Building confidence in your new project or biz
Creating a business takes a heck of a lot of hutzpah. Because you’re reading this, I already know you have an entrepreneurial spirit and desire for more, deep in your bones. You’re constantly trying new things and pushing your own limits.
When you’re exploring new territory, it’s completely normal to feel out of your depth. It’s natural to feel underprepared – unsure of your ability to deliver and succeed. But you shouldn’t let that stop you from making big shifts in your life!
This post is about building confidence in your new business – the confidence you need to show up fully each day, ready for whatever comes at you.
take off the rose-colored glasses
We live in a filtered-photo, inspirational quote-filled world where people showcase their confidence and success, and don’t always show the back story of how they got there.
But I guarantee you that they did not feel confident when they started. Even if they had a coach delivering regular pep talks and holding their hand the entire way, they probably flailed around quite a bit, with just enough motivation to keep working anyway. This is how things get done!
To be honest, I love curated photos and inspirational quotes. But one of the negative side effects is that it can make you feel like you’re doing something wrong if you’re not showing up feeling 100% confident every damn day.
But here's the secret. There is plenty of room in your head for uncomfortable emotions like self-doubt and lack of confidence AND the resolve to follow your dreams.
Plus, self-doubt is not a one-time thing. As an entrepreneur, the road ahead will lead you to many more such moments. You need to be ready to feel them, and keep moving forward anyway.
There is plenty of room in your head for feelings of self-doubt AND the resolve to follow your dreams anyway.
Remember that those curated Instagram feeds and inspirational quotes – as effortless as they may seem – come with hard work and persistence, even in the face of negative feelings. Not just for you, but for everyone.
don’t wait until you feel confident
(This section borrows wisdom from life coach Brooke Castillo - if you haven't listened to her podcast, go subscribe now!)
People often think they should build confidence before getting a new business off the ground.
This is actually backwards. How can you know you’re going to kick ass at something you’ve never done before?
If you wait until you feel confident before you do something, you will never do it. The only way to build confidence – the belief that you can do something – is by proving it to yourself through action and practice.
It can feel like a “chicken or the egg” situation. How can you gain confidence without doing the thing? And how can you do the thing without confidence that it will go well?
The answer is to take little leaps of faith in yourself and build your confidence over time. You have to try first, and learn and practice, before you start to feel confident.
There will be times you succeed beyond your expectations, and other times when you crash and burn miserably. But each attempt will teach you a little more, and you will build confidence as you go.
the only way to build CONFIDENCE is by proving to yourself that you can do it, through action and practice.
take little leaps of faith in yourself and build confidence over time.
Think about things that you feel confident doing – like reading, or getting dressed in the morning, or cooking that meal with three ingredients, that you can make with your eyes closed.
You’re confident about your ability to do those things.
You developed that confidence by trying, failing, learning, and eventually mastering. It’s a natural progression.
Confidence will come – you just have to earn it, bit by bit!
stop “mustering confidence”
When people tell you to “muster up” the confidence to tackle a new challenge, think about what they’re asking you to do.
They’re essentially suggesting that you believe that you’ll be great at something you’ve never done before. That is a recipe for disappointment.
What happens if you inevitably stumble or even fail? What if you aren’t great at it on your first try?
It will be even harder to “muster confidence” again next time, because you know from experience that it doesn’t necessarily translate into performance.
So stop trying to muster up the confidence to do things. There is a better way, and it creates a much more positive feedback loop.
So, how do you get started doing anything new, if you don’t have the confidence?
You start with self-confidence.
Self-confidence is belief in yourself, your ability to try new things and learn from them, and your ability to handle whatever comes your way. It’s the understanding that failure may suck, but it won’t destroy you.
What’s the worst that can happen if you try something and fail? You might feel sad, disappointed, or embarrassed. If someone doesn’t like what you’re doing, and they say so, you may feel hurt.
Those are emotions you can handle and survive. You can handle any negative feelings that come with the learning process.
Self-confidence is belief in your ability to learn from your mistakes, knowing that failure won't destroy you.
It’s scary to think about feeling negative emotions. We’d all rather feel positive emotions like pride, ease, and comfort.
But negative feelings are only feelings, and the more you work on your self-confidence – your ability to try new things, learn and improve, and deal with any negative consequences along the way – the more prepared you will be to deal with them.
get good at failing
If you beat yourself up over every failure, you’ll have a negative experience with trying, and that will make it a little harder next time to try.
Instead of beating yourself up, recognize yourself for what you achieved: You tried something new, you gained new experience, you had the self-confidence to go after something you wanted. Identify something you learned from the experience and what you can do differently next time, to get a little closer to the result you want.
Over time, rewarding and recognizing yourself for having the self-confidence to try something new will translate into positive feelings associated with trying something new.
That will make it a little bit easier to try the next time.
reward yourself for trying something new, even when you fail. Over time, it will make it easier to try new things.
Give yourself time to internalize this new way of thinking. It can take time to change your perspective about failure, but it will make you a more adventurous, courageous person!
focus on the right things
Your brain is very cautious. It wants to protect you from bad decisions that could threaten your safety.
That’s a good thing when you’re rock climbing, scuba diving, or doing something where physical danger is a possibility if you’re not careful.
But it’s not always a good thing when you’re making decisions about your career or business. It can prevent you from taking risks that may lead to failure, even if the potential rewards are totally worth it.
It can paralyze you because the stakes seem too high – either you’ll succeed in building your dream career, or fail and prove you don’t have what it takes.
You may decide not to act because you are afraid to find out what outcome you’ll get.
When you feel paralyzed by a big decision, set aside those high-stakes outcomes. Instead, think about the positive things that can happen even if you fail:
You’ll learn something new.
You’ll have a new experience.
You’ll create new memories.
You’ll have fun.
You’ll grow as a person.
You’ll prove to yourself that you have courage.
You’ll have a new story to tell future generations.
This is the stuff life is made of. It’s not about sitting on the sidelines and playing it safe until the curtain falls. Ultimately, you won't remember most of your individual successes or failures. You'll remember that you tried new things, had new experiences, and lived life fully.
Focus on having new experiences and growing as a person, even if you fail. This is the stuff life is made of!
Do your future self a favor, and go on an adventure!
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