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Dan Sullivan: How to Feel Confident at Will


Image courtesy of Strategic Coach

Entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial companies grow by taking risks, so confidence is an important foundation to entrepreneurial success. Protecting and cultivating your confidence is your number one responsibility because confidence is the ability that activates all your other abilities.

When you have confidence, you can learn, adjust to, and accomplish anything you set your mind to—things just flow. When you don’t have it, you feel overwhelmed and doubtful, and everything is difficult.

What is confidence?
Confidence is the ability to transform fear into focused and relaxed thinking, communication, and action — turning dangers into opportunities, obstacles into innovations, weaknesses into advantages, and setbacks into breakthroughs.

What many people don’t realize is that confidence isn’t just a passing feeling that you have little control over. You can generate it immediately for yourself. Here are three strategies to get you started:

Strategy One: Do a Positive Focus.
Take a moment each day to do a Positive Focus: Make a list of five specific achievements — areas in which you’ve made progress, either large or small — and write down why this is important to you, and what you can do next to build on that achievement. Notice how much you confidence goes up, just from focusing on what’s working.

Do this for 21 consecutive days, and you’ll make reinforcing and protecting your confidence a habit. You can do this with your team, your family, and your children. One of our team members does a nightly Positive Focus with her young daughter, and it’s a source of joy and connection as each of them relates her achievements from the day.

Strategy Two: The Confidence System.
The Confidence System is a simple approach that draws on your own knowledge of what makes you feel confident and packages it as a custom-designed tool you can use to maintain your confidence on a daily basis.

To design your Confidence System, ask yourself, “What gives me confidence?” Your answer can include activities, relationships, actions, and achievements — big or small. Maybe it’s eating well, exercising, having a plan, working on projects with a big future, or spending time with family and friends.

Write your ten best confidence habits on a piece of paper. This list is the basis of your Confidence System. You know that if you do these things, you’ll feel more confident. It’s that simple.

Because this system is created for you, by you, it’s easy to follow and build habits around. If you want to make maintaining your confidence a habit, look at your list every day and try to incorporate the ten habits on it into your routine. Share it with your spouse, your assistant, or your kids so they can understand and support the things that give you confidence. Stick it to the fridge, keep it in the car, or carry it in your wallet—whatever makes it easy to use.

As you look at your Confidence System regularly, you’ll begin to see small improvements you can make that will have a bigger impact. If you look at it when you’re not feeling confident, you’ll immediately see how to get back on track. Gradually, you’ll notice that you spend more and more of your time each day engaged in activities that give you confidence.

Strategy Three: WinStreak.
Confidence? There’s an app for that! If you’ve got a smartphone, chances are it’s with you day and night, so why not turn it into a confidence-boosting tool?

We’ve developed an app called WinStreak that you can use track your “wins” each day. It’s a great way to build the habit of measuring, appreciating, celebrating, and building on your progress in a conscious way on an ongoing basis.

A virtuous cycle.
Confidence is self-perpetuating: the more you have, the more you get. The very process of building your Confidence System is uplifting. Simply thinking of all the things you gain confidence from will remind you of what it feels like to have confidence and why it’s so important to continually develop and reinforce this ability.

By developing a few simple confidence habits, you can give yourself a feeling of certainty and an ability to take action in a constantly-changing world.

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