Female Entrepreneurs Can Gain Self-Confidence With This One Simple Trick
Here is an upsetting fact. Women and men with similar levels of education and experience have drastically different senses of their abilities when it comes to starting a business. In one report, almost two thirds of men were confident in themselves, while less than half of their female counterparts shared the same sentiment. As building a successful venture takes lots of effort and resources (and, frankly, a certain amount of blind faith and optimism in the face of terrible odds), believing in yourself is an essential building block to success.
So, what can you do if you just don’t have the confidence you know you need? Do you just fake it ‘til you make it? Yes and no. Like all skill, confidence is something that can be taught. And, of course, there are in person and online courses, self-help books, podcasts, support groups and much more to help you get there. But at the core, confidence is about changing your mindset. It is about believing in yourself.
“Positive affirmations can help boost confidence since they can help people focus on their positive qualities, rather than focusing on their negative qualities,” says Joy Rains, mindfulness trainer and author of Meditation Illuminated: Simple Ways to Manage Your Busy Mind. “Everyone has their good and not so good points, and many habitually focus on their negative qualities. By making a conscious effort to focus on and reinforce your good qualities, you can become much more confident. There's an old saying, Change your story, change your life. In the case of affirmations, it is certainly true. Your is reality is actually shaped by your thoughts. By changing your beliefs, you can change your reality.”
The theory of cognitive dissonance explains why this is true. “Cognitive dissonance refers to the stress that ensues when a discrepancy exists between people’s beliefs and their behaviors. People want consistency, so they’ll work to reduce the stress by bringing their behaviors in line with their beliefs,” Rains explains. “For instance, if you believe you’re nervous every time you talk to your boss, guess what’s most likely to happen? You’ll be nervous at the next meeting you have with your supervisor. A great way to change your behavior is to change your belief about the truth. If you can imagine yourself meeting with your boss and acting confidently—guess what’s most likely to happen? You’ll act in a more confident manner.”
Rains says that when the outcome you envision is possible, your behavior will line up with what you imagine. However, she warns, “the key word here is ‘possible.’ If you’re a sixty-year-old woman with lower back problems, and you visualize an outcome where you’re the star player on a pro-football team, it’s unlikely you’ll actually become the star player.”
But starting a business should be something that is possible, if you have done your homework and made the connections you need to get financing, etc. So if the main thing that is stopping you is just your confidence, how can you change your belief? “With your imagination. What you believe, you can achieve. Sports players use their imaginations all the time. They’ve mentally rehearsed the game-winning play so many times that it dramatically improves the odds they’ll achieve what they believe. When you imagine something as if it’s a reality, your mind and body often respond as if it is a reality,” Rains concludes. “You can engage your imagination to envision a new reality by repeating positive affirmations to yourself and envisioning them as if they are true.”
Here are some sample affirmations she offers
- I like myself and who I am.
- I trust in my abilities.
- No matter what happens on the outside, I feel confident on the inside.
“You can either use these affirmations or create your own. Repeat them to yourself daily, or write them down 10-20 times a day. Practice until they take hold and become part of who you are. Repeat as necessary!” She advises.
By following her advice you can help prepare your mind and body to succeed and hopefully overcome the real hurdle standing in your way – your self-doubt.
Nkwain Jude Romeo Song