don't care about your business right now, then reevaluate why you're doing it. Perhaps it's time to start designing a life and work that you actually love.
2. Believe in yourself
People will view you through the lens you view yourself.
If you view yourself as small, inexperienced, unintelligent, a bad speaker, etc. then so will other people. It's possible to defeat yourself before you even start a conversation. If you build belief in yourself, in what you're doing, and why you're doing it, then other people will adopt that same perspective of you.
You are just as valuable as the people you are working with or selling to.
Just because you want to do business with someone, and they would be exchanging money for something you're providing, does NOT make them superior to you. Too many entrepreneurs, freelancers, and independent business owners treat their business like their clients are providing them with charity, rather than a mutually-beneficial business exchange. You don't have to beg, and anyone who would make you feel like you do, or would make you feel like you're lower than them, is not someone you want to do business with.
I don't completely believe "The customer is always right" maxim.
I understand the importance on emphasizing customer service, but I feel like this is incomplete advice. Beyond an initial desire or need, many customers have no idea what they want, or rather HOW to get what they want. That's why they come to you. It's our job as the business owner, as the expert, to guide them toward a solution.
Remember that your clients are not the expert on your business, you are.
And relinquishing control of your business to a client is like letting a passenger fly the plane instead of the pilot.
Remember, you only need to be one step ahead of someone to lead them forward.
You can be new at something and still have confidence in it. That's belief. It's a choice you make that's based on what you've personally experienced. For example:
- I know I love my music, so there are others who will like it too
- I've never worked at this level of business before, but I know I can apply for this position
- I know I don't have any customers yet, but if I was willing to spend money on this product and benefit, then others will too
In addition, Give yourself permission to be successful.
Perhaps you grew up feeling like you always had to settle for second best or hand-me-downs, but you don't have to settle for less in life. If you think you're unworthy of success, for any reason, then you will subconsciously find ways to sabotage your progress. There is enough success to go around out there. Just because someone else is successful doesn't mean you can't be as well.
There is no scarcity of success for those who are willing to consistently pursue it.
3.Believe in your product/ service
If you aren't confident in your business, product, or service, then neither will other people.
Belief in what you're doing is built through the process of developing it. You believe in it because you've put in the blood, sweat and tears to make it the best that it can be. You believe in it because it's worked for you; you've got firsthand knowledge. And skepticism can't cancel out true results.
In fact, encountering skepticism is not a failure on your part, it is an opportunity.
An opportunity to prove the effectiveness and credibility of your business, an opportunity to challenge what you've been creating to be the best that it can be, and also an opportunity to test your skills, abilities, and competency. Be THANKFUL for those challenges – they make you grow.
When you go through the process of making something the best it can be, then you can have belief that what you are trying to provide to someone is GOOD for them.
If you believe that what you have is bad, or isn’t worth what you’re asking for it, or don't know enough about it to give YOURSELF belief in it, then you won’t have confidence.
4. Identify The Triggers
There are certain situations, people, and environments that can act as triggers to shake your confidence.
It can be very frustrating and confusing to find yourself stumbling over your words, or drawing a blank, or doubting yourself when you're faced with one of these triggers.
The way to overcome these triggers is to deconstruct them and analyze them. Ask yourself "Why is this a trigger for me?", and go through the process to dig deep and find out.
It may remind you of a traumatic experience, an embarrassing memory, an insecurity, or any number of things. You may have been completely unaware that these things affected you the way they did until you got triggered.
It's important to reconcile with those triggers:
Uncover the truth about yourself to overcome false beliefs. Forgive someone who hurt you. Decide that your past does not determine your future. Accept and acknowledge that something happened to you, and then move forward. Laugh at yourself for the embarrassing thing that happened... you may even need to forgive yourself for past mistakes and bad decisions.
Do whatever you need to do to "fix the engine", otherwise the "check engine" light will stay on (ie: issues). You'll keep reliving the same cycles of self-sabotage instead of getting to where you want to be.
5. Get support
When you know that others have your back, and that you have people who can catch you when you fall, then falling doesn't sound so scary.
In addition, you are no longer alone. When you go into a business meeting, or have a conversation with someone, you've got the support of everyone else with you.
Reach out to some people who care about you: friends, family, mentors, etc. and share with them about your obstacles, fears, reservations, and ask for their support as you take brave steps forward. Then after each step, touch base with them and share your experience.
It will be helpful to receive perspective from outside your own brain.
Also, now you will have built a safety net to catch you if you fall, and a community when you need comfort and encouragement.
6. Get out of your own way
Be bold enough to admit that you don't know everything – because you don't. Nobody does.
That frees you up to not have to pretend to be perfect and to just be yourself. It also takes courage to admit that you're flawed, and people will respect that courage.
7. Know Your WHY
Your purpose is the foundation of your business or dream. The more clearly you have defined your purpose for doing your business, the more ground you have to stand on.
When you get nervous or flustered, you can go back to your original purpose for strength.
In addition to giving you ground to stand on, having a clear and meaningful purpose will draw people to you. When you share your purpose with people, those who it resonates with will want to be connected to you. When you share your purpose with passion and conviction, that speaks to people.
In business, people have to know there's a deeper meaning for you than just financial gain; and there is. You just have to make it known.
If someone is going to buy from you, hire you, or follow you, they need to know that you have a heart, that you have drive, that you have a vision, that you have a desire that goes beyond yourself, that your product doesn't just benefit you...
The stronger your "Why", the easier it will be for people to connect with it.
As you put these into practice, you will find that you have more ground to stand on. You will have the confidence to do things that seemed risky and terrifying earlier on in your journey. And you will also feel loads better about yourself.
While confidence and self-esteem are different from one another, they are connected.
As you see yourself grow, as you gather little wins for yourself along the way, those victories will build your self-esteem and belief.
Be patient with the process.
Give yourself grace.
This won't happen in a day or a week, and it's not a magical line you cross where you now "have it". Building confidence will be an ongoing process. And as you trust that process, the progress and momentum you've put into this facet of your life will spread to the other areas of your life.
Are you in the process of building your confidence toward a business, project, or passion?
Let me know in the comments below. And if you're not already part of the Frontrunners community, subscribe below to receive stories and lessons from me and other people who, like you, are also in the process of living our purpose on purpose.