3 Ways To Be More Confident

What would you try or change in your life right now if you felt more confident?
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If you believed more in yourself and in your business, would you:
  • increase your prices or be more selective about the clients you work with?
  • speak at a networking event, make a video or publish an article?
  • expand your team or invest in a mentor?
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You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you stop to look fear in the face…. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

~ ELEANOR ROOSEVELT

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Alicia Menkveld recording videosIt took me about a year to pluck up the courage to record my first video from the first time I had the idea to make videos to engage with my audience.

It took me at least another six months before I actually posted one of those videos on Facebook. I wasn’t confident that they were good enough.

For some people it’s the easiest thing in the world to record and post videos. I break out in cold sweat and look like a deer caught in the headlights.
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And that’s the thing with confidence… it all depends on the activity we do and how often we’ve done that activity in the past.

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It’s different for every person – what’s easy for you, could be completely nerve-wracking for me. I find speaking in front of a live crowd easy, but I had to flex my confidence muscle when I recorded videos on green screen in a studio for the first time.

The videos were for the Business Confidence Academy, a 7-week program for business owners ready to streamline their business so it supports the lifestyle they want to live.
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When was the last time you did something for the first time?

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Confidence, like any other skill can be learned with practice, and it’s crucial to your success in both life and business.

The more you do something you think you cannot do, the more you build an unshakable belief in yourself and your abilities. And it gets easier over time to step out of your comfort zone and be more confident.
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3-ways-to-be-more-confident

 

3 Ways To Be More Confident
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ASK BETTER QUESTIONS 

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When we face our fears it’s easy to get lost in a vague paralysing fear that we can’t define, instead of being clear about what exactly could go wrong.

By asking: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” you effectively do an informal risk assessment which forces your mind to come up with realistic scenarios of what could happen when you pursue the opportunity.

By getting a clear picture, we realise that our minds mostly let us chase ghosts that don’t exist, and we discover what’s really holding us back from taking the next step. Now we can plan for success and manage the risks.
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Case In Point: My Videos

I didn’t want to make videos because my monkey mind told me that:

  • I didn’t have anything interesting to say
  • No one will watch my videos
  • I don’t like how I look in videos
  • People will think my videos suck.

By asking: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” I realised that the worst thing that could happen was that no one watched the video or liked it. There’s no risk in that!
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So why wasn’t I making the videos?

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By asking: “What’s so bad about that? I realised that my ego was afraid of being rejected and not liked, and it was afraid that people would laugh at my ‘bad’ video.

The role of the ego is to keep us safe, but that means that new situations with unknown outcomes are perceived as being dangerous. Sometimes situations are dangerous, but 9 times out of 10, there is nothing to fear but a slightly bruised ego.

In my case, none of my fears came true as many people watched and liked my videos, and even made nice comments! And the more videos I made, the more confident I became…

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BE CURIOUS AND LEARN

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Have you ever caught yourself starting something with great enthusiasm but when you hit road blocks, you start to doubt yourself?

It’s easy to get stuck in the Why-cycle:Why is this happening? Why is it so hard? Why always me?“. From there, it’s a short downward spiral to quitting the project and moving on to the next shiny object with renewed enthusiasm.

When you ask why-me-questions it’s an indicator that you find yourself in victim territory where confidence dies a quick death.
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KEY IDEAS:blog-image-key-ideas1

Instead of asking “Why“, rather ask:

  • What’s really going on? What’s the real problem?”
  • “Is there an opportunity for me to learn something from this situation?  
  • “What is the one thing I can do differently to change the situation and get the results I want?”

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This technique replaces our negative thoughts with solution-focused thinking and helps us realise that we are in control and that we can choose what to do next.

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MY VIDEO EXAMPLE:

With the questions above, I’ve identified that there were no detrimental risks involved in making a video and posting it to Facebook, except maybe a bruised ego.

The opportunity was to learn more about my insecurities and to learn a new skill (making videos). I was able to change my results because I chose to face my fears, record the videos and post them.

Asking what-questions put you back in the driver’s seat and boost your confidence because you know you have the ability to figure things out. It’s powerful to know that you can change the outcome of your situation to whatever you desire.

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 PRACTICE UNTIL YOU BECOME IT 

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Fake it till you make it” is one of the biggest confidence myths ever!

After studying highly successful people for several years, Malcolm Gladwell in the book Outliers  says that it roughly takes 10,000 hours of practice to achieve mastery in any field. Mastery and confidence always go hand-in-hand.

There was a direct statistical relationship between the hours of practice and achievement of the people he studied. Especially when it comes to achieving big dreams like becoming a master pianist, a famous performer, TV presenter, a professional speaker or a successful business owner.

The study found that not even natural talent really played a role. There are no shortcuts or ‘naturals’ in life or business – only people who focus, put in the work, take risks and then ‘get lucky’.
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Maybe she was born with it… no it was NOT Maybelline! It was hard work, focus and not quitting!

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And that’s what I’ve done with videos in the studio.

I wrote scripts and rewrote them several times until I captured the essence of the message I wanted to get across. Then I practiced the scripts. Over and over and over for a few days.

I’ve learned so much from my experience in the studio. I realised that I’ll need to increase my practice time even more before the next video recordings to improve my delivery efficiency and presentation style, and to save money on fewer studio hire hours!

It’s also encouraging to know that even high profile speakers and TV personalities use scripts, and that they too practice a lot. So hopefully after 10,000 hours of practice, I’ll also sound as polished as Oprah in my videos.

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KEY IDEAS:blog-image-key-ideas1
  • Practice until what you want to master, comes as natural as breathing to you
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  • Use your imagination to practice scenarios before an actual event – e.g. an important meeting with a big client which you feel nervous about.
    • Plan the structure of the meeting and what needs to be said
    • See how well the meeting goes; see yourself smiling, feeling confident and listening to their needs
    • See how your solution can help them, and
    • See the signed contract on the table.
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  • Practice your pitch in front of the mirror, with a business partner or a colleague to iron out any kinks and make your vision a reality!
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To accomplish great things we must first dream, then visualize, then plan… believe… act!

~ ALFRED A. MONTAPERT

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QUESTION:

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What do YOU do to feel more confident when you face a new situation? Leave your comment below.
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#smallbusinesssuccessskills

Alicia-MenkveldAuthor: ALICIA MENKVELD  Creator of: BUSINESS CONFIDENCE ACADEMY Alicia Menkveld is an award-winning entrepreneur for the last 17 years who loves to travel and lived on three continents to date. She is an international speaker, author and a trusted adviser to small business owners and leaders. Alicia is an authority on business strategy, mindset and productivity for individuals and teams. Streamline your business to support your lifestyle.

THINGS TO DO BEFORE YOU DIE

Before I Die I Want To

Are you fulfilling the hopes and dreams your younger self had for you?

What would you still like to do before you die?

As a teenager I dreamed about traveling the world as a flight attendant, meeting interesting people, doing business and having fun.

We all start out bright-eyed and bushy-tailed with big, big dreams. Anything seems possible and we believe in the magic of life.

Then society’s prescribed recipe for life kicks in – study, work, mortgage, marriage and having kids.

When you blink, you wake up in your 40’s or 50’s and wonder how you ended up here and if there’s still time to live the life you’ve always imagined.

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”
~ OSCAR WILDE

I’m extremely blessed and grateful to have fulfilled a few dreams my younger self had for me:

  • I’ve traveled to 20+ countries and various cities (but not as a flight attendant)
  • I’ve met very interesting people along the way and a few became dear friends
  • I’ve lived on three continents to date
  • After a few false starts I’ve managed to find love and settle down in my late 30’s
  • I’ve set up successful businesses in South Africa + Australia
  • And I most certainly had some fun along the way.

However, there are still so many things I would like to do.

Over time I’ve compiled a list of 101 goals that I would like to achieve in my lifetime, an exercise I learned from Jack Canfield, famous co-author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series, and I revisit my list often to ensure it stays front of mind.

My 101 Goal List includes goals from all areas of life – personal, professional, emotional, wealth, health, social, contribution and spiritual. The aim of the list is to dream the seemingly “impossible” dream.

For the most part, I have no idea how I’ll achieve all my dreams but I believe that if you have the desire to do something, you also have everything you need to achieve it.

“If you believe in anything, believe in yourself and the power within you,
to realize your dreams.”

My goals + dreams are based on what matters most to me and range from mastering my mind + emotions, living a happy + harmonious life and having a fulfilled relationship, to a few more challenging ones.

I thought I’ll share a few of my big ones with you. Before I die I want to ___________________:

  • Travel the world more extensively
  • Impact the lives of six million people
  • Write a New York Times best seller
  • Spend time on Necker Island with Richard Branson + other change makers
  • Speak in a stadium of 50,000+ people.

It doesn’t matter if your dreams look different to mine. All that matters is that it’s something YOU want and it’s meaningful to YOU.

Now take a moment to think about the hopes and dreams
your 20-year old self had for you.

Write them down as you go and start your own 101 Goal List today.

Great Questions to Ask Yourself:

  • What dreams did you have for yourself?
  • Have you realized any of them?
  • Is it still something you would like to do?
  • What new dreams would you like to add to your list?

 

“You can get anything you want. It doesn’t take talent or luck to succeed, you just need to decide.”
~ MARIE FORLEO

 

Before I die… Walls

I thought I’ll quickly share the story behind the Before I die… walls with you, as I love the concept.

After losing someone she loved and experiencing deep depression, artist Candy Chang created an interactive wall on an abandoned house in her New Orleans neighborhood.

She created the wall with chalkboard paint and stenciled it with a grid saying, “Before I die I want to _______.” Anyone walking by could pick up a piece of chalk, reflect on their lives, and share their personal aspirations in public space.

Before I Die Wall - 2011, New Orleans, LA. Photo Credit: http://beforeidie.cc/

Before I Die Wall – 2011, New Orleans, LA. Photo Credit: http://beforeidie.cc/

 

It was an experiment and she didn’t know what to expect. By the next day, the wall was full of responses and it kept growing:

Before I die I want to… sing for millions, live my best life, own my own housesee my daughter graduate, abandon all insecurities, change the world with love + compassion, own a boat, learn French, be completely myself, explore the world, find my purpose, be famous, follow my childhood dream…

Photo Credit: http://beforeidie.cc/site/about/

Photo Credit: http://beforeidie.cc/site/about/

 

After posting a few photos online, the images spread and she received hundreds of messages from people who wanted to make a wall with their community.

She created a website with resources and now over 1,000 Before I Die walls have been created in over 35 languages and over 70 countries.

QUESTION:
What is one of the things you would like to do before you die? Leave your comment below.

 

#businessconfidence

Alicia-MenkveldAuthor: ALICIA MENKVELD  Creator of: BUSINESS CONFIDENCE ACADEMY Alicia Menkveld, an award-winning entrepreneur for the last 16 years, loves to travel and lived on three continents to date. She is an international speaker, author and a trusted adviser to successful business owners and leaders. Alicia is an authority on business strategy, mindset and effectiveness for individuals and teams. Design your business to live the life YOU want.

business-performance-scorecard-preview

ON A SCALE OF 1-10* HOW HAPPY ARE YOU WITH YOUR BUSINESS RESULTS?

(* 1 = lowest, 10 = highest)

Score your business against the 7 Signs of a High Performing Business to pinpoint problem areas.

Learn how to optimize your business to improve your revenue + results this quarter.

.

GRAB YOUR SCORECARD NOW.

3 REASONS BUSY PEOPLE DON’T STOP.

 

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Don’t you just love being busy?

You might say No when I ask you and you might even complain about it, but you won’t fool me!

The reality is that you’ll freak out if the fairy godmother pitches up at your doorstep this very second to take your busyness away.

How can I be so sure? I’ve been an addict myself and still fall off the wagon often.

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We’re all addicted to the Cult of Being Busy!!

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Here’s why I say so.

We love being busy because it makes us feel in demand and important. It became some sort of delusional measure of success to the outside world, especially among (busy) business professionals.

Listen to what people around you say over the next few days… or make that hours!

  • “I’ve pulled an all-nighter to get this done.”
  • “You have time to sleep 6 hours a night?! I operate on 2-3 hours a night.” (chest puffed out)
  • “Hustle is what it’s all about baby!”
  • “Who have time to eat? There are so much to do.”
  • “Sleep when you’re dead.”
  • ” I don’t know how I’m going to get through this week with everything I have to do.”
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Apparently the more we have to do in as little time as possible, the more important we are.

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Instead of bragging about being efficient + planning ahead to be more productive, we brag about our chaos and firefighting skills instead.

Not you? Listen closely when your phone rings or when you get an invite via email.

If you hear yourself say, “Sure, I’ll be there.” or “I can do that.” (and it won’t bring in money or is critical to your business’ success) and your calendar is already bursting at its seams, it’s time to stop.

You have a case of FOMO (fear of missing out) on your hands.

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3 REASONS BUSY PEOPLE DON’T STOP

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YOUR EGO


It took me forever to learn this lesson and my ego still trips me up.

Deep down we all want to be wanted, like the Chris Isaak song “I Want You To Want Me”.

We like to feel important and included in events. We love being needed by others + we love to “save the day”.

That’s why we keep on saying Yes when we’re already overflowing with other commitments.

There’s a huge difference between your ego and being confident. The ego gives us an illusion of importance + superiority while confidence is about knowing your worth.

Confidence says: “I’m valuable.” while Ego says: “I’m invaluable.” ~ 99u.com


The ego is also responsible when we play the victim or when we easily get offended, but more about this in a future post.

SAY NO.

In the beginning, I felt like a junkie deprived of her next fix every time I said No to a meeting, a coffee or a networking event.

I thought the world would come to an end without me being there… and the surprising reality was, it didn’t!

I started asking myself 3 questions when I felt a case of FOMO coming on.

HOW TO CHANGE

CLARIFYING QUESTIONS:

#1 On a scale of 1-10*how much do I really want to do this thing?  (* 1 = lowest 10 = highest)

I realized that there were very few things that scored a 7 or above… interesting.

#2 How will this thing move me personally forward or move my business forward?
Is this the most important thing I can do for my business right now? How will it help me grow as a person?

#3 Will money be generated (within 1-3 months) as a result of saying Yes to this thing?

Unless the answers were crystal clear, I said No, no matter how awesome I thought it would be and how hard it was to say No + possibly disappoint people.

Remember, when we say Yes to something, we always say No to someone or something else.
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Who Gets The Short End of The Stick Every Time You Say Yes to Something?

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Are you saying No to your:

  • self by not booking “me-time” to look after your health, fitness, energy levels + mental well-being?
  • partner or family because you’re always on the go and never have time to be with them?
  • business by not giving yourself a chance to work on important, but not urgent, tasks like planning + marketing?
  • clients when you have to extend a deadline… again because you have too much on your plate?

An overflowing calendar has a cost, either to yourself, your clients, your family or your team. It’s your choice.

Being busy is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do but it doesn’t get you anywhere.
~ ALICIA MENKVELD

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GUILT + JOY


How many times have you dreamed about your holiday for months and when you get there, completely exhausted after you’ve done three weeks’ work in a week to ‘make up for the time you’ll be away’, you struggle to unwind or enjoy yourself?

I’ve been there many times myself.

We feel guilty when we take a much-deserved break. We feel guilty for stopping and wanting to do nothing. We feel lazy. And we feel most guilty when we start to enjoy doing nothing.

Normally this is after more than half your holiday is over and you finally dared to step away from your laptop!

“Joy is the most vulnerable emotion we experience, and if you cannot tolerate joy, you start dress rehearsing tragedy.” ~ Dr. BRENé BROWN


Have you ever thought,“This is too good to be true.” or “This can’t last.” just after you’ve realized how happy or loved you feel?

It’s called “foreboding joy” and Dr. Brené Brown explains it as anticipating bad things to happen when in reality nothing is wrong.

Brené is an American researcher + speaker who has done very interesting research on vulnerability and she wrote an amazing book, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead  that certainly changed my life and millions of other people’s lives.

The truth is, a break allows us to revitalize ourselves, be more creative + be a lot more productive.

Alleviate guilt + enhance your joy by implementing processes and systems that allow your business to run while you’re away.

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SCARED OF FACING FEARS


Are you keeping busy to avoid facing fears? When was the last time you sat by yourself for 30 minutes with nothing but your own thoughts?

I love spending time on my own… being, dreaming or thinking. But we all know people who would rather be thrown in a glass box filled with their biggest phobias than spend 15 minutes alone with themselves.

Constant busyness could be a way of validating our own worth, not dealing with unresolved feelings or not having to face difficult confrontations.

Reflection is the answer to be stronger and smarter in yourself + better in business.

Once we press pause we can:

  • gain insight + learn from the past by seeing the full impact of our decisions.
  • deal with messy feelings + difficult confrontations (not nice but necessary for a happy, fulfilled life)
  • see new possibilities because we look with fresh eyes.

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HOW TO CHANGE

  • Stop saying Yes to things that keep you busy + distracted.
  • Stop saying Yes to things that don’t add any value to your life or business.
  • Give yourself time to reflect + figure out what you’re running from.
  • Get help if you struggle to face feelings, issues + fears.
  • Schedule daily quiet time in your diary to improve productivity + problem solving.
  • Try yoga or go for a walk if you struggle to sit still and think.
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Nothing ever stops unless you make it stop.

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Embrace the sound of silence. A study from Duke University suggests that it’s your brain’s best productivity hack, will improve your memory and enhance your awareness – all essential qualities in business.

QUESTION:
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What have you done to break free from the ‘cult of busy’? Leave your comment below.
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#businessconfidence

 

Alicia-MenkveldAuthor: ALICIA MENKVELD  Creator of: BUSINESS CONFIDENCE ACADEMY Alicia Menkveld, an award-winning entrepreneur for the last 16 years, loves to travel and lived on three continents to date. She is an international speaker, author and a trusted adviser to successful business owners and leaders. Alicia is an authority on business strategy, mindset and effectiveness for individuals and teams. Design your business to live the life YOU want.

business-performance-scorecard-preview

ON A SCALE OF 1-10* HOW HAPPY ARE YOU WITH YOUR BUSINESS RESULTS?

(* 1 = lowest, 10 = highest)

Score your business against the 7 Signs of a High Performing Business to pinpoint problem areas.

Learn how to optimize your business to improve your revenue + results this quarter.

.

GRAB YOUR SCORECARD NOW.

5 WAYS TO GET MORE CONFIDENCE

5-ways-to-get-more-confidence

 

Have you ever failed at something in life or business? Perhaps you failed at securing an important contract for your business, maybe you didn’t get the job you interviewed for, perhaps your relationship failed or you ate junk food on the second day of your diet.

We all fail, every day at various things in life + business.

The problem isn’t the failure but the meaning we attach to the failure – regret, anger, disappointment, shame or frustration – and the consequence is a blow to our confidence.

You might think that you either have confidence or not, but it’s not true. All of us operate on a sliding scale of confidence depending on the activity we do.

If you do something you’ve done before, your confidence will be higher in that activity. When you try something new, your confidence will initially be lower and you might even feel terrified to do it.

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HERE’S MY STORY
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I wanted to start making videos for my business as part of my marketing plan…

It took me about a year to pluck up the courage to record my first video from the first time I thought about it. Then it took me at least another six months before I actually posted one of the videos I recorded on Facebook.

You see, I didn’t feel confident that they were “good enough” and I worried about not looking polished enough in the videos I shot while I was on holiday.

For some people it’s the easiest thing in the world to record and post their videos or do Facebook Live sessions. I break out in cold sweat and look like a deer caught in the headlights when I make videos.

Here’s a photo of me recording video on green screen for the first time.
Alicia Menkveld recording videos

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What would YOU attempt to do if you had more confidence?

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When we don’t feel very confident about ourselves we might wonder…

Can I really do this?”  orWho am I to dream this big?”

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You’re not alone. Whenever I speak with business leaders about their greatest struggles in business or life, confidence always comes up as an issue in various activities.

So how do the confident people we admire like Richard Branson or Oprah accomplish bigger and better feats than most people?

They consistently face their doubts and fears head on, they take risks and they put themselves through anxiety-provoking situations to stretch their comfort zone and grow their confidence.

Luckily, studies proved that confidence is a skill that can be learned and practiced like any other.

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HERE ARE 5 STRATEGIES TO HELP YOU GET MORE CONFIDENCE 

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First off you need to identify where in your life or business you need more confidence.

Ask: “Where am I holding myself back because of a lack of confidence?”  or  “What would I do if I had more confidence in this area?”
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GET CLEAR

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Get clear about the outcome you would like to achieve and what’s at stake.

Outline the milestones, identify the people + resources you’ll need to achieve your goal.

Preparation is key and it will give you focus and ultimately the confidence to continue forward and win.

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GET A GROWTH MINDSET

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Many people have created a false belief that they are just not good enough.

Whether you’re asking for someone’s business or asking someone on a date there’s always a chance you could be rejected.

If we don’t actively control our thoughts and the critical voices in our heads, we could say:

I’m so bad at sales, I’ll never make it.” or “What does it help to go on a date, my relationships always fail.”

Confident people take the risk of being rejected, they focus on how far they’ve come instead of judging themselves for not being further along and they are kinder to themselves when things don’t work out as planned.

Every day, they choose to focus on what they want to achieve because they know that where attention goes, energy flows.

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GET INTO ACTION

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When you face what scares you most and stay the course, you’ll grow your skills and capabilities.

Most people wait to feel confident before they take action, but ironically it’s taking the action and getting through the experience, that gives you confidence and a belief in yourself that you can do it again.

Everyone wants to quit at some point but successful people never give up and the reward is confidence and a life and business most people only imagine.

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alicia-menkveld-point-4

GET SUPPORT

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Leaders might feel that they need to have all the answers or can’t admit a weakness or vulnerability.

Confident leaders know they need others to help them reach their goals and they’re not ashamed to ask for help or admit when they were wrong.

Getting the right support will keep you motivated, help you get better results, keep you accountable and help you stay clear and focused.

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alicia-menkveld-point-5

GET SUCCESSFUL

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The more often we try new things and succeed at it, the more confident we become in our ability to pursue bigger goals.

As we achieve our goals, it’s important to stop and celebrate our wins.

Confident people use the positive feelings and sense of pride they experience because of their win, to spur them on to reach new heights of success.

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Use these five strategies to get more confidence and start believing in yourself and your ability to turn your dreams into a reality.

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QUESTION:

Tell us about something you’ve achieved once you’ve improved your confidence? Leave your comment below.

 

#businessconfidence

Alicia-MenkveldAuthor: ALICIA MENKVELD  Creator of: BUSINESS CONFIDENCE ACADEMY Alicia Menkveld, an award-winning entrepreneur for the last 16 years, loves to travel and lived on three continents to date. She is an international speaker, author and a trusted adviser to successful business owners and leaders. Alicia is an authority on business strategy, mindset and effectiveness for individuals and teams. Design your business to live the life YOU want.

business-performance-scorecard-preview

ON A SCALE OF 1-10* HOW HAPPY ARE YOU WITH YOUR BUSINESS RESULTS?

(* 1 = lowest, 10 = highest)

Score your business against the 7 Signs of a High Performing Business to pinpoint problem areas.

Learn how to optimize your business to improve your revenue + results this quarter.

.

GRAB YOUR SCORECARD NOW.

5 Steps To Chase Your Dreams

5-steps-to-chase-your-dreams

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Are you wishing for things to happen or are you actively chasing your dreams?

As a young girl growing up in a small town in South Africa I had many dreams. I fantasised about travelling the world, meeting interesting people and having fun.

To date I have lived on three continents and traveled to 65 cities and counting. It hasn’t always been rainbows and unicorns… far from it.

When I first moved to the UK in 1997 my parents were dead set against it and they didn’t support my decision emotionally or financially. In fact, my dad didn’t speak to me for the last month before I left!

My husband and I moved to Australia in 2009. We had to move house five times in three years, and I lost my job and 457-work visa within six months of moving here due to the global financial crisis.

We nearly had to leave the country before our permanent residency came through.
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When we try something new and get out of our comfort zone, we win and we lose.

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I have lost special places, friendships, possessions and identities but I also gained new perspectives, friends and experiences.

I had many moments of doubt. “What if I couldn’t find a job? What if it didn’t work out? What if I was making a huge mistake?

Are you waiting for the right time? Are you waiting until you feel ready, until you’re settled in, until the kids go to school or until they leave home?

There isn’t a perfect time to follow your dreams, there is only now. And all great adventures start with a decision to make it so.

Whatever your dream is — whether you’re halfway there or haven’t even started — you need passion, perseverance, self-belief and a plan to make your dreams a reality.

 

5 Steps To Chase Your Dreams 

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DEFINE YOUR DREAMS

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Make time to sit down in a quiet spot and get clear about who you would like to be in your life and what you would like to have and do in your life.

Get clear on what matters most to you (your values) and define what success looks like for you.

e.g. I was very clear about my dream to travel the world and freedom is important to me, so I set my life up to be as commitment-free as possible and I use all available money to travel often.

It’s different for every person and there’s no right or wrong answer, only what will make you happy and lead a fulfilled life.

Write your dreams down in a journal or diary and refer back to it at least weekly. This ritual keeps your dreams top of mind and helps you commit to make it happen.
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alicia-menkveld-point-2a

CHOOSE THE RIGHT PEOPLE

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You only need a few people who understand you and what you’re trying to achieve. This could be your family and friends or not.

e.g. I thought my family would be excited for me and support me, but they didn’t and still don’t in most of my endeavors. So I don’t speak to them about my dreams, I speak to my husband and a handful of close friends and advisers who support me.

You’re looking for people who can encourage you, uplift you, be honest with you and who live their own out-of-the-box version of life.

Make a list of 3-5 people – family, friends, mentors or peers – who will support you in chasing your dreams and keep you accountable to do what you say you’re going to do.
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WHAT’S THE PLAN?

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Writing down your dreams is a great start but nothing gets accomplished without a plan.

What are the steps you need to take to make your dreams a reality? Work backwards from the end result and write down everything that needs to be done.

Initially you can feel overwhelmed when looking at the list and that’s why we need to chunk it down in main sections before setting daily and weekly goals.

e.g. if you decide to live abroad there is quite a lot to plan for. Start by breaking it down into main steps or buckets of things to do:

  • Planning: where would you like to go, how long for, do you need visas, how will you get there, do you have enough money, what happens to the place you’re currently living in, what happens to pets?
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  • Accommodation: where will you stay, if long term do you need to speak to real estate agents before you leave, what’s included in packages?
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  • Packing: what will you take along, will you pack light and buy as you go, take unaccompanied luggage or ship belongings over?
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  • Work: do you need to work while you’re away, what do you need to do your job, do you need to find a new job, do you have the right to work abroad.
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There’s so much more I could add but you get the picture. There are a lot of things to do in each bucket, so now it’s time to chunk it down and schedule smaller monthly, weekly and daily goals in your diary with milestones.
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Remember what gets scheduled in your diary, gets done.

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Become aware of what might hold you back and what might stand between you and your dreams. Obstacles can include your mindset or everyday practicalities. List them out and come up with a plan to overcome each obstacle.
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STOP WAITING

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It’s never the perfect time to start a business, have kids, write a book or move cities or countries.

It’s easy to use one challenge or obstacle as an excuse when we’re scared.

Fear tends to be the #1 reason why we don’t take action towards our dreams – fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of looking ridiculous and even the fear to be yourself!
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4 Great Reasons to Stop Waiting:
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  1. Tomorrow is not promised – things happen in the blink of an eye – let it happen while you follow your dreams
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  2. Nothing happens until YOU take the first step – the Fedex guy won’t deliver your dream at the front door… unfortunately!
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  3. Possibilities you cannot imagine are waiting for you – doors open when you take the first step
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  4. And the ultimate reason – you’ll die happy and avoid the #1 regret of the dying: “I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself and not what others expected of me.
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Find a way to make it happen.
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ASK FOR HELP

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Someone somewhere in the world has done something similar to what you want to do. Connect with people and tell them about your dream and ask them how they overcame their obstacles.

People know people and when you talk about your dream you might just find people who can help you with the next piece of the puzzle – advice, resources, money or whatever else you need to make your dream a reality.

e.g. I spoke to people who lived in Australia to get first hand knowledge of what it’s like and I asked for recommendations from where to stay, which doctor and dentist to use to where to do food shopping and which brands to use.

And it was a good friend from a previous workplace who organised an interview for me in Perth, that resulted in my initial work visa being organised.

This is by far the best way to shorten your learning curve and not reinvent the wheel.

If you can find a mentor or invest in a coach grab the opportunity with both hands – it will save you money, time, energy and lots of frustration.

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Be careful what you water your dreams with. Water them with worry and fear and you will produce weeds that choke the life from your dream.

Water them with optimism and solutions and you will cultivate success. Always be on the lookout for ways to nurture your dream.

~ LAO TZU

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QUESTION:
Which dream are you chasing at the moment? Leave your comment below.
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#smallbusinesssuccessskills

 

Alicia-MenkveldAuthor: ALICIA MENKVELD  Creator of: BUSINESS CONFIDENCE ACADEMY Alicia Menkveld is an award-winning entrepreneur for the last 17 years who loves to travel and lived on three continents to date. She is an international speaker, author and a trusted adviser to small business owners and leaders. Alicia is an authority on business strategy, mindset and productivity for individuals and teams. Streamline your business to support your lifestyle.

3 Ways to Push Through Your Fears

say-yes-an-opportunityFears… when was the last time you leaned into yours?

Sitting on the black leather couch, I looked at the elevator and thought about running. I was quite intimidated by the floor-to-ceiling windows and the hallway of awards.

It’s 1999 and I wanted to partner with one of the world’s largest recruitment agencies in London as their international business partner.

All I kept on thinking was, “I’m not good enough, I don’t know what I’m doing. I should leave and save myself the humiliation.”

I stayed. I survived and they wanted to see a business plan. Theoretically, I knew what a business plan was but I had never created one outside of a class assignment.

I pushed through my fears and inexperience and… I got the contract!

In January 2000, I opened an agency in South Africa to recruit teachers for the UK. At the time, I didn’t even know how to send an email let alone run a business, but I believed I could and so I figured it out as I went along.

It turned out to be one of the most amazing opportunities of my life.

Now, I’m a seasoned entrepreneur in yet another country and another business venture.

I see so many people holding themselves back from amazing opportunities, success, love and even life because they believe more in their fears, limiting beliefs, excuses and negative self-talk than in themselves and their abilities.

Whoever you are and whatever you’re up against, lean into your fears and say YES to the next opportunity that lights you up, even if you can’t send an email!

3 Ways to Push Through Your Fears

 

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BE READY AND SEE THE OPPORTUNITY

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The best opportunities in the world can come along, but if you’re not sure what you really want it won’t matter.

I was looking for something exciting to do when I returned to South Africa after my UK working holiday visa expired.

My friend came home one day and said he was approached with the opportunity to become an international business partner for his teaching agency in South Africa but he wasn’t interested, as he wanted to stay in the UK.

I immediately saw an opportunity for myself in this and approached my own agency with the idea (something they hadn’t considered at the time). I researched the opportunity before going in for the first discussion and it turned out top be a win-win for both of us.

  • Which other agencies were doing it already? (competition)
  • What did I want from this opportunity – the terms? (contract)
  • Who would be responsible for what? (role allocation)

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WHAT TO DO NEXT
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1. Get crystal clear about what you want in your life and business – what does success look like for you? What do you dream about? A muddled approach will give you mediocre results.

2. Do your homework when an opportunity or project comes your way to ensure it’s right for you and aligned with your values and goals.

3. Remember, if you don’t have plans of your own you’ll become part of someone else’s plan, so be ready when opportunity knocks.

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SAY YES AND TAKE THE FIRST STEP
SayYesBlue

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The next time a project or opportunity comes along and your inner critic pipes up pointing out how you’re ‘not good enough’ or ‘don’t know enough’ silence it, check in with your plans to see if it’s right for you and say Yes as soon as possible.

Once you give your monkey-mind half a gap, fear will kick in and it will give you all the reasons why it’s bad idea, how you’re not ready for this and point out what else you need before you can say Yes.

Instead of giving in to your fears, take the first step to make the opportunity a reality e.g. pick up the phone and make the call, reach out to the right people who can help you move forward or take a pen and paper and jot down your thoughts to get the ball rolling.

Great questions to ask yourself:

  • How will this [opportunity/ project] help me to reach my goals?
  • What resources will I need?
  • Who can help me?
  • When is the deadline?

Remember, what is big and scary for you, will be easy for someone else and vice versa. If it’s right for you, say Yes and take the first step.
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ACT AS IF


You’re ready, you said Yes and now it’s time to take the first step. When reality sets in you might ask yourself “What was I thinking? How will I cope?‘”

It’s time to ‘become’ the person you’ll need to be to reach the goal so start by acting ‘as if’ you’re already that person.

In my case, I had to ‘become’ the successful business person that launches the venture successfully. I had to ask myself how Catherine, my mentor at the time, would do this or negotiate that?

Let’s say your opportunity is to speak at a business networking event. You know it would be a great way to promote your business (excitement) but the thought of it makes you sick to your stomach (nervousness), you can start here:

  • Who do I know that speaks well in front of crowds?
  • What makes them a good speaker – are they confident, funny, relaxed, knowledgeable?
  • How can you copy those traits but still use your own personal style?
  • What can you do/ say/ wear to achieve that trait?
  • Who can I ask for help to better prepare myself for the situation?
  • What are my specific fears around this and how can i overcome them?

If you want to be more confident, start noticing confident people’s posture and body language, how they talk and what they wear. See how you can incorporate some of the same things in your own life and practice it daily to make it second nature.
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WHAT TO DO NEXT
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blog-image-key-ideas1

1. Spend 5 minutes a day imagining being the person you want to become – how do you talk, stand and dress? What do you do in a day?

2. If we take the business networking event, see your more confident self successfully speaking in front of the crowd, their smiling faces and how proud you feel of yourself for pushing forward. See how excited they are about your offer and how you solve their problems.

The more often you start acting ‘as if’ you’re already the person you dream of becoming, the easier it will be to say Yes to new opportunities and make your ideals, real.
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QUESTION:
What opportunities have you won in the past because you said Yes, although you were scared? Leave your comment below.
#smallbusinesssuccessskills

Alicia-MenkveldAuthor: ALICIA MENKVELD  Creator of: BUSINESS CONFIDENCE ACADEMY Alicia Menkveld is an award-winning entrepreneur for the last 17 years who loves to travel and lived on three continents to date. She is an international speaker, author and a trusted adviser to small business owners and leaders. Alicia is an authority on business strategy, mindset and productivity for individuals and teams. Streamline your business to support your lifestyle.

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