While I’ve been focusing on business plans recently, there are often things in the background that will determine how much faith you put into your own planning and any action actually taken. Confidence is one of these things.
Confidence is a remarkable attribute in any part of life. Merriam-Webster online dictionary lists one definition as “a feeling or consciousness of one’s powers or of one’s circumstances”. In business, it’s a huge piece of any effective business plan. When we can clearly see our our choices and actions are successful, they build on each other. There is an aphrodisiac effect when we feel confident. People want to be around us. They believe that we can deliver our products or services and they will work. Like that feeling of first being in love, our customers want to tell others how wonderful we are. So what could possibly get in the way?
Emotions have a major influence in how we approach the hard work of our businesses.
My friend, Caroline pointed me to a post recently about emotions. It was an interesting tie in of how our emotions are tied into our emotional intelligence. Our instincts and perceptions certainly work on a nonverbal level that is useful. How many times have you noticed that when you didn’t listen to your instincts that you ended up in a negative situation? We know stuff that we don’t realize we know.
But confidence can be built or eroded by emotion. Consider this-your skill level doesn’t suddenly evaporate. You still have the same body of knowledge and the same talent to serve your customers well. However, if you’re seeing your revenues decreasing or you just can’t seem to land new customers, your confidence generally drops. On the other hand, the times you’ve landed that fabulous client or solved a difficult problem, it gave you such a boost. There are days when you feel as if you couldn’t find your way out of a paper bag or, conversely, you are beautiful and people love you.
It’s not just our reaction to our performance that can grow or erode our confidence.
Circumstances in our environment can be taxing on our confidence as well. For small business, access to credit or consumer spending or lack thereof can drain one energy and motivation. The Irish Independent reported that the Small Firms Association ((SFA) urged that measures be taken to restore confidence to Irish small and mid-sized companies. Access to adequate networking, advice or governmental policies make up the environment in which we operate our businesses. They fertilize our thinking and present opportunities for our growth. The way our peers respond to circumstances does in some way affect us. We may choose to get caught up in the zeitgeist or not but it is still in the air.
Sometimes personal issues have an impact on our confidence. It doesn’t take much to notice that we siphon off energy to respond to personal situations. They can be positive or negative events (e.g. weddings, children leaving home, illness or death) but they still evoke an emotional response.
Perhaps wisdom is in our awarenss of how we allow our emotions to grow or erode our confidence.
We’re going to feel our emotions, no matter what. As I often say, it isn’t the emotions that are good or bad. It’s what we do with them. The level of influence you have over a situation can markedly affect how much confidence you feel. And we have choices about how we express ourselves. Our choices encourage that glow and attraction that an aphrodisiac provides.
While it’s tempting on my part to provide suggestions for creating confidence that works like a love charm, it will be much more interesting to hear what the #kaizenblog community has to say. Please join us as we’ll be discussing “Confidence, Emotions and Business Growth” on the Twitter chat, #kaizenblog on Friday, May 13, 2011 at 12pm ET/5pm BST/9am PT
How would you describe the levels of confidence in your offline peers?
Could confidence have a fragility to it? Why or why not?
What is the relationship between experience, confidence and emotional intelligence?
What is it about confident people that attracts you?