Today I want to talk about something that is of paramount importance: confidence. And how to build confidence in yourself, as well. It’ something I don’t feel is spoken about enough by entrepreneurs.
To hazard a guess – it could be because people are often so keen to present the ‘best’ version of themselves, they think to achieve that, they can’t open up and be vulnerable.
But I firmly believe that the more we open up and share, the more we help others. And the better it will be for everyone, not just entrepreneurs.
Let’s be real here. The entrepreneurial journey is incredibly challenging. To the point where it can be hard to keep pushing on, sometimes. It can be easy to lose the faith if you’re not looking at things in the right perspective and enjoying the journey for what it is.
So if you haven’t built up confidence in yourself – you haven’t built up your tolerance to take all those challenges that will come your way. You’re just going to get bowled over when they come at you. And they will come!
What is ‘Confidence’?
Having confidence in yourself is essentially one’s belief in their own abilities. It’s the core belief in yourself as a capable adult and in your ability to pursue whatever it is you want to do.
Some people think people just ‘have’ confidence, but that’s not true. Confidence is built. It’s grown, harvested, and thrives in environments where the best version of yourself is fed back to you.
You keep repeating that over an extended period of time? Boom, you’re are beginning to build confidence.
Now that’s not to say it’s instantaneous. It happens over a period of time when you do these things. Things that give you that little ‘boost’ in yourself.
So, while we’re here, these are my go-to “hacks” for building confidence:
1. Challenge Yourself
This can be really small things such as making your bed in the morning. There’s a great piece from a U.S. Navy Admiral about the value of accomplishing the seemingly insignificant task of making your bed in the morning:
“If you make your bed in the morning. You will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride. It will encourage you to do another task. And another, and another. And by the end of the day that one task completed, will have turned into many tasks completed.”
Other options are things like having a cold shower, or jumping in the sea. This process is amazing for our bodies and teaches us that, yes, we are very uncomfortable in the freezing cold water – but it’s not going to kill you. You can be uncomfortable and still be ok. It teaches us to tolerate and get used to being uncomfortable.
But anything that pushes you that little bit – you’ll know what works best for you.
2. The Inner Critic
The biggest reason so many have confidence issues – is themselves. Their own minds telling them they can’t do something.
And that is my first piece of advice: challenge your inner critic.
There is a lot of discussion at the moment around the ‘critical voices’ or ‘voice’ we hear in our heads. When it really gets going the endless loop can spit out some really horrible stuff. But the thing is – we all feel like that sometimes.
And it’s the same tape: telling us that what we’re doing is not good enough, that we’re not good enough, we won’t succeed, give up, you’re shite. Yada yada yada. You get the jist.
Some schools of thought call them NATs: Negative Automatic Thoughts. And there’s no rhyme or reason to them intellectually – they just happen, sort of like brain farts. They don’t mean anything.
So, when I hear a thought like this run through my head – I stop. I look in the mirror and say “Why are you saying that to me?” What will I gain if I believe what this voice is saying? And the answer is nothing. If anything, I stand to lose a lot more than I do to gain. So when I flip it – I realise this is going to hold me back from a myriad of things. There is no way, I’m going to listen to that prick.
So, whenever you hear that voice pop up – stop and have a conversation with it. And you’ll soon overcome it.
3. Do Good
My third piece of advice for building up your confidence is: help others. Other people need help. We all need help at times.
And a lot of the time – others recognise your value more than you do. So opening yourself up to the world and seeing when you can help others is really a place where you can build up confidence and trust in yourself. Put it out there that if anybody is looking for a hand with anything – you want to help. And I bet you somebody will come back and say “Hey, yeah, actually there is this one thing…”
If you’re doing a good job and actually put your heart and soul into it – I bet you they will turn around and appreciate, respect and commend you. And reflect your worth back unto yourself as a result. The value in yourself that you might not realise, or might have forgotten.
The confidence also comes from knowing that you helped somebody through something, achieve something, or gave some advice that benefitted someone. Whatever it is – the likelihood is that through this act of kindness, you will be reassured that you are in fact valuable, capable, strong and worth believing in yourself.
So if you’ve hit a wall – help someone. They will reflect talents about yourself that perhaps you haven’t even claimed yet. And also, they will just really appreciate someone giving them a dig out. And looking for nothing in return. There’s not a lot of people who do that out there.
It will lift your spirits and help you realise – hey – if this person believes in myself, maybe I should, too.
Essentially, these small things you can do to challenge yourself are to build you up over time. To build up your confidence in yourself and the belief that you can get through challenges.
The key thing I want you to take away here is that – if you’re serious about the entrepreneurial journey – you need to get serious about your work on yourself. If you’ve an issue with confidence – work on it. Because you can change things. Search for the things that you know you need to build that confidence up – and invest in yourself.
You’re worth it.