What would you try or change in your life right now if you felt more confident?
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?
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
It 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.
And that’s the thing with how confident you feel… it all depends on the activity we do and how often we’ve done that activity in the past.
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..
When was the last time you did something for the first time?
To be confident is luckily as skill that 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.
3 Ways To Be More Confident
ASK BETTER QUESTIONS
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.
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!
So why wasn’t I making the videos?
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…
BE CURIOUS AND LEARN
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.
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?”
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.
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.
PRACTICE UNTIL YOU BECOME CONFIDENT
“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’.
Maybe she was born with it… no it was hard work, focus and not quitting!
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.
- Practice until what you want to master, comes as natural as breathing to you
- 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.
- 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!
To accomplish great things we must first dream, then visualize, then plan… believe… act!
~ ALFRED A. MONTAPERT