Do any of the phrases below resonate with you?
“My biggest roadblock is believing that I have enough expertise to be of service.”
“Clients are not taking me seriously”
“Fear of failure”
“Fear hiding behind procrastination”
“Not feeling like I’m worthy to teach others what I know”
These are 5 of the 204 responses I got when I asked for feedback about the personal and professional roadblocks that get in the way of building your business.
As I was reading the responses my heart sank. Almost every response mentioned something about feeling fear, not feeling worthy, or not believing in her (his) ability to actually help clients.
Here’s a truth that might sting a little.
Low self-esteem is like a garden weed.
If you pull it out without killing off the root it will continue to grow and spread across the garden.
For years I had a story in my head (and still do sometimes) that told me that if I said THAT people would think I was a bitch. That if I gave my opinion or advice people would think I was a know-it-all… better to keep my mouth shut.
During my late teens and early university years, I had a bit of a shopping problem. I remember spending hours walking the streets in Montreal (where I went to school) trying on and buying clothes. The clothes made me feel good.
My outfits induced false feelings of confidence – – I’m all for a power outfit to enhance confidence, but that’s not what I was doing.
I was using the clothes to help me feel like I was ENOUGH.
What THING are you using to create false feelings of confidence and worthiness?
Have you ever asked yourself why you feel insecure? What’s the answer?
In kindergarten I was labeled “bossy” and the lovely title stuck with me and not in a good way. In elementary school, the girls wouldn’t ever play with me. I was bullied pretty much all through high school even though I was one of the ‘cool kids’.
I continuously work on my self-development because I am determined to kill the weed off at the root so it doesn’t grow and spread anymore.
Real progress comes from acknowledging the reasons and doing the hard work to transform your feelings. Real progress doesn’t come from buying lots of stuff and hiding behind excuses.
Here are a couple of things I realized as I’ve built my confidence.
Negative thoughts are NOT facts, even though they feel like complete truths.
Daily rituals and surrounding yourself with the people you’d like to become are game changers.
So how do you start to build confidence when you are just starting your business?
Rationalize your fears.
We all have an inner lizard – – it can be found in the temporal region of your brain. It’s called the amygdala. It’s in charge of fear and negative-based thinking. The amygdala is activated when you are stressed, which you are when the voices in your head are talking smack.
Try this: Rationalize the fear. What is the absolute worst thing that can happen? Boil it down so you can make light of it.
When I feel fear and insecurity I like to ask myself this question: Will the worst thing affect me 5 years from now? Will anyone aside from me even remember?
Take emotional risks.
It’s hard to be vulnerable. It’s hard to share how you really feel. It’s hard to stand up for yourself. It’s even hard to share gratitude, love, and appreciation.
Sharing something vulnerable provides an opportunity for growth.
When you expose a part of yourself you acknowledge the feeling and step outside of your comfort zone. And it’s in that space where you start to build confidence.
In my experience self-esteem and confidence are built by taking action and through achievement – – set goals for yourself, work on them, and achieve them.
When you do that you build up the belief that you CAN do it. You prove to yourself that you can.
Try this: Set a small goal for yourself, one that you feel fairly confident you can achieve. Set the goal and achieve it. Build up small wins. You will notice that the next goal you strive for will be bigger and more ambitious as your belief in your ability to achieve them grows.
Please don’t do the thing where you think – – ok, but where do I start, what goal should I pick, is the goal good enough, what if I can’t achieve it.
At some point, you have to make a decision to stop the runaway thoughts and focus on achieving the goal. You can acknowledge the thoughts and then actively decide to let them go because they don’t serve you.
Create confidence-building rituals.
I love my morning magic time. 5:00 am is the time when I can sit and focus on nurturing my creativity and doing the work I was meant to do. My mornings are exactly the same every single day.
4:48 am alarm goes off.
Grab my phone and pee. While peeing I read this quote (which is saved as an image on my phone), “I am that I am. I accept everything that I am and everything that I’m not.”
Then I make coffee. With a hot cup of coffee, I sit at the computer and write at least 1,000 words.
Then before I finish my morning magic time (because the kids are waking up) I either read The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer or Our Deepest Fear by Marianne Williamson.
Then the kids wake up. My day starts with nurturing my soul. Writing for me is the most creative thing I can do and it fulfills me.
What fulfills you? Do that first thing in the morning without compromise.
Try this: Set the alarm for 15 minutes earlier. Get up and do one action that nurtures you. Don’t do anything else until that one action is complete. You will get to a point where this time of day becomes ritualized.
Please know the lack of confidence you feel is just part of the process of creating your dream life. You are stepping into uncharted waters and doing things you’ve never done all while having to transform into a leader, a coach, and a CEO. It’s not easy but it can be done.
Recognize that feeling insecure means you are on the right track – – in the space of creating something from nothing all there is to feel, is vulnerability. It’s a good thing as long as you don’t let it stop you from moving forward.