More Confidence - Where Could Your Business Be?
As entrepreneurs, one of the biggest battles we fight every day is the battle against fear. Yes, there are the daily challenges of improving our systems, developing new marketing strategies or expanding our products or services. All these things are important, no question. But are they really the challenges that are holding our company back right now?
In my almost five years of coaching I have seen many times that what is truly holding a business back is actually not tangible. Rather, it’s the fear or hesitation of the business owner to address the core problems. I would venture so far as to say that fear is the biggest enemy of a business owner’s success.
Even though fear in itself is not tangible, it is real. As business owners we often times much rather focus on developing new strategies, than doing some of the “dirty work” like having a serious conversation with one of our employees or clients.
Instead of doing the work of deepening a relationship with one of our existing power partners, and work through some obstacles, we rather meet with 5 other potential power partners. Instead of admitting that we misjudged a situation, we start to overly justify our decisions and put even more resources behind it. It happens all the time, all day long. At the root of why businesses are not growing as fast as they could is not some complicated business plan or model that is not working out, but plain and simple fear or hesitation on the side of the business owner. As business owners we put so much energy into not having to confront our fears that it is considerably hindering our growth, and the growth and success of our company.
Now if we look on the other side of fear what we find is confidence. Confidence is the belief that that we are capable of identifying and achieving what we want and believing that we are worthy of it. Before I talk about how to get from fear to confidence I want to point out one thing, which is very important to understand: “All confidence is acquired and developed. No one is born with confidence. Even the people you know who radiate confidence were not born with it. They developed it.” This means, we can develop it too!
So, how do we get from fear to confidence? We can’t just put fear aside and pretend it doesn’t exist. If you have dealt with fear in the past you probably have heard things like, “The fear is not real. It’s just in your imagination. What's the worst case scenario. Just imagine everyone being naked, etc.” But how well do these type of exercises work? They might help for a couple hours if you are lucky, but it’s not a permanent cure.
Step One: Recognize Fear
One of the biggest problems is that we usually don’t realize when fear is holding us back in the first place. The reason why working with a coach or a mentor is so powerful is that you get an unbiased, professional, outside perspective of what is truly holding you and your company back. You simply won’t get that kind of assessment and input if you are not working with a coach or mentor. So the first step is to get very clear about what you are afraid of. Pin it down. Verbalize it. Write it down.
Step Two: Take Action
Then you have to take action. There is some kind of action that you can take that will help you push through the fear rather than being paralyzed by it. It doesn’t matter so much what the action is, the main thing is that you are training yourself to move forward despite fear. You might pick up the phone and talk to someone. You might go ahead and schedule the meeting that you didn’t want to have. Again, the main thing is to take some kind of action. Hesitation only gives the fear more breeding room where it can keep on growing bigger. Take action promptly and be decisive.
Step Three: Enforce Your Action - Build Confidence
Once you have taken the first action step you need to continue the momentum. Follow through on your first action step. Complete it and take the next step.
Like I said earlier, confidence is not inherited. We have to develop it. And we are doing it by taking decisive actions despite our fear. Every time we practice taking action despite our fears we get more confident. In the beginning the fear won't completely disappear, it will still be there. We just get in the habit of taking appropriate action and pay less and less attention to the fear itself. Over time we will see that we move through our lives much more purposefully and intently, without losing a lot of time by not addressing the true problems. To think confidently we must act confidently.
To your success!