Every successful business leader has a strong sense of self-belief.

It's a precursor to success, no matter how you decide to define it--it's the foundation of confidence--but let's try to define it, anyway. Here's my definition: Belief is the full acceptance and trust in something--self-belief is when you trust yourself.

Like most things in life, self-belief is fluid--it comes and goes. No normal person is always 100 percent sure of themselves. Recently, our team at Movemedical has been transitioning from a consulting and product type of service to product-based. We are learning to scale.

Like with most startups, we're experiencing growing pains. We are working hard to develop some new skills that we, as a team and company didn't have before. While we might have had the capability, experience, and talent, the specific new skills needed were not there.

Starting out, our self-belief was low and was proven by our business results. This started to affect performance. We missed a couple important internal targets as a company and botched a few sales demos.

After careful reflection and research, we realized there were six actions we could take daily to improve our self-belief--which, in turn, would help us create better results. Here they are:

1. Increase your competence.

This is, by far, the most important. When you can predict a positive outcome, all fear and anxiety can be placated. Work hard every day to become more skillful in your daily tasks.

If you sell, learn to give impactful demos. If you are a programmer, learn new languages. If you are a copywriter, learn to write better.  

The 80/20 rule is vital here. Since 80 percent of your results come from 20 percent of your efforts, find that 20 percent and become exceptionally competent. As you do, your self-belief will sky-rocket. 

2. Listen to understand.

The more you understand a situation, a person, or a problem, the more you'll be able to trust your intuition. When you understand you can make better choices. Learn to listen, commit to understanding.

I learned this with a customer as we were discussing forecasting. I was talking inventory forecasting and they were talking sales forecasting. While similar in the result, very different in application. It wasn't until I truly listened that I understood what was really being shared. 

When you're listening, don't just listen to the words. Listen with curiosity. Continually ask, "Why?" Why is this situation the way it is today? What caused it?

3. Choose your expectations.

Often, your expectations cause you to doubt your abilities. If you change your expectations, you can then reduce the anxiety and fear and then allow your skills and training to take over.

The action to take here is to expect success and work backward. Reverse-engineer a successful outcome and match your expectations to the actions derived.

My team did this by deeply examining what a truly successful client on-boarding session would look and feel like. Then we mapped all the steps in reverse that we thought it would take to get there. Once the steps were bite-sized, the expectations were easy to align with our current reality.

4. Practice humility.

While searching for self-belief, do not put others down on your way up. Humility is the opposite of arrogance. You can be confident, proud, and humble all at the same time.

Humble leaders are easier to follow. When you're humble, you're respected and can better influence others. Think about the wants and needs of others before your own. This starts with constant awareness.

5. Be mission-focused.

Some people call this being goal-oriented. Know your objective and make sure all actions you take are aligned with your ultimate desire. Each day you focus on your mission is a day where your self-belief gets stronger.

The opposite is true, too. Stop paying attention to things that don't help your mission. Period. 

6. Admit mistakes.

Some of the biggest fears come from being found out, being exposed. If you expose yourself, that fear is automatically eliminated. When you're honest with yourself and with others, you're in a great place to grow. As a team, you share both successes and mistakes.

As my team consciously focused on those actions, our self-belief grew. Our confidence improved and our clients were rewarded with better go-live experiences and more proactive service. The same will be true for you and your business: The more you work to develop self-belief, the surer of your situation, the surer of your results, and the surer of your contribution you will become.

When you are sure, you believe, you know. And, we all know, the more you know, the more your business will grow.

Published on: Feb 5, 2018
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