As a micro-business owner, have you ever had “one of the days“, or even one of those weeks?
You know what I mean. And when things don’t go according to plan we begin to doubt ourselves.
- Why are we doing this?
- Whose great idea was it to go into business anyway?
- It’s never going to work…
And with thoughts like these. you can feel like you’re losing your confidence and your nerve in your business.
For me, confidence is the outward expression of our inner self-belief and self-esteem.
There’s no way we can project a confident image to the rest of the world if we don’t believe it ourselves.
For the micro-business owner, healthy self-belief and self-esteem has to underpin everything we do. Otherwise we’re operating on very shaky ground indeed.
As a primary school teacher I would often read my class a book called ‘The Squonk’ by Julia Jarman. I used this as a way to help them understand the notion of self-esteem. It’s a story about conquering fear and thriving, of growing into the person we know we can be, and feeling great about ourselves.
After all, fear can stop us in our tracks as adults, let alone as children.
The Squonk is a ‘fearsome critter’ all the way from Pennsylvania.
Jessica finds him in her suitcase and he helps her to overcome her fear of the bully Enormous Stanley. When the Squonk feels bad about himself, he shrinks down into a puddle of nothing. On the other hand, when he feels great about himself, he grows to an enormous size.
I used to refer to the ‘inner Squonk’ and ask the children what would make their’s grow and what would make them feel fabulous about themselves?
There are lessons in the story for us all. Here are five of my favourite…
1. ‘Every time it sobbed it got smaller’
What made the Squonk sob?
Other people’s put downs and unintentional comments would leave it in floods of tears.
There are two lessons for us here:
- Firstly, don’t rely on what someone else thinks about you to build a foundation of strong self-esteem in the first place. We need to believe in ourselves, not be so vulnerable that we are quite so easily floored by other’s remarks.
- And secondly, choose not to ‘sob’. It can be done. Choose to look at the positives in your situation. Don’t let yourself get pulled into a downward spiral of negativity. Make a decision to STOP!
2. The Squonk grew when he repeated the positive messages he heard from other people
He also blossomed when others reinforced his positive view of himself.
Identify positive feedback you’ve received and choose to believe it.
Let yourself wallow in what feels good instead of what doesn’t.
Remember that belief you had in yourself in the beginning? The belief that let you dream and gave you courage and strength to take the first steps? Yes, that…you believed in yourself then, choose to believe in yourself now. Call upon your ‘champions’. These are people who believe in you. They can help to inflate your own self worth. They don’t create it from scratch for you, they work with what’s already there to help you grow.
3. Success breeds success
When the Squonk was doing what it did best, he was awesome!
Understand that when you do what you do best, you are too. So just what is it that you do best? Get back to the core of the real you and reconnect with it for a few days. Push aside anything else and concentrate on what you do really well. If that’s writing, write, if it’s baking cupcakes, then bake cupcakes. If it’s playing with numbers in spreadsheets, do that for a few days. Take some time out from the networking, tweeting, selling and marketing. Remind yourself what your first love is and why you went into business in the first place.
4. ‘You’re bigger now and you won’t shrink’
The Squonk tells Jessica before he leaves her. Remember this. You are ‘bigger’ now, and every day makes you more so; you have experience and new talents under your belt. You are not the person you were when you started your business. You won’t shrink either. You won’t lose that wisdom; you can’t go back to being the ‘new kid’. Day by day you are building stores of experience and resilience. Review your successes in detail and see just how far you’ve come.
5. Just as the Squonk grew and deflated, understand that you will too.
It’s perfectly normal to feel ‘smaller’ from time to time, but understand that you have all you need around you, including your own inner resources, to grow again.
You simply need to embrace that inner squonk.
Today’s Micro Action
Get in touch with your inner squonk.
Figure out what you need to do to keep your own inner Squonk inflated and then commit to doing it regularly.