I know I told you your audience was your most important business asset. And I stand by that — if we’re talking about something that exists outside of yourself.
But there’s an internal, mental asset that you need to develop and protect if you’re going to do all the rest of it. (Develop your audience, produce top-notch content that solves real problems, make compelling offers, grow and sustain a great business.)
Business coach Dan Sullivan has said that as business owners, our greatest duty is to protect our own confidence.
Because the reality is: the most successful rockstar ninja business badass you know — that one who seems fearless and unstoppable — has days when their confidence wobbles.
(If they don’t, by the way, they’re not playing their highest game.)
Confidence naturally ebbs and flows — but it’s a skill that you can improve.
The big distinction here is to see confidence as an ability that you keep getting better at. ~Dan Sullivan
Can’t see the video? Click here to watch it on YouTube.
Here are some ways I’ve found to protect my own confidence as a business owner.
#1: Make space to create
Confidence tends to come not from “pumping yourself up” with hypey self-motivation, but from actually doing something cool.
And in order to do something cool, you need “Doing Cool Stuff” time in your calendar. Ideally, every day for at least an hour.
If you don’t live in an ideal world, see how close to that you can get. If it’s 15 minutes, make those 15 epically focused minutes, and knock them out every day.
A small daily task, if it be really daily, will beat the labours of a spasmodic Hercules. ~ Anthony Trollope
#2: Spend as much time as possible on your bright spots
I happen to think there are real rewards that come from working on things you are not yet awesome at.
Working on and refining your bright spots is the shortest path to doing and making cool stuff.
If it gives you juice and you have a passion for it, you’re probably pretty damned good at it. Do more of that.
#3: Hold a Q&A call
Think you don’t have much to offer? Hold a free Q&A call for your audience. (There are any number of free conference call services out there that will work well for this.) Post the details on your blog and to your email list. Drive traffic to the session with whatever social media channels you run in.
Shift the focus off of yourself and your own crisis of confidence, and onto the people you help. When you actually help other people get what they want, your confidence will strengthen in a way that is very hard to shake.
#4: Be careful about social media
Oh, you’re a blogger? What do you complain about? ~ Julien Smith
Back in the day, we thought that near-universal adoption of “virtual community” and social technology would bring about world peace, an end to hunger, and a permanent cure for social awkwardness.
We human beings use social media just like we’ve used every other communication channel in history — we bitch. And whine. And blame. And snipe. And snark. And shame.
None of this is good fuel for confidence. When you’re in a confidence slump, consider a social media break for a few days while you focus on more positive activities.
#5: Measure yourself against yourself
This is another one from Dan Sullivan — when you’re measuring your accomplishments, don’t put them against an ideal or an idol.
You may in fact surpass everything your early idol ever accomplished. Will that make you feel awesome? No, because your focus will shift to something new that’s out of reach.
Compare yourself to where you’ve been. Compare what you did this year to what you did last year, or where you were five years ago.
Look at the growth and improvements that you’ve made, not at an image of perfection that you’ve projected onto someone else. (That image may have, by the way, nothing in the world to do with reality.)
How about you?
We all have habits and techniques to break us out of a confidence funk. What are your favorites?
I’d love to hear about them in the comments.
Creative Commons post image by kennymatic
(p.s. Thanks to my Platypuses for the inspiration.)