I’m coming clean about something that I don’t talk about much because most people can’t relate to it.
But it’s time to put it out there so here goes…
I’ve never struggled with confidence when it comes to my business. Not really.
Even at the very beginning, when I was just starting out, I’d go out there and do what I needed to do…
Talk to potential clients
Network at business events
Confidence was never a big issue for me.
Sure, I was uncertain about what I was supposed to do and how and when I needed to do it but I’ve never struggled with deep feelings of doubt about getting things done.
So, when one of my students recently asked me to share my go-to strategies for feeling more confident, I felt stuck.
I didn’t know what to say to him.
I didn’t want to say, “Just go out there and do it.”
That would be dismissive.
I didn’t want to say, “I’ve always been the kind of person who’s confident so I don’t know what you mean.”
That would be arrogant (and super annoying!)
While I was standing there, thinking about my answer, he suddenly said, “Maybe I should just fake it ‘till I make it?”
I got kind of mad but not at my student…
I happen to think fake it ‘till you make it is exceptionally bad advice — especially for entrepreneurs.
Flipping the Switch
Fake it ‘till you make it means you’re supposed to:
>> Smile when you’re onstage in front of an audience of thousands even when it feels like your heart just dropped through the floor
>> Give the top seller in your industry a firm handshake when you meet even if you’re totally intimidated
>> Hit share on that vulnerable Facebook post even when you’re terrified people are going to hate it…
Doing this stuff will get you through a speech, a business event or a few minutes on social media but that’s the thing about fake it ‘till you make it…
It works only in-the-moment, never in the long term.
So what CAN you do to flip the switch and start building authentic confidence that lasts for more than a few minutes?
Here’s what’s worked for me every single time…
I don’t think about being confident, I think of it as doing what I need to do to be at my best in my business and serve my clients at the highest level.
I make a decision on the goals I want to work toward and then I think about the actions or steps I need to take…
This could mean taking a program or a training course, reading books about the subject and working with people I trust like a great coach or an expert…
And then I go out there and do what I need to do.
I don’t let myself overthink it.
I don’t let myself wonder if I can do it.
I don’t worry about whether I have what it takes.
I keep taking action. One step at a time.
Again, and again, and again.
No false pretenses. No pretending.
Just good old-fashioned hard work and practice.
It’s how I tap into real confidence and how I built real credibility right from the start.
It’s how I gained a great reputation and respect from clients and customers.
And if I don’t know how to get something done (and there’s plenty that I don’t know how to get done!), I know I can learn how to do it and I know I can rely on myself to do what it takes to close that knowledge gap.
And this is true not just for me, it’s true for everyone…
That Crazy Inner Voice
We can all learn to do what we need to do to get where we want to go.
It’s about staying open to experimenting and learning from our mistakes.
This is the only real way to stop that crazy inner voice in our heads…
The voice that turns up doubt and fear to near panic levels…
The voice that has us reaching for “solutions” that don’t really work.
Solutions like fake it ‘till you make it.
It’s that inner voice that says “you can’t do this” or “you don’t have what it takes or “who do you think you are?” (I also use 3 specific questions to shut down the voice and get out of self-doubt — you can watch how I do it in this 60-second video.)
So, the next time you need to get onstage and speak, or start a sales conversation, create a product or attend a seminar or workshop full of entrepreneurs who seem to be way more successful than you…
The next time, you know there’s an upcoming event or situation where you need to feel confident but you’re feeling anything but…
I want you to ask yourself:
What are the steps I can take to feel authentically confident around this?
What do I need learn? Who can I speak to or work with?
In their great book The Power of Moments, authors Chip and Dan Heath talk about Cal Newport, a computer science professor and bestselling author who spent years studying the habits of successful people.
Newport says, “From my experience, the most common trait you will consistently observe in accomplished people is an obsession with completion. Once a project falls into their horizon, they crave — almost compulsively — to finish it. Success comes from pushing to the finish line and what milestones do is compel us to make that push, because
(a) they’re within our grasp, and
(b) we’ve chosen them precisely because they’re worth reaching for.
Milestones define moments that are conquerable and worth conquering.”
I want you to think of it this way…
Your lack of confidence, your fear and your doubt are nothing more than indicators that tell you, “This is something you need to focus on, something new you need to learn.”
When you keep pushing toward the next milestone and the next, when you keep taking action and keep doing the work you need to do to get the results you’re looking for…
You’ll leave fake it ‘till you make it in the dust because when the time comes to step up to the plate, your confidence will be the REAL thing…
And there’s nothing more awesome than that!
Over to you…
What’s one thing you’re feeling “unconfident” about and what’s the ONE thing you can do, one step you can take, to start moving toward authentic confidence?
Share in the comments so I can cheer you on 🙂