Monthly Archives: December 2016
Self-confidence gives you the courage to take sensible risks and to pursue stretching targets. Exactly what is required to build and grow a business. It also makes building and managing teams simpler as a confident approach naturally inspires confidence in others.
Everyone struggles with self-confidence at some point, even people who are naturally blessed with plenty of it. So if you are struggling with your confidence remember that you are not unusual.
The good news is that self-confidence is like a muscle. It can be built up through deliberate training and practice. Whether you’re suffering a temporary slump, or self-confidence is something that you’ve always struggled with, let’s look at 6 ways to boost yours.
1. Cut Out Negative Self-Talk
Stop being so hard on yourself. We’re far more critical of ourselves than we ever would be of a friend. Next time you face a problem break this pattern. Rather than dwelling on the things that you didn’t get right, focus on solutions to the problem and avoid negative self-talk. It won’t help to solve the problem and will only drain your confidence and energy.
A simple way to do this is to think of the advice you would give to a good friend in a similar situation.
2. “Fake It Until You Make It”
Research has shown that by acting more confidently you can actually make yourself feel more confident. The body can control the mind. So making some simple changes to your body language can help improve your confidence.
– Smile more often. It will show that you are relaxed and at ease and make you instantly more approachable to others.
– Improve your posture. Your posture affects your hormones, and they affect your mood. Avoid slouching, slumping or ‘closed’ body language which appears defensive. If you are standing, stand tall with your shoulders back. If you are sitting, sit up straight. Remember that confident body language is open and expansive.
– Dress well. How you dress has been shown to affect how you think so make sure that the clothes you wear make you feel confident. Dressing well is as much about how you see yourself as it is about how you want the outside world to see you. If you look good, you’ll feel good and that will come across to others.
Have you ever been asked by an employer or project client to do something that seems odd or possibly even illegal? I have. And I’ve worked with project managers and technical support personnel who have as well. As consultants and professionals, we need to maintain the highest level of integrity as we are serving our clients and our employers. That doesn’t always mean just going along with whatever they ask of us. Sometimes it means doing just the opposite…running away.
In the vein of project management and consulting best practices, I’d like to discuss how to handle those situations where the project, the customer, the request, or the business opportunity seems wrong or just too good to be true. Think twice before moving forward with your head down.
If it smells sour, it is sour. This is an easy one, but temptation can be hard to ignore. If the milk smells wrong, no matter how bad you want to drink it the taste will still be horrible. Don’t do it. You can’t take something bad and make it good. A bad project client is a bad project client. A hiring organization that seems like they may be doing something criminal probably is doing something criminal. Trust your gut. You could be wrong. But who’s going to help you if you aren’t wrong yet you proceed?
If you see warning signs like clients asking you to fill out liability documents that you’ve never had to fill out before, or asking you for financial information that doesn’t seem to fit the purpose or asking you to do something on their behalf that makes you want to run 100 mph in the other direction, don’t go through with it. For every bad client or bad project, there are 100 more out there that are good. It’s not worth the career and reputation risk – no matter what the price.
If you are doing wrong, know that you will get caught. What percent of wrongdoers do you really think evade the long arm of the law? They may get away with something for a while, but most eventually pay the price. I would guess that number to be 95-98%. Do you think you’re smart enough and stealthy enough and slimy enough to find yourself living the high life (and on the run forever) in that top 2-5%? Probably not. And that price you will end up paying is never going to get your reputation back, your old life back, and your felony conviction fully (and I’m mean FULLY) erased. You will suffer, your career or business will tank, and most of all your family will suffer.
There’s plenty of work to go around but not all of the work is worth your time. Some jobs you should “just say no” to. On the other hand, most new business owners understand that bills have to be paid and the only way to grow a business is to take on work, and some of that work won’t be the highest quality clients at the beginning.
But even for the newest business, some jobs just aren’t the jobs you want.
Let’s Talk About Your Time
Time is in short supply for all business owners. If you could buy more of it at the store, you probably would, but your only option is to maximize what you have.
Maximizing your time means choosing your actions with great intention. Every choice impacts your time. Saying yes to one thing means saying no to something else. With that in mind, taking the wrong gigs may take you out of the running for the right gigs because you’re simply out of time. But what is a wrong gig?
1. The pay is too low
In your business, there are market rates that often come with a range based on education and experience. If you’re new in the business, you’ll be on the low side of the market rates but that doesn’t mean you should work for considerably less than the low end of the range.
Don’t forget, you have taxes, insurance, retirement, and other overhead to pay and they aren’t giving you a discount. Working at a loss holds very little benefit.
And most business owners will tell you that people who try to undercut on pricing are often difficult customers. Don’t commit your valuable time to people that don’t want to pay reasonable rates.
2. They want to pay you in “free advertising”
Bartering with other businesses can be beneficial, but typically, working in exchange for “free advertising” isn’t. If the New York Times calls and offers to exchange work for advertising, that might be an arrangement you’re willing to entertain. A small business, a website, or the side of some local organization’s trailer have no value to you as advertising space.
3. They want you to work for free or at a discount because “It’s for the kids”
Part of being a responsible business owner is giving back to your community and those in need. There’s absolutely no doubt that you should give of yourself, but set a reasonable percentage of your time to set aside for those endeavors. They might not even be connected to your business. For all of the other requests that come in, politely decline and wish them the best.
4. They tell you “I’ll give you equity in my company”
Again, you might be passionate about helping up and coming business owners like others helped you but as a form of payment, just say no. If they can’t afford to pay you, the equity in their company probably holds no value.