Business Performance: Is fear or lack of confidence holding you back?

Caroline Andrews

So, you know what you want to do, you have identified your ideal clients, you know your targets, you have your website and possibly your branding, now all you have to do is tell everyone about what you have to offer; simple right? If the answer is yes then I admire and congratulate you. If the thought of ‘putting yourself out there’ causes a reaction that results in you hiding under the duvet then these 10 tips will help you:

  1. We attract what we think about so the more you focus on the fear the more you will experience it. Start thinking about yourself as confident and brave and you will begin to attract those experiences instead.
  2. By ignoring or shying away from your fear you are actually reinforcing it and enabling it to grow. You need to start facing it NOW. How will you do this? A little technique called ‘approach and retreat’. This, in effect, chunks down the process of taking you to what you fear into small steps. You aim to conquer each one before moving on to the next. For example if you lack confidence in cold calling then practice what you want to say to yourself in the mirror, then call your friends and practice on them, then some acquaintances. You do not move onto the next step until you are confident at the last. You will be surprised at how willing people are to help you and then, when you are ready, make that first call. Just one for now and build up to more calls once your confidence grows.
  3. It is important to stretch your comfort zone (not blast through it). This means in facing your fear you need to take the next step (see 2. above) that creates a feeling of anxiety but is still manageable for you. If you always feel comfortable how will you ever progress?  If you need to, find someone who can help coach you and stretch you, whilst respecting where you are in your journey.
  4. Be aware of your posture and breathing. If you stand tall, shoulders back, head up, looking straight ahead and breathing deeply you will change your ‘state’, move slowly and consider what you are doing. Smile, you will begin to feel better.
  5. Whether you like it or not it is a fact that at any moment we choose how we feel. We choose our emotional state. Now, a genuine fear reaction will temporarily override this as it happens faster than we can think about anything rationally. However, the anticipation of fear or nerves is a choice on your part and you can change it. When you become aware of these feelings coming on think about a time when you experienced the good feelings you would like with you now, for example, relaxed, confident, brave. You need to really get yourself into that experience, see it through your own eyes, make it brightly coloured, a movie, what do you see, hear, smell, touch and feel? Call on the feelings you do want and override those you don’t. In NLP (Neuro-linguistic programming) there is a technique called ‘anchoring’ that helps you to recall these feelings quickly when needed.
  6. Your brain cannot tell the difference between a real and imagined event. If you constantly run a movie in your head of scary scenarios your brain believes these are real and you compound your fear. How about running a ‘good’ movie instead? See yourself being brave, being confident; imagine how it will be once you’ve conquered your fear. The more you do this the more you are programming your brain to believe you are that person.
  7. If you fear something the more you talk about it, the more you give it life. Stop telling people you are afraid and start telling people you are working on increasing your confidence or becoming braver. Say ‘I will be able to do that one day, I am working on it’ instead of ‘I am afraid, I can’t, I’m too scared’. Positive words bring positive experiences.
  8. Find people who like to share their tips, successes and all their good experiences that will encourage you.
  9. Be in the moment. Reliving past experiences or fretting about future ones is unhelpful. Focus on what is going on right now.
  10. Believe you can! We are only limited by ourselves and our own thoughts. Focus on what you want and put energy into achieving it. It is up to you!

Caroline Andrews,

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