To be an entrepreneur is to face yourself every day. With no one dictating our schedule or how we do what we do, we are gloriously free to soar, or fall flat on our faces. It’s up to us.
What tools and support do you need to be functioning in top form?
Saying that entrepreneurs do it all by themselves is an inaccurate description, of course. We need a wide array of experts to draw upon and a supportive community of friends, colleagues and loved ones if we are really to reach the heights we’re capable of.
And we need confidence and courage.
When you’ve been stuck in a tough patch running the biz, or feel you can’t seem to get ahead of it all, confidence and courage can be in short supply.
I can look back on my years of personal and professional growth and can see a pattern. I get tired or scared – or both – and I contract. I let business development activities slide, and sure enough, the numbers bear that out.
After a bit, I find my courage again and snap out of it. I feel really alive. I’m ready to stretch. I get fierce and bold and put myself out there in a big way. Exciting things happen. Then life will throw me some curve balls. I can shrug off a few of them without impact, but if they keep coming, I get tired. And around we go…
Jack Canfield likens this necessary supply of confidence and courage to having a big pile of poker chips. When you’re flush, you feel secure enough to take risks. When your supply is running low, you pull back. You avoid risk. You lose momentum. Your business and your life shrink and begins to atrophy.
For anyone, but especially for an entrepreneur, your supply of these two important assets is critical to your long-term success.
Here are 3 strategies to charge up your bank account:
Leverage the good times. When things are going fairly well, push yourself as far out of your comfort zone as you can. Be intentional here. Entrepreneurs are perennially in the midst of several learning curves at a time. Choose one area – whether business related or completely outside of work – to really stretch.
Do this when your confidence and courage bank is at least reasonably full. We want to build strength, not destabilize.
Jump out of a plane. I’m being literal and metaphorical here. I went sky diving a couple of weeks ago. I’d really wanted to do this about fifteen years past, then I went through a decade where I thought Are you crazy?? You’re not jumping out of a plane! Then this year, the desire came back. I felt more excited-scared than just terrified, so I went for it!
What would ‘jumping out of a plane’ be for you? What is that big and bold thing you could push yourself to do that would truly expand your idea of what you are capable of?
Record your courageous act. Whether through video or photos or even some personal journaling afterward, it’s important to chronicle the experience somehow. This is not for vanity (although that’s a little side perk), but so that you have it available to draw on when your confidence and courage are running low.
A strange thing about our psyche’s is that when we’re under stress we can quickly get amnesia about things we’ve achieved. Just yesterday a friend was helping me with a personal challenge. I was a vulnerable mess and she reminded me that only two weeks ago she had watched me jump out of a plane. That I was amazing and courageous and would get through this challenge just fine. I had momentarily forgotten what I’d done.
We are all, all things. Strong, weak, bold, frightened, tired, energized, etc… When you’re at a low ebb, it’s helpful to have easy access to memories of you at your best. At your most capable. This will ground you and help you tap into a growth state more quickly.
For long-term success, be intentional about making regular deposits in your confidence and courage bank!
By Kira Callahan, President of Conversation Gym, NCCA Canada member
Kira is a Communications Coach, Speaker and Facilitator, and regular contributor to the HuffPo Canada Business Blog.
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