As a small business owner, confidence may be your greatest asset.
- Confidence in your offering
- Confidence in your pricing
- Confidence in your ability to sell, deliver, and adapt to changing conditions
- Confidence to communicate clearly and effectively with your team, prospects, clients, and vendors
Your confidence in yourself and your business will be tested and challenged every single day.
What can you do to bolster yourself and be prepared to overcome those challenges? As with any skill, you can identify areas for improvement and continuously strive for growth.
As your competence, and thereby confidence, grows with each new skill and in each new area, revisit this list and you’ll likely find that a different set of items resonate with you at that time. As you develop these skills you’ll also find that your ability to find answers that work for you is improving and you’ll find answers to challenges and inspiration in the world all around you.
Ultimately the mindset that you are shooting for is the fundamental core belief that you are and will always be okay. Not that nothing bad will every happen to you, but that when it does you’ll survive; you’ll get through it. It might suck. It might hurt. It might be worse than anything else, but you will do what you need to do to make the best of the situation and to help those around you through it with grace and dignity and you will be fundamentally okay.
And as you build toward that, remember that it’s perfectly normal and expected that you lose sight of that from time to time, perhaps even right now if it’s that struggle with confidence that’s brought you to this article in the first place. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Please give yourself permission to feel whatever you need to feel at all times. Muscle soreness is part of beginning a new workout program as your muscles begin to grow stronger. Emotional soreness – sadness, depression, anxiety, fear, anger, self-doubt – are all signals that you’re pushing yourself into new situations and growing stronger.
True strength cannot be threatened. An invincible person requires no defense because he simply cannot be injured. This is what confidence is for you; your knowledge that no matter what happens in the world around you, you will deal with it as best you can and that will be good enough.
To get you started, here are 17 things you can do to become more confident.
1. Remember To Enjoy Yourself
Confidence is about feeling better about yourself, not worse. So remember to enjoy the process. Being self-critical and negative will actively undermine your confidence, so start by just letting it go, accepting yourself where you are right now, and learning to enjoy the process of growth.
2. Be Patient With Yourself
You developed your beliefs about yourself and your self-confidence over the span of your entire life up until now. Some of these beliefs and habits of thought are very deeply entrenched. Don’t be surprised that it might take some time to reverse some of these patterns. As I said, self-criticism and negativity will only reinforce how you feel now. If you want to start feeling better and stronger about yourself, start by giving yourself a break.
3. Seek Out And Celebrate Small Wins
The key to change in any area is to make it easy for yourself to have, recognize, and reinforce success. Any success, no matter how small, must be recognized and celebrated to positively reinforce that you’re on the right path. Set yourself up to have small wins as frequently as possible and make sure to recognize and appreciate them. You will get more of what you focus on. If you focus on minimizing successes, you’ll get smaller and smaller successes. If you focus on celebrating and appreciating your wins, you’ll get more frequent, bigger, and faster wins.
4. Start Where You’re Already Comfortable And Confident
Going along with making it easy to get small wins quickly, start with what you’re already comfortable with. One of the issues with low self-confidence is that we tend not to give ourselves credit for the things that we already do well. So start right now by applying the first three items on the list to situations where you’re already winning already.
5. Start Hanging Around With The Right People
“Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.” – John Kuebler
“You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn
I had a coach for many years who used to tell me that the most valuable thing you can learn from someone more successful than you is not how to do what they do, but how to think how they think. If you want to raise yourself up you need to surround yourself with people who will challenge you to be better. This applies not only to mindset and confidence, but also to finances, relationship status, business success, recreation and lifestyle, and much more.
The people you hang out with can only teach you to be more like them. So make sure you’re hanging out with the people that you want to be more like.
6. Be Attractive And Let People Come To You
These next few will apply to relational situations like social gatherings, networking events, and sales and marketing.
There are few character traits more appealing and attractive than confidence. We might also call it charm or charisma in social situations. The flip side of the coin is that there are few character traits less attractive than fear, desperation, and neediness.
So the key here is to handle yourself in social situations as if you fully expect to get the desired result. Then simply let people respond to you the way you desire.
This means, in social and sales situations – any relational situation really – know when to pursue and when to let them chase you. If you are always in pursuit it will appear that you’re trying too hard and you’ll come across as desperate or needy.
The risk is that you never get chased. The fact is, the more comfortable you become with this dynamic the less risk of that happening you’ll ever have to face. The counter to this move is that you simply move on and engage someone else.
It really is a numbers game. If you have one sales lead you will feel like you can’t afford to let up or it will disappear. This puts you in the needy, fearful, desperate camp. But if you have 100 leads you can’t possibly pursue them all, so you cultivate interest, put yourself in an attractive position, and allow them to come in to you. This is the epitome of confidence.
7. Don’t Worry About What Others Think
People like to be around those who are happy, cheerful, and easy-going. They do business with others who are confident, strong, comfortable leaders. Embody those characteristics, be an engaging communicator, and forget about what others are thinking about you. Just know that you are being what you need to be and let the rest go.
8. Dress Well, Stand Tall, And Speak Up
Dress in a way that makes you feel comfortable and confident. Not for others, but for yourself. Dress in a way that’s 100% aligned with who you are and where you want to be.
Carry yourself with pride and self-respect and others will respond accordingly.
Speak clearly and with power. Allow others to hear what you have to say and say it confidently.
9. Smile And Look Interested
When engaging with someone be aware of and manage your facial expression. You should appear positive and interested in what they are saying. Even better, actually be positive and interested in what they are saying. Actively listen, not to know what you should say next, but to really hear and understand what’s being said to you. People like to be understood. This goes to presenting yourself in the most attractive manner possible.
Don’t fidget while you’re speaking. Maintain good eye contact. And try to be the most positive one in the conversation. I’m not saying be over-the-top gushy. Just strive to be the one leading the emotional energy in a positive direction. Stay one step ahead of everyone else to stand out in the best possible way.
10. Focus On Others
Not in a self-deprecating, people-pleasing way, but in a deeply interested and committed to the relationship way.
Focus with an intent to serve, understand, and add value. People like to be built up, not torn down. If you can be the one to build them up you will be received favorably.
There’s a saying that you wouldn’t care what people thought of you if you knew how little they thought of you. Be the one to think of others and you will reap the benefits of truly engaging with other people. Plus it takes the pressure off of you to perform.
11. Accept Complements Gracefully
Take the complement to hear, respond with appreciation and gratitude, and allow yourself to enjoy the feeling. Remember what I said about celebrating wins? Well this is one of those times.
Also keep in mind that it’s not just about you. It also feels good to others to be able to pay a complement and have it be received gracefully. Don’t be selfish about stealing their enjoyment from the experience.
12. Let Yourself Off The Hook
You are not responsible for how other perceive and treat you. Do your best. Be self-aware and honest. And if you can say that you’re doing what you need to be doing, then let the chips fall where they may. If you’re still not getting the results you want, maybe some outside perspective from a coach, therapist, or mentor could help. But as you learn to trust yourself, trust that you add value and part of the responsibility lies with others to take advantage of that.
13. Keep Your Negative Thoughts In Check
As we said at the beginning, it’s normal and expected to have to train ourselves to let go of the habitual self-criticism and negative thoughts and beliefs. Otherwise, self-confidence wouldn’t even be a problem. So don’t let them go unchecked. Observe and remain diligent against negative thoughts, feelings, and negative thinking.
If you struggle to manage them on your own, possibly a coach, therapist, or mentor could be of some assistance. Otherwise, take each occurrence as an opportunity for reflection, forgiveness, and renewal in working to build your self-confidence.
14. Pump Yourself Up
Doing something that will get you pumped up when you’re going into those situations that will benefit from a boost of self-confidence.
If you’re headed to a networking meeting, social event, or sales meeting, maybe you can play your favorite song on your car stereo or headphones.
If you’re putting together a proposal or getting ready to pick up the phone for some prospecting, maybe there’s a YouTube video you can watch that you know will set you on fire to take on the world.
Maybe a brisk run in the morning will set the stage for you to have high energy and strong confidence all day long.
Whatever it is for you, come up with some go-to activities and resources that you can tap when confidence flags and you need that quick boost.
15. Take Action
Ruminating on negative thoughts or experiences is probably the most damaging thing you can do when you’re trying to increase your confidence. A great way to counteract this effect is to take action. Finish a project. Pick up the phone and make a sales call. Send an email or direct message inviting someone to connect. Set a timer for 25 minutes to work on something you’ve been procrastinating on. Any of these actions will get you moving and add to your confidence that you can keep going.
Wins lead to wins. Taking action in itself is a win that will set you up to keep moving forward. Take action!
16. Build In Resilience
Things won’t always go the way you want or expect. Set up safety nets in advance so that if the floor falls in you can save yourself from injury and bounce back quickly.
As I said at the beginning, the level of self-confidence you have today is the result of a lifetime of practice, habits, and beliefs. Don’t expect it to change overnight, but do expect to keep working at it and implementing the items we’ve talked about in this list.
Be persistent, diligent, resilient, and most of all, be comfortable and confident.