I know, it sounds crazy. Why on earth would I tell you not to believe in your business?
I wouldn’t. But there are times when we just don’t have a lot of faith in what we’re doing. Things go wrong. We feel tired. We lose a client or get hit with a late charge or miss a deadline.
It hurts when things go wrong, and it doesn’t help to insist that we buck up and “believe.”
A battle with confidence
We put unnecessary and unproductive pressure on ourselves and our businesses when we think we need to believe in them. If we believe we need to believe (!), we’re naturally going to be afraid and worried when our confidence wanes. I know that the more I try to believe in myself when I’m feeling low or stupid (it happens), the more frustrated and anxious I become. Soon, all I can think about is myself: Am I good enough? What’s wrong with me? Will I ever have the confidence and stamina to make it?
Confidence follows action
Not only is preoccupation with our own value misery-producing, it creates a stalemate. We don’t take effective action because we’re worried about finding the magic formula that will restore our confidence. But, most of the time, confidence is the product of action.
On some level we know this, but when we’re worried about believing in ourselves, we look for the one action that will make us feel good, and that often means we refrain from doing anything until we know for sure it will work.
Waiting for certainty when you don’t feel confident is a losing game. Certainty is unlikely to show up, and you end up feeling worse and worse about yourself as you procrastinate and waffle.
At times like these we need to let go of whether or not we believe in our work and simply do it. This usually means taking actions that look very ordinary, even dull.
It happens to everybody
Last week, for example, I wanted to work on a new teleseminar tentatively titled The Art of the Ask. It’s for Accidental Entrepreneurs who have trouble asking for help, business, money, referrals, feedback, etc. I had been very excited about the idea, but then I felt like a deer in the headlights. I didn’t know how to talk about the class. I wasn’t sure how many sessions there should be. I was anxious about defining the just-right client for the program. Yadda yadda yadda.
What’s called for now?
And then I stopped and asked myself what the situation was and what action was called for. I decided the situation was that I was working out a new class and needed to know what prospective participants experienced when they had problems asking, what they would want out of a class like this, and what questions or concerns they would have.
So I wrote a simple description of the class and posted it in Shaboom County. I also posted it in Sean D Souza’s 5000bc community. These actions were much simpler than “writing a sales page” or “outlining the curriculum.” And by taking them I moved the project forward a little bit instead of staying frozen because of what I didn’t know.
Act first, then believe
When you feel lost, depressed, overwhelmed, or less-than, look outside yourself. Notice what the objective situation is. What simple actions are called for? Take each action for its own sake. Every action produces a fresh situation, one you can again respond to with a simple action. I’ve never been able to think myself out of a funk, but I can behave myself out of one. I bet you can, too.
Image from istockphoto