All the business and marketing plans in the world won’t make a bit of difference if you don’t develop confidence. You need to have confidence in yourself, confidence in your offering and be able to inspire confidence in others in order to make them buy from you.
But sometimes, we hold unrealistic expectations about what confidence looks or feels like. And if you try to live up to an impossible ideal the opposite happens – your confidence is drained.
Here are the five most common confidence myths.
1. Being confident means being the loudest person in the room.
Have you ever heard that phrase ‘quietly confident’?
Feeling confident doesn’t mean you need to be loud, brash or the centre of attention. True confidence comes from the inside, feeling at ease with yourself and feeling comfortable with who you are. It’s possible to exude confidence without being all singing and dancing. It could be that the loudest person in the room is using that as a mask to hide their own insecurities and lack of confidence in a certain area, and is overcompensating.
2. Confusing nerves with a lack of confidence
It is possible to feel confident and still feel nervous.
If you are a micro business owner and attend networking meetings, you may experience nerves at the thought of standing up in front of a room full of people. This is not the same as lacking confidence – after all, you can stand up and you can talk – two simple tasks. You are simply doing them at the same time. Presumably you are confident in your subject knowledge and the message you want to get across. Nerves are normal, most people get them, and there are tricks you can use to help you.
3. Confident people don’t show any weaknesses
On the contrary, I believe confident business people aren’t afraid to show some vulnerability.
A truly confident person will know themselves very well, understand their own strengths and weaknesses, and embrace them as valuable parts of their personality. Having an understanding of what makes you tick will mean you are building a rock solid core of yourself and can take steps to address and head off any issues that may undermine your performance. Learning to be comfortable, accepting and non-judgemental of yourself is an important way of building your self esteem.
4. Confident people don’t make mistakes
Confident people make as many mistakes as other people do.
What they have as the advantage is the ability to be open and honest about them, analyse what they’ve done and take the steps to put it right. Having the confidence to manage change and being brave enough to face up to situations that may not be working means your chances of success are increased as you are in a position to deal with what’s gone wrong, not bury your head in the sand and hope for the best. Confident business owners aren’t afraid to try things; they’ll take reasonable risks and be flexible enough to deal with the consequences, without seeing it as the end of the world if things don’t go according to plan.
5. Using blanket phrases like ‘I’m just not a confident person’
I have never met anyone who is not confident in at least one area of their life.
Thinking of yourself as “unconfident” is extremely unhelpful. We all have situations in which we feel very comfortable and we excel in, and other situations in which we are less so. Identifying exactly what it is that we feel less confident in can allow us to take steps to remedy it. For example, a business owner might say they’re not comfortable cold-calling. Under closer examination, it might be they don’t know what to say, so having a script prepared in advance and understanding that a refusal of their services is just that – a refusal of their services, not them personally, can be very confidence building.
So, you can be confident and still make mistakes, be yourself, remain true to your personality, feel nervous and not have to be a superman or woman. I hope that gives you more confidence in itself!
Today’s Micro Action
Which area of your business do you feel less confident in? Write it down and work out what’s the real underlying cause.