Every week in my role as Coach I have the joy of working with many new Business Owners to help them move forward in their business. It’s a privileged position from which I get to share their successes and failures and their highs and lows.
One of the things that often surprises new Business Owners the most is the degree to which their mindset can affect their day to day progress and productivity.
Not surprisingly, most business owners are obsessed with doing the work they love; following their mission; finding a regular stream of customers and growing their business. But, often the things that keep them awake at night relate to their own self-doubts.
Being a Business Owner is a complex thing. If we are honest most of us find ourselves fluctuating in our mood and mindset on an almost daily (or even hourly!) basis.
Does any of this sound familiar?
Whilst every Business Owner is different their concerns and doubts often follow similar patterns. Here are a three useful tips to help you reframe and bolster your self-belief on your more difficult days.
1) Always Compare Apples with Apples
Whilst comparison is a useful tool when learning the ropes and growing your business it is also often one of the core problems that new businesses run in to.
I’m a big believer in trying to learn from people and businesses out there who are gaining the kind of traction I aspire to achieve myself.
When I started my business, I followed other solo-preneurs on social media who launched their own businesses. I forensically examined what they were doing. When I launched my own Business Bootcamps and Events, I referenced the Events of others as a way of bench-marking my own progress.
On the one hand, this was good, as their successes showed me that what I wanted to achieve was possible. But, on the other hand, seeing others crushing it when I was still inching my way forward gave rise to significant self-doubt from time to time.
In our eagerness to do well we often fall into unhealthy comparison - comparing ourselves to people who are way ahead of us in their business growth journey.
Comparison is only valuable when you compare like with like.
To protect yourself from this I find that it is better to set personal, realistic goals each year and to ensure that I celebrate achieving those goals as my Business grows. This stops me from falling to the trap of constantly moving the goalposts further ahead (trying to directly mirror others), which can be very demotivating and only fuel your doubt further.
2) Self-belief Generates Customer Confidence - So, Act As If
Moving from being an employee to being Self-employed, or a Business Owner, sees us cut ourselves off from the safety net of the corporate brand and reputation of our former employer.
So, part of the exchange for the autonomy, independence, and freedom that we enjoy having as a business owner, can often be a lack of confidence when convincing others (or ourselves) of our value, or credibility, in our new role, despite all of our knowledge and experience to back it up. We find ourselves questioning why people should listen to us - imagining that one day we will get ‘caught out’ and called out as an impostor!
Self-belief is a vital element of all successful Business Owners psyche. I learned many years ago that often we need to start by ‘acting as if’ in order to reflect the stature and confidence that our clients need to feel in us.
'If you want to SEE It - You have to BE It!'
You can achieve this by getting very clear about your own professional narrative; developing your ‘golden nuggets’ of wisdom in your field and rehearsing your life and business parables again and again. When you believe in your own story fully, and see the value of what you have to share will convince others to believe in it too.
I have been a performer in bands for over 30 years and one of the things that you learn very early on is that audiences want to see a confident, relaxed performance from people who are enjoying themselves. Performing in front of new audience each week means that you are constantly starting a fresh and at the start of each gig nerves will inevitably running high. But that can never what the audience sees. Whilst all of us in the Band had a business (or ‘day-job’ outside of music), for the hours that we were on stage, when we were performing, we were a professional band, entertaining an audience who were out for an enjoyable evening. No half measures - go all in!
3) Don’t Confuse Clarity and Certainty
For many, the doubt that impedes your progress is born of thinking that you are alone in feeling ‘uncertain'.
Your perception is that others seem to be far more naturally confident and seem to never put a foot wrong. You envy their ‘certainty’ and berate yourself for not having that apparent level of belief yourself. In reality this is, of course, not the case.
Many Business Owners delay getting started working on their own success, waiting for that ‘certainty’ to arrive.
It’s important that you recognise that no-one actually has ‘Certainty’.
The successful ones, that you admire most, move forward based on having ‘Clarity’, not ‘Certainty’. They have clarity of purpose; clarity about their Customers; their messages and their Vision for the journey they are making.
Wise Business Owners never mistake Clarity for Certainty.
In my Coaching business I tell people to 'Get A Plan' because that's what fills the GAP between having a good idea and turning it into something successful. But I also say 'Have a Plan and hold it lightly'. You need to be adaptable; and versatile.
Just as success really is multifaceted and personal thing, self-doubt is an inevitable part of building your own business.
Creating the professional life and career you want for yourself can be a very uncertain journey.
You should take comfort in knowing that most people who have taken the decision to go it alone, even those who seem to be the most confident and have it all, have also had those restless nights dealing with self-doubt.
You are not alone - the doubts that you feel are a right of passage for every Business Owner. Be your own Best Friend!
Sometimes you have to just take your courage in both hands; hang in there, work through it and find the Lion within!
Until next week,
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