I’m sure you will agree confidence is one of the weakest links for women. It’s easy to blame the environment around us and say that business has been a man's world for so long. But we should instead be working on methods designed to boost our confidence so we can stop blaming and start doing.
In her book, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, Sheryl Sandberg says, she has seen many female entrepreneurs around the world with the talent, knowledge, skill sets and even experiences that drive success, yet completely doubt their own abilities, which is sad.
So, here are just a few ways you can become more confident as a female entrepreneur:
1. Be Authentic
Authenticity is critical to confidence which doesn’t necessarily mean that you are the loudest voice in the room. Confidence can be quiet and is often times about listening more than talking to catch important information in order to respond appropriately and be really present. Look for ways to compliment other women and be authentic about it, no one likes fake and “Girl Power” is more than a catch phrase.
2. Work with a mentor
Like a coach who works with an athlete, a mentor is there to be a cheerleader, advocate, voice of reason and confidence booster. A good mentor will help you visualise what you want to achieve and provide direction that leads to achievement of different goals. A GREAT mentor will help you understand what could have been done differently rather than allowing you to just beat yourself up. There are many ways to find a mentor: Networking events, LinkedIn, people you do business with, maybe a family member who is a successful entrepreneur. Just ask, they may be very flattered and happy to help you!
TIP: Find a mentor who is focused on your industry so that their knowledge, connections and experience can provide benefits that propel you forward.
3. Surround yourself with smart, positive people
Beyond a mentor, it’s an invaluable confidence booster to spend time with positive people. From family to colleagues, seek out people who support you so that you’re not afraid to fail or try something new. Stay clear of negative people who only end up making you doubt yourself or give you reasons not to pursue things. Having a positive atmosphere around you will make you believe that you can do anything.
4. Beef up your skills
There’s a reason they say knowledge is power. Learning more and adding skills related to your industry increases your value to others, empowers you to make decisions and take action. Important business skills include public speaking, negotiation and conflict resolution, all of which build confidence as you improve on them. Essentially, the more you know, the more you can do, the more you feel good about your self-worth and the more confident you become. If you are busy, take online courses, listen to podcasts or participate in discussions related to your business.
5. Don’t be a “scaredy cat”
It can be a bit daunting to go out and do something completely different, but, trust me, once you do it, there's no question as to how confident you'll feel. I felt on top of the world after my first presentation at a conference, but leading up to that moment I didn’t sleep for a whole week. As women, we often stick to assigned roles because we feel like it's what we are good at. In reality, we could be doing so much more but maybe no one ever encouraged us to do so. So….. Sign up for something you would never normally do and get through it, you’ll experience a heightened sense of confidence, I promise.
6. Find a social cause and participate
Getting involved in giving back can also be a confidence booster. For me, participating in social causes has allowed me to practice public speaking. This confidence has spilled over into other aspects of my life where I'm faced with similar situations. Social causes like non-profit work are often more open to having female leadership, as many women exhibit qualities like sensitivity, nurture and empathy that our male counterparts often don’t have. You will find the passion you have to do good takes over any lack of confidence that may exist.
7. Use affirmations and mindful thinking
Confidence is purely mental, so it helps to convince yourself that you are confident. You can do this through positive affirmations: tell yourself that you are deserving, good enough, smart enough or that you will kick ass on a specific piece of work and you will feel a shift in your confidence. I visualise what it looks like to achieve something important especially if its causing me worry. I see myself winning and exuding confidence while doing so. Doing this a few times before facing what makes you fearful helps a lot. If I think I am confident, then I act confident. It takes practice, but it really works!
8. Socialise like you're getting paid
There are so many networking events happening every night of the week. Start small and set yourself a target of one event a week, you will be amazed at how many new contacts you accumulate within a month. I find “Eventbrite” really useful as you can search on Perth and even on FREE business networking events to remain cost effective yet business social. As a result of planning in advance I commit to just one per week usually a month in advance and have a lot of fun while adding new clients to my portfolio every week. Give it a try!
Remember - You are not alone…. You have a whole tribe of women within the Inspired Women network with a variety of skills, backgrounds and experience ready to share and care.
Author Tamara Awudu
Tamara is the proud founder of consulting business “Purple Cow” squeezing joy from life writing and editing copy for websites, sales & marketing collateral, branding and social media campaigns.