A Strategy for Increasing Self-Confidence

If you had to name just one thing that’s the key to a woman’s success as an entrepreneur and business owner, what would that be?

Would it be intelligence? Talent? Connections?

Well, it’s none of those.

It’s confidence, and you’re about to learn why that’s true and how you can develop your own self-confidence for better results in business and in life.

There is a significant gap in confidence between genders, globally. Men are more confident in their own abilities. However, what makes those observations even more interesting is that the confidence gap between the genders is broader in developed countries (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology). Why is that? I believe it’s because when women take on leadership roles, or when we engage in tasks that are categorised as “male,” we compare ourselves to men. That sabotages our self-confidence. We’re distracted by comparisons, which detracts from our performance.

What I also find interesting is that women who are asked to record their gender as “male” perform better on left-brain tests than those who document their actual gender. Additionally, women who don’t have to disclose their gender perform better, as do those who are told that “their gender is better at the task.” And probably most interesting is the fact that women perform just as well as men when everyone is required to answer every question on tests. When they are permitted to skip questions, women do so not because they’re incompetent, but because they’re under-confident (Emotional Intelligence 2.0).

So then why are women more reluctant to ask for raises in pay, to speak up for themselves, to take on competitors and to tackle tasks that require confidence?

It seems that we’ve been conditioned to believe we’re just not good at those things. When in reality, all we need to hear is that yes, women are skilled in those areas.

So how can you, a female entrepreneur and business owner, increase her own confidence, in order to reach peak performance?

Here are some habits I suggest you adopt:

  • Don’t Hesitate: When you wait for permission to act, or question your own abilities before taking a leap, you corrode your self-confidence. Know what your goals are. Strategise your path for getting there. Learn to recognise opportunity. Then, when something comes along that aligns with all of that, jump on it. Your confidence will grow…as will your business.
  • Seek your own Approval: Do you rely on praise from outside sources? Do you need to hear that you’ve done a good job before you’re willing to believe it? This is a symptom of low confidence, and you can reverse it if you promise yourself that you’ll have your own set of standards and strive to live up to them—instead of everyone else’s. In truth, your own standards are probably going to be the toughest, so I think the level of growth you’ll experience will pleasantly surprise you.
  • Make no Excuses: Confident people accept that they’re in control of their own destinies. And along with that comes a reluctance to blame external sources—because that takes away their power. Excuses are absent. Full responsibility is taken for everything that happens in their lives, and they grow to be highly confident human beings.
  • Embrace Opposition: Whether it’s office conflict, rivalry with competing brands, customer complaints…a confident person doesn’t dread the situation as much as they dread what could have happened if it never came out. In other words, learn to embrace conflict and the resolutions that come from it. Hiding in the restroom when things get heated in the office is no way to build confidence. Instead, approach every circumstance with poise and a cool head. Aim to get to the heart of the matter, so that a solution can be reached and you can emerge a more respected, confident leader.
  • Avoid Comfort: Does this mean I want you to exist under constant stress? Absolutely not! What I mean is never allow yourself to set up camp in your comfort zone for any amount of time. Always be stretching your boundaries. Always be challenging and scaring yourself. Always be working on at least one thing that your younger self would have dreaded. Only then can you grow and become a more confident person.
  • Be Yourself: We’ve all met those people who have more than one personality: one for friends, one when they’re alone, one when they’re in the public eye, etc. These are usually the least confident types of people. Avoid falling into the trap of believing that you need to customise yourself for different people. Be authentic, and confidently YOU, every day. Only then will those who are meant to be in your life and your business be attracted to it.
  • See Obstacles as Challenges: When you come upon an obstacle that stands between you and your goal, you have two choices. You can turn around and go back where you came from, admitting defeat and quitting. Or, you can find a way over, under, through or around it. You can even fully dismantle the darn thing and throw it over a cliff if you wish. No matter how you choose to handle that obstacle, walking away will never build confidence. Instead, by showing those obstacles who’s boss, you’ll prove to yourself that you’ve got what it takes.

You can be a confident businesswoman, and it all starts with taking responsibility for your own power. You are a unique, beautiful individual who cannot be compared to anyone else on this planet—and right this minute is the time to stop comparing yourself to men, to other women, and to the ideal you’ve got in your head.

You are exceptional, and no one else can accomplish exactly what you can.

Are you ready to learn how to speak more confidently so you can blast off on your own journey? Then I invite you to take part in the popular Speaking With Confidence course, a transformative experience that will help you find your own confidence and speak with authority.