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Developing Trust and Confidence as a Businesswoman

September 26, 2011

How to Develop Trust and Confidence as a Businesswoman?

“Why can’t I get this business off the ground? I’ve been to Business School! What am I missing?” I’d just met this beautifully dressed small business owner in our first coaching session. She went on to list everything she had in place for her business. I was impressed! Financial systems, marketing, brand development, lawyer, CPA, bookkeeper, communications systems, staff with clear job descriptions and on and on.

Yet, Marta sat before me with tears welling up and out of her eyes. She was frustrated, scared, and deeply discouraged. She knew it all and yet something was missing and a colleague said that I could help. She barely looked at me in her embarrassment.

I asked one of my favorite empowerment questions: “If you woke up tomorrow morning and everything about your business was 100% improved, what would be different? How would you know?”

Her first answer? “I’d wake up confident instead of feeling too small. I’d trust myself and my idea for this business instead of feeling so scared.”

At that point her tears turned into a gushing river. Her pain touched my heart. Clearly, this it was time for an ‘inside-out approach’! Her past beliefs and patterning were messing with her success. Her feelings of insecurity, fear, and mistrust were undercutting her gifts and talents. Anybody relate?

What works? How do you develop confidence and trust? Here’s a couple of steps that we follow at The Wisdom Connection and that Marta used to reach a real place of personal confidence and business success.

1. Discover what works: Describe a time when you did feel confident, when you trusted your decision or a step that you took in your business. There’s always at least one time! Tell me about it. What did it feel like? Look like? Who else was there with you? What else was happening that contributed to your confidence?  If you write it and share it this alone will make a difference – subtle yet powerful.

2. Notice your self-limiting self-talk:  Write down 3-5 sentences that you say to yourself way too often. (I hope you are never this mean to yourself but a lot of us are!) “I’m so stupid. I don’t know how to build a business. I’m not as good as the other photographers in this town. I can’t charge what others charge.” Got it on paper? Now fold up the paper and put it away somewhere – in a box, basket, drawer – and next time you have that thought tell it to go away and into it’s new home. It works! Promise!

3. Take a picture or find something in your home, yard, or neighborhood that is a symbol of a Confident You. It might be a self-portrait, the curve of a flower petal, a mighty oak tree or a family member or friend. It might be a well-designed object or something from your childhood.

(Do you want to know what I have on my desk? I’ve never told anyone why! 🙂 It’s is an Indian mom with papoose. She stands 6” tall and proud in her beads, moccasins, and buckskin dress. I got her in New Mexico on vacation, when I was 8 years old. We were moving once more, this time from Lancaster, CA to Butte, MT and I felt pretty shaky. I liked her steady gaze and firm stance. I talked with her every night. I’d stand like her in the mirror. Somehow, she taught me how to feel ok inside no matter what (and going to school with all the miner’s kids in Butte a lot came my way!))

The good news? The first time Marta and I met she could barely think of one confident time, her list of limiting self-talk took a whole hour to list, and she couldn’t imagine what confidence would look like in an object or picture.

Resigned, she’d convinced herself there was no way out. Her pain motivated her to change along with her deep yearning to be a success in business. Plus, as a single mom she needed to provide for her own daughter.

She stuck with it. Dredged up more memories – fleeting moments of confidence. Put more limiting statements in the drawer. She taped up a photo of her daughter performing a favorite dance step that shouted out natural confidence. Now it’s a new day and her business is skyrocketing to great success just like yours will – you’ll see!

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