Ever have one of those days when you are filled with doubt as to whether or not you’ve got what it takes to make it in business, let alone make it big? Or the days when you know you have something to offer your clients, but you also find that, no matter how hard you try not to, you find that you’re constantly telling yourself that there is someone else out there who is bigger, better, smarter, or whatever who seems to somehow make them a more superior choice for your target clientele? If so, you may be hurting your business more than you realize.
PsychCentral reports that there are many negative consequences of a subpar self-image, some of which can affect your ability to run a profitable business. These include:
- Higher levels of depression, making it harder for you to lead your company with the energy and enthusiasm necessary to motivate and inspire your staff to excel;
- More anxiety, which Harvard Health has linked to a variety of different health-related issues such as gastrointestinal disorders, respiratory issues, and heart disease—all of which can prevent you from running your business effectively;
- Financial issues, meaning that, at a minimum, you could not be making what you’re capable of or, on the converse, your business could wind up in financial ruins, potentially causing you to lose it all; and
- Poor decision making skills, potentially leading your company down the wrong path and putting it, you, and your workers in harm’s way.
Given these possible side effects of low self-confidence, it is clear that how you feel about yourself can greatly affect your ability to succeed professionally. So what can you do to raise your self-esteem and avoid these particular issues, thereby increasing your small business potential?
Avoid Your Naysayers
When I first left law enforcement and became a full-time freelance writer, I was telling a friend about how things were going and she said, “When are you going to get a real job?” Ouch! Talk about knocking me down a peg or two. I was struggling enough as it was and this just made it worse.
Getting your level of self-confidence where it needs to be is certainly no easy task. Therefore, eliminating these types of people in your life is necessary if you want to make the process easier. And if you can’t get rid of them completely, as is often the case with family members, then at least distance yourself and spend less time with them. The less you are around them, the better you will likely feel.
Surround Yourself with People Who Build You Up
Just as you want to get rid of people who force your self-confidence lower, you also want to add more people to your life who actually build it up. These are the ones who consistently offer you a supportive ear, a kind word when you’re down, and a “You’ve got this!” when you’re feeling unsure.
If you don’t already have this kind of person in your life via friends, family, or a colleague (or even if you do), it may benefit you to hire a life coach or find a mentor. This person can help you break through the falsities that you continue to tell yourself about your abilities, exposing the qualified, skilled, and deserving you that exists underneath.
Sit Up Straight While Thinking Positive Thoughts
Researchers at Ohio State University have found that your posture has a huge effect on your confidence levels and whether you believe in your abilities to do good work. In this particular study, which involved 71 students, each subject was asked to either sit up straight or slouch and, at the same time, they were also told to write down either three positive or three negative performance-related personal traits. After assessing their answers, researchers concluded that “upright posture led to confidence in the positive thoughts.”
Therefore, when you’re giving yourself your daily pep talk, reminding yourself that you do have something to offer your customer base and the world at large, make sure you sit up while you do it. This way, your brain will be more inclined to believe you.
Keep an Accomplishment Portfolio
When you’re struggling with how you feel about yourself and whether you’ve got what it takes to succeed, it’s pretty hard to remember all of the great things you’ve already accomplished in your life. It’s like all you can recall are all of the mistakes you’ve made or the decisions that have ended poorly, making you feel worse than you already do. This is where an accomplishment portfolio can help remind you that you are capable of great things because you’ve achieved several of them in the past.
I have filled my accomplishment portfolio with the books I’ve written and published, the letters of recommendation I’ve received from clients, and the thank-you notes people have sent me for helping them out in their time of need. I’ve also included awards, honors, and certificates I’ve earned, proving that I’ve met my goals the good old-fashioned way, with hard work and effort. Place these types of things in yours and let it lift you up when you’re starting to question your abilities.
Learn What You Don’t Know
Sometimes insecurities arise because you feel like you lack the knowledge to progress. Well, the only way to rectify this feeling is to actually learn that which you do not know. Once you do, your self-confidence will rise because you’ll have the information you need to back you up.
For instance, if your self-esteem plummets every time you think about marketing your small business, as the whole process is confusing you, find a class you can take that teaches you how to sell yourself effectively. Then, the next time you’re faced with a marketing-related issue, you’ll at least have a basic background and know where to go to find the answers if you don’t already know them. This little bit of security can make you feel better almost instantly.
There are a number of things you can do to raise your business self-confidence, and these are just a few of them. What have you tried that has worked for you? Share your responses below and help other small business owners who are struggling with their business-related self-confidence too!
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