Confidence is one of the weakest links for women. I know I’ve felt it as a female entrepreneur, as have many of my peers. It’s easy to blame the environment around us and say that it’s tough doing business in a man’s world. Instead, let’s focus on methods designed to boost our confidence so we can stop blaming and start doing.
Here are six ways you can become more confident as a female entrepreneur.
1. Work with mentors
Like a coach who works with an athlete, a mentor is your guide, cheerleader, advocate, voice of reason and one-person confidence booster.
My mentor has helped me visualize what I want to achieve and provided direction that has led to achievement of different goals. She saw things I couldn’t see and provided the pathway and steps. Once I accomplished those objectives, I felt confident I could take on the next set that we developed.
While some things have not worked out, my mentor has always been there as my Monday morning quarterback to assess what went wrong. She has helped me understand what I could have done differently rather than just blame myself as I had in the past. Find a mentor who is focused on your industry so that their knowledge, connections and experience can provide benefits that propel you forward.
2. Surround yourself with smart, positive people
Beyond my mentor, it’s been an invaluable confidence booster to spend time with positive people. From my entrepreneur-filled family to colleagues I’ve met over the years, I have people who support me. so that I’m not afraid to fail or try something new.
Participate in industry events, volunteer programs and social events where you can interact with positive people. Steer clear of negative people. They will only contribute to self-doubt or give you reasons not to pursue things. In contrast, a positive atmosphere will make you believe that you can do anything.
3. Upgrade your skills
When you learn more and add skills related to your industry you increase your value to others. This empowers you to make decisions and take action. For example, I take online courses and seminars. I also participate in workshops and conference discussions related to my industry.
Other skills that are important include public speaking, negotiation and conflict resolution; all of which build confidence. Essentially, the more you know, the more you can do. As a result you feel good about your self-worth, and confidence follows.
4. Step outside your comfort zone
It can be scary to go out and do something completely different. But once you do it, there’s no question as to how confident you’ll feel. For example, I felt like I was on top of the world after my first presentation at a conference.
As women, we shouldn’t stick to assigned roles because we feel like it’s what we are good at. In reality, we could be doing so much more that no one ever encouraged us to do. Sign up for something you would never do and get through it. You’ll experience a heightened sense of confidence.
5. Actively participate in a social cause
Get involved in organizations and groups that involve all types of people. For me, participating in social causes has allowed me to improve my public speaking. This confidence has spilled over into other aspects of my life where I’m faced with similar situations.
Social causes like public awareness campaigns and nonprofit work are often more amenable to female leadership too; as women exhibit qualities like sensitivity, nurture and empathy. Stepping into a leadership role with a social cause is easier because passion compensates for any lack of confidence that may exist.
6. Use affirmations and mindful thinking
Confidence is purely mental, so it helps to convince yourself that you are confident. Practice positive affirmations: tell yourself that you deserve that new client or you will deliver a great speech.
Mindful thinking is another tool that works well for me. I visualize what it looks like to achieve something important, but is causing me to worry. I see myself winning as I exude confidence while doing so. Doing this a few times before facing a scenario that makes you apprehensive can transform your perspective. If I think I am confident, then I act confident. It takes practice, but it works.
This article has been edited.