A Forbes article “The Confidence Gap and Women Entrepreneurs” got me thinking about whether confidence is something we are born with, must learn as a child, or can acquire as an adult. Since the larger debate of whether entrepreneurs are born or taught has great points on either side, the fact that it may really be confidence that determines success is clearly a topic for discussion.
I’ll start with my belief that confidence can be learned at any age. Of course, the younger one is the better, but learning to have faith that one will act in a right, proper, or effective way can definitely be nurtured.
If you were as fortunate as a child, you started life with parents who encouraged you every day of your life to try everything that came your way, telling you all the while that what you did was great. When you are child you haven’t acquired the perspective on what success and failure looks and feel like. So, if you are motivated to keep going with the belief that at the end you will have accomplished your goals – you keep going. Entrepreneurs are just grown up children following their dreams and looking for unconditional love to believe in themselves. Without it, the fear of failure is overwhelming and the desire to keep digging deeper only to perhaps lose everything wins the mental debate.
In QueenMakers I work, with women, helping each find their way in business. My job is not to provide solutions to problems, but to ask the right questions so that the entrepreneur can discover their own answers. The next step, which often times is the most difficult for entrepreneurs to take, is to take action. Taking action in business requires confidence – the belief that the action that is taken will be the right one. The fact is, in business as in life, there are always many ways to look at a problem and too many ways to attempt to solve it. Yet, the hardest step of all once the decision is made on what to do – is to do it. The biggest mistake some entrepreneurs make is not taking action – not making a decision – not taking one road or another. Every road taken is better than standing still – this is true in travel and in business.
My job is to instill confidence in my clients so they believe in their decisions and boldly move forward. Businesses only grow when energy is put into them. Left alone they stagnate.
So how can you build confidence in yourself and become the successful woman entrepreneur you were meant to be?
First, start with praising yourself for all the things you do right. It doesn’t matter how small or normal these things are – just say it out loud “I did a really good job at getting to work on time”, or “I am successful at creating a To-Do list for my day and I’ll check off each task one at a time”. It is the small successes in our life that we need to build on.
When I ask my clients what they feel most successful about since we last talked, I hear silence. But when I ask what hasn’t gone right as planned, many have a detailed list to share. Confidence can’t be built if we focus on our failures rather than our successes.
Second, don’t compare yourself to others. You are a unique individual with strengths and weaknesses. Build on your strengths and learn to delegate your areas of weakness. Confidence is built when we know our limits. Don’t over promise what you can’t deliver.
Third, visualize yourself being successful. Whatever the situation, close your eyes and create a picture in your mind of what success looks like for you. If it is pitching a new client, envision the scenario where you give the greatest performance of your life. Hear the client accept your terms. Feel the warm handshake given to seal the deal. Sense the tingle your heart feels in closing new business. This trick can be used in any situation. I call it being the director of your own life movie. As director it is in your power to win or lose, succeed or fail.
If confidence is what is lacking in your life, start today to take action as the director of your own life movie. Your Oscar is waiting for you!
Nyaradzo Viki-Mavindidze, Managing Consultant of Avodah Consultants, is a renowned Speaker, Training Consultant, Coach, Author, Entrepreneur, and Philanthropist. A psychologist by profession, she is passionate about helping people improve and excel in their lives holistically, shifting personal paradigms and beliefs through training. Over the years, she has developed herself as a brand to reckon with in dissemination lasting solutions to performance deficiencies.
QueenMakers is an initiative she founded that pursues proactive strategies to develop and empower women and girls to take on leadership roles in their communities through; training, mentoring, capacity building and coaching. She believes that the full and active participation of women in economic activities and decision-making is a pre-requisite for positive change and development in Zimbabwe and in Africa.