Young man in a suit writing notes on a whiteboard.

Building Self-confidence: An Essential Step for Business Success

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Young man in a suit writing notes on a whiteboard.

Building Self-confidence: An Essential Step for Business Success

Is your current level of self-confidence an asset or liability to your business?

By David Cox | June 2, 2020

Self-confidence: An essential quality for better business results

Self-confidence is arguably an asset throughout our lives, but it seems particularly essential in building your business. The basis of your confidence may be in your skill, talent, education, or previous experience. Nevertheless, a self-confident business leader is critical to the success of your venture.

It’s not easy for prospective clients to have confidence in a consultant who is ill-prepared for a meeting or a presentation. It’s hard to think of a contractor as a professional when he/she is chronically late for appointments. Likewise, it’s challenging to support a small business whose owner mindlessly repeats the same mistakes. It's no surprise when self-confident business leaders deliver results that attract more customers and clients.

A self-confident individual is distinctive

You can easily distinguish a self-confident person from others. They answer questions clearly and remain calm in stressful situations. We’re instinctively drawn to them because they inspire confidence in others. As a result, business leaders who demonstrate confidence are often more successful than those who are not.

These are among the reasons that doctors, airline pilots, engineers, and successful business leaders tend to be among those we admire most. We value their ability to apply their skill and knowledge to the best interest of those they serve. Unquestionably, the self-confidence among these professionals is at a high level.

Assess yourself honestly

Consider the following questions and decide whether your current level of self-confidence is either an asset or a liability.
1. Do you always behave in a manner that others expect?
2. Do you manage your behavior based on what other people think?
3. Do you prefer to stay in your comfort zone and avoid taking risks and avoid more challenging tasks?
4. Do you often find yourself working to fix mistakes so that other people won’t notice?
5. Do you feel embarrassed or ashamed every time someone points out your mistakes?
If you answered “yes” to two or more of the above questions, it’s time to take action to improve your self-confidence.

Building your self-confidence by relatively simple steps

The truth is, not everyone was born with self-confidence. Typically, those who struggle with a lack of self-confidence often feel unappreciated and find it difficult to succeed.

The good news is that you can become self-confident with time and intentional effort. Obviously, you're not going to achieve self-confidence overnight, but once you get started, the benefits of this valuable quality will become increasingly evident.

How self-confident do you feel when working with clients, customers, and other business owners? Fortunately, if you feel the need for improvement in this area, here a few simple ideas that could yield significant results.

1. Keep track of your achievements

Start a notebook of your achievements and write each one down. Whether you closed a successful sale or resolved a complicated problem with a customer/client. You may have just received a raise, a promotion, or some other form of recognition. Any words of praise and encouragement you received from your superiors--write them down in your notebook.

On days when you feel down, flip through your notes, and re-read some of your successes. Your self-confidence will grow as you remember that you are a capable business leader who can learn to accomplish anything. Why? Because you've already proven your ability to succeed.

2. Set goals

Set realistic goals for yourself and stick to them. Design them to highlight your strengths rather than your weaknesses. Remember, intentionally set your goals to be specific and measurable. If not, they’re merely a wish list.

Moreover, develop the habit of framing your goals positively. Rather than saying, “I can’t possibly complete this project in less than two weeks,” try saying, “I can complete this project in two weeks.” When you frame your goals using affirmative statements, you reinforce them in your mind. Why? Because they focus on what you can do rather than on what you can’t.

3. Practice positive self-talk

If you struggle with low self-confidence, you need to understand the value of practicing positive self-talk. First, you need to eliminate your negative self-talk. You may feel your previous life or business experiences have destroyed your self-confidence.

Second, it’s time to forgive anyone you’ve blamed (including yourself), let the past go, and move on. You’re only hurting yourself with this type of negative self-talk.

Third, start telling yourself the truth. Your past has already occurred, and there is absolutely nothing you can ever do to change it. You cannot do anything about the career mistakes of yesterday, but you can work to do a better job today and build a better tomorrow.

I can assure you that developing positive self-talk is an infinitely more worthwhile investment. Moreover, it will result in growing your self-confidence.

4. Practice receiving compliments graciously

When you receive a compliment graciously, doing so will support you in building self-confidence. Acknowledge that you deserve the praise because you have worked hard for it. Smile and say, “Thank you. I’m proud of it as well,” rather than, “Oh, it was nothing. Anyone could have done it.”

The former shows your appreciation of someone’s notice that you are striving to do a good job. Sadly, the latter gives the impression that either your contribution didn’t matter or your task was so easy anyone could have done it.

Building self-confidence is worth the effort

You can build your confidence with patience and persistence. It costs you nothing. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Don’t be afraid to set progressively higher goals and challenge yourself to achieve even more. Take it one step at a time at a pace that’s comfortable to you.

Some people may take three months, while others may take six months or more. Undoubtedly, within a matter of weeks, you will notice a difference in yourself. Furthermore, you'll notice a difference in your business relationships and interactions. Regardless of how long it takes, I guarantee you will be proud of the more self-confident person you’ve become.

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About the Author: David Cox

David Cox is a Co-owner of TPB Business Copyediting. He writes to encourage us to apply our multidisciplinary training and experiences to develop our current career role further.