“Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.” -George Addair
In working with overachievers and perfectionists who are starting businesses, I’ve noticed a common thread: we all deal with fear and self-doubt. It’s these evil twins that are the biggest factors in determining someone’s eventual success in business, which is why I spend more time studying and working with my clients on them than any business system or structure.
Here are my top tips for overcoming these major impediments to success:
1. Start your day proactively
Most of us start—and continue—our days reactively, dodging and recovering from whatever comes at us. This stressful start to the day breeds fear and an underlying sense of being scattered that takes us far away from our best, most confident selves.
Decide how you want to show up in the world today. Do you want to be more confident and less afraid? Decide you will be more confident. Focus on what you CHOOSE to be, instead of what you’re afraid of or don’t want to be. As T. Harv Eker said, what you focus on expands, so make that positive rather than negative.
Set a timer on your phone for 5 minutes, lock yourself in the bathroom if you have to, and decide how you want your day to go. If at all possible, handwrite it down. Determine what’s important to you today and commit to accomplishing it.
2. Breathe deeply
I used to scoff at this suggestion. Seriously, for years I wrote it off, believing it was too simple to work. But now, I understand the science behind it. Breathing intentionally and deeply activates the relaxation response in our bodies and gives our poor, chronically stressed nervous systems permission to take a breather. So differentiate that anxiety-producing to-do list you woke up with from an actual, imminent life-or-death scenario by taking a breath.
3. Use your past
That’s right, go there. Use the great and the awful to fuel your self-belief.
First, the bad. You’ve probably experienced—and survived—things that others can’t imagine. To you, they may be or have been normal, but your normal is only that. Divorce, sickness, abuse, death, job loss or change, moving, financial trouble—getting up and going about your day with any of these or a host of other stressors is often a heroic task. Recognize and congratulate yourself for doing so, and use the knowledge that you survived these things to fuel your mission and ability to take action toward it.
Here’s a personal example: whenever I get overwhelmed by a problem that causes me to doubt myself, my decisions, or to be afraid of what people might think of me, all I have to do is think of my stillborn daughter’s tiny box of ashes. I remember the moment the funeral home director handed me the box, a look of terror on her face as she nervously waited to see how I’d handle this grief that she obviously wasn’t comfortable with. I remember that moment, and all the moments since, that I’ve lived with the reality that box it represents, and I access a deep, powerful strength I didn’t know I had before her loss. It provides a massive dose of perspective, in the same way that reflecting on what you survived can give to you.
To use the good, create a “confidence resume” of the things you’ve accomplished in your life, going as far back as you can, and read it daily. Note awards, honors, scholarships, extracurriculars, things you’re proud of, things others have recognized you for, compliments you’ve received. You’re pretty awesome, right? If you have trouble coming up with this, ask people who are close to you what they see in you.
Usually overachievers and perfectionists feel that whatever they do, it’s never enough, so they don’t give themselves credit for what they have done. Putting it on paper helps create a sense of healthy pride and recognition that organically diminishes fear and self-doubt.
With a consistent, persistent commitment to become confident and courageous, it WILL happen, and your business will reflect your newfound strength.
Ready for more paying clients? Grab Christine’s free workbook, Top 5 Things To Do To Get Your First Or Next Client, and connect with her in her private Facebook community, Life With Passion Society.