“I’m sorry. Your role doesn’t exist anymore.”
Pretty sure I wasn’t the first person to ever hear those words but at that moment it sure felt it. We’d just moved house and secured a pretty hefty mortgage, were getting married in less than a year and had welcomed our little boy just six months earlier.
That’s what I was thinking at that moment. Actually I’m pretty sure I was thinking “Oh f**k” but I’m trying to be slightly professional here, given that I’m here to talk about confidence and business. Yep. Confidence. I tell you what, when I heard those words “your role doesn’t exist anymore” the last thing I felt was confident. On reflection I felt pretty angry, deflated and unwanted.
Why don’t they want me anymore?
Why am I not good enough?
What have I done wrong?
What will I do now?
If they didn’t want me then surely no one would either. I must’ve repeated this to myself endless times over the next few days. Thinking about it logically, I was actually very good at my job. Not to blow my own trumpet but I consistently got feedback from colleagues and my team about my leadership style and capabilities, with one of my team even commenting “Without a doubt, Alison was the most effective manager I’ve had the opportunity to work for” on my Linkedin page.
Mum of a six month old. Hefty mortgage. Big wedding. Only one salary coming through the door (major kudos points to anyone single-parenting out there by the way). Yep, oh f**k.
Or maybe not?
After hanging around in my pjs for a few days with a slightly needy baby I decided enough was enough. What could I do that would enable me to still spend time with my son but also brought in an income? What was I good at? Coaching leaders. Training and mentoring. Influencing and relationship building. Little over a week later my business was born and I’ve not looked back since.
We get married in 8 weeks and not a penny has been put on a credit card. The mortgage has been paid and we’ve even upgraded our flights to business for our honeymoon (costing us a whopping £150). We’re not rolling in it, but we’re not doing that bad either given where we were a little less than a year ago.
So why’ve I rambled on about my life over the past year? Because despite my confidence being at an all-time low I made it happen. I started a business and it makes money. Most importantly, I feel fulfilled every single day and my clients never cease no inspire me with their resilience and can-do attitude. I work with small business owners, mainly mums, by coaching them through the early stages of their business.
If you’re thinking about starting your own business, here are my top five tips to overcome your own confidence woes.
Write down five things that you’re good at.
Not three. I want five. Tell me five things that you’re really good at. Business related. Life related. Mum related. It doesn’t matter but nail your strengths.
Write down your mission statement.
If you’ve already got a business idea then write down your mission. What are you aiming to achieve through your business? For me, I want to inspire other women to develop the confidence to build their own businesses that allow them to enjoy the things that really matter, family and time.
Whack it on a whiteboard, print it off and stick it on the wall or save it as the background on your laptop. It really doesn’t matter where you stick it, but make it visible. On days where you feel a bit c**p, I promise you, thinking back to why you’re doing something will make you feel a whole lot better.
Set yourself a few goals.
Whether that goal is that you’d like to make some money or to make a few sales. Whatever your goals are, write them down. But I want you to make them SMART. This means Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. If you take away the fancy acronym, it basically means make sure you can measure it and pop a delivery date on there. E.g. To make £500 in sales by 1 September 2018.
Your goals don’t have to be big or fancy; they can even be your to-do list! When you start ticking off items and achieving your goals you’ll feel empowered and motivated to stretch yourself a little bit further. You’ve read the fable of the tortoise and the hare?
Never compare yourself to someone else.
We’ve all done it and guess what? There’ll always be someone slimmer, prettier and more successful. That’s life. But you don’t know how much someone’s spent on liposuction, make up or who’ve they’ve married to tick those boxes. Kidding aside, you don’t know someone else’s journey, where they’ve been or what they’ve invested to get where they are today. Social media also has a wicked way of portraying the very best of our lives.
Focus on you. Go back to point one and read your five strengths. Read your mission. Review your goals. Look at how much you’ve achieved and the value you give every. single. day. As long as you see some progress, you’re reading in the right direction.
Ask your little people who their heroes are.
You’ll always be the best person in the whole wide world to someone. They’re your toughest critic and most impatient customer yet they still love you. They keep coming back for more (unfortunately, sometimes) and they would defend you until the end of time. Remember that.
If you’ve got to the end of this blog post and thought that was pretty pointless – no secret formulas or strategies – then my points been proven. Running a business doesn’t take a degree, 30 years’ experience or a fancy job title. It takes a good idea, hard work and confidence. You’re already nailing the hardest job in the world, so what’ve you got to lose?
Alison Fletcher is a leadership and business coach for professional women. In particular, she works with women in the early stages of their business or through periods of rapid growth. She also partners with Senior Managers looking to develop their leadership skills and through organisational change. With 10 years experience, Alison has worked with Business Owners, Senior Managers and seasoned Professionals with strategy planning and delivery as well as overcoming limiting beliefs to accelerate business and personal performance.
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