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GREAT LEADERS

5 Ways to Boost Your Confidence Now

The life of an entrepreneur means constant challenges--and not always knowing the right solution. When you feel out of your depth, try these strategies.

You aren't the only entrepreneur to second-guess yourself. You're not the only one who feels confused about the next steps or concerned about how to handle a challenge. No, you aren't the only entrepreneur to question your own ability and wish you were smarter, more capable, and more confident.

So many business owners are on a quest to become one of those steadily confident, outgoing people who are at the top of their game 100 percent of the time. But the sad fact is that they're wasting their time and reaching for the impossible. They don't know that even those who seem to have the perfect mindset question their confidence as well. The only difference between those who don't exude confidence and those who do is that the latter see their occasional psychological dips for what they are: an opportunity for growth.

The self-questioning that goes on inside your head is perfectly natural. Think about it. How often must you step into an entirely new arena, like firing an employee or expanding into a new market? How often are you forced to do something that isn't at the top of your list of core competencies? The life of an entrepreneur involves always confronting new challenges. 

Accepting this fact is key to increasing your confidence. If you recognize your discomfort as an opportunity for growth, rather than an obstacle, you will reduce your emotional pain and increase your profits. Here are a few confidence-building strategies for when you feel out of your depth:

Get out of your own way

When faced with something new, accept that you don't know what you don't know. Leaders aren't people who know it all; they're people who are willing to admit that they don't know it all. Stop lamenting over your lack of knowledge and create an action plan. Evaluate when and where you need help and what your resources are. Get out of your head and make a mind map or a list of next steps, then create a timeline and get to work.

Differentiate between confidence and aptitude

Do you avoid public speaking? What about sales calls? Identify areas of procrastination and differentiate between those where you definitely lack the aptitude and those you avoid mostly because they feel uncomfortable to you.

For instance, you may not have the aptitude to do your bookkeeping because your creative brain doesn't wrap itself around numbers. Or you might just be fearful of bookkeeping because you would prefer to stay in the dark about your numbers.

What you don't know won't hurt you, right? Wrong. If you're avoiding something out of fear, find the means of support and accountability that will help you to conquer these fears. When you stop avoiding things you deem unpleasant, your confidence will grow and solutions will surface.

Understand your value

You will be faced with challenges and opportunities that simply don't reflect your strengths and never will. We all have core personality styles and areas of strengths and weaknesses. This is a good thing--who wants to live in a world where everyone is the same? Embrace and play to your strengths and turn to others to complete the picture.

Watch out for the waves

Many business owners just ride the wave when things are going well. Just as many get flooded by it when things aren't going so well. On both sides of the spectrum, it's important to stretch and explore your next opportunities for growth. Don't get caught on or in the wave; find your middle ground and continue to grow and learn. Read books and online authors, attend conferences, and work with coaches and mentors who can help with both professional and personal growth.

Stop worrying about what others think

Of course you want to make a good impression, but when you become overly engrossed in what others think you increase the odds of putting your foot in your mouth. Most people, those worth knowing anyway, will forgive a simple mistake because they've made a few themselves. Don't verbally bash yourself if your first attempts aren't perfect. Instead, celebrate your growth and learn from your missteps. People will admire your courage if you embrace it yourself.

What are your favorite confidence-building techniques and resources? Please share!

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IMAGE: Getty Images
Last updated: Mar 17, 2014

MARLA TABAKA

Marla Tabaka is a small-business advisor who helps entrepreneurs around the globe grow their businesses well into the millions. She has over 25 years of experience in corporate and start-up ventures and speaks widely on combining strategic and creative thinking for optimum success and happiness.




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