Do Your Confidence Levels Affect Your Business?
“I’m worried about putting my prices up.”
“I don’t want to seem too big for my boots and lose clients.”
“I get nervous and self conscious sharing my business success.”
“I feel like an impostor that’s going to get found out.”
“I don’t deserve to be successful.”
Any of these sound familiar to you and your business? You’re not alone. I work with a number of clients whose lack of confidence and not knowing their value is preventing them reaching their full business potential. And these are amazing people who have amazing businesses but their personal roadblocks are keeping them and their business stagnant.
As a marketer and a coach, I frequently use learned coaching principles with my marketing clients; coaching and marketing are more intricately linked than we know.
I’m very happy to say that over the years I’ve helped clients achieve successes including:
- Deliver winning pitches worth six figures to their business
- Increase their prices and gain new business because of it
- Understand and value their worth and experience
- Gain significant press coverage for them and their business
- Manage confrontation in a controlled way and formulate their business dreams alongside a robust plan to achieve them
Sadly, us Brits don’t tend to be naturally confident and assertive because from an early age we’ve been taught that compliancy is the socially acceptable thing to do – just look at our queuing habits and how we say sorry when someone walks into us. There’s a tendency to think people who are very confident are crass, which isn’t true. We have to remember not to confuse confidence with dominance.
Being confident and assertive in public and in private is all about control. Controlling your situation, controlling how you are perceived and, importantly, controlling how to deal with the aftermath of pressure.
Here are a few tips to help you be more confident in your business:
Believe in yourself
You run your own amazing business for a reason and I bet that reason is that you’re pretty bloody good at whatever it is that you do or offer. You are as good as, and if not better, than anybody else out there and you deserve your place at the table.
But even the most confident of us can suffer from self doubt in stressful situations. This is where your ‘big me up’ book comes in handy. This can be a notepad/journal/note on your phone listing all of your achievements and compliments and should be with you at all times. We’re brilliant at remembering the stuff we royally messed up, but not so good at remembering our great achievements, which is why it’s good to write them down and in times of self doubt, get that book out and remember how bloody fab you are.
Preparation is key
If you know you’re going to be in a pressured situation (be it a pitch or difficult chat with a colleague), be prepared. Think about every eventuality. Where could it go? What questions might be asked and how could you respond in a way that’s still integral to your values and feelings?
Anticipate other people’s objections and behaviour and prepare your responses. It will make you feel confident, calmer and you’ll come across in a more controlled way because of it. Also permit yourself time to stop and consider. There is no harm saying to your client that you need time to think about what they are discussing with you – this shows them that you are in control.
You may look like an oddjob talking to yourself but saying things out loud really helps. It moulds your tone, language and delivery and you can identify what doesn’t quite sound right or sit well.
Get a mate to do a mock meeting with you, answer questions in the mirror, check your speed (we all talk faster when we’re nervous) and how you look – I get a delightful neck rash when speaking in public/thinking about James McAvoy, so polo necks are my friend. Oh, and smile. It costs nothing and people will take to you more quickly as they’ll respond to your positive vibes, man.
Know your worth
If you are in a situation of conflict or unease where you’re a lioness on the outside but a little kitten on the inside then remember your worth. You are important, people cannot take advantage of you and if they do, you are perfectly entitled to stand up to them and set your boundaries and your pricing.
When natural people pleasers and the laid back among us start standing their ground, it’s common for those around them not to like them suddenly not complying with the role their colleagues/clients has always seen them in. Forget them. Your true fans will encourage and admire this in you and the people that find it threatening are best lost.
Allow me to introduce Shirley. Shirley is the whining, nagging voice inside my head; my inner critic. I named her Shirley so I could yell, “Shut up, Shirley!”, “You’re a proper s***, Shirley!” and “Shirley’s a s***head!” and it would make me smile – it’s the small things.
We all have an inner critic – referred to as our NID if we’re being professional – and my god, they know how to hit us where it hurts. Shirley often tells me I’m rubbish or that I can’t possibly stand up and deliver that presentation, that I’m a fraud and i’ll soon get found out. This can lead to demeaning body language (head stooped, slower pace, lower voice) as the confidence drains out of me.
I’ve learned to shut her up by using affirmations – positive statements said in the present tense. So for example, when I’m getting ready in the morning I say things like, “I am going to stand up in that meeting and be confident today,” or “I look nice in this dress.” By repeating the affirmations, we can create new neural pathways that become our natural go-to instead of Shirley-speak – which can only be a good thing.
We’re built as fragile creatures who hurt, get offended and sometimes find it hard to be true to ourselves. But we’re also brave, which is one of the best qualities we have. Quiet confidence and assertiveness is a wonderful thing. You’re ace, remember that. And, go on, say it out loud.