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Nurturing Confidence – Lessons from Sport

Are you the type of person who walks into a room full of strangers and thinks to themselves “Yeah!  50 new friends!  Or, ughh I hate small talk!”?  For a great majority of entrepreneurs they didn’t realize when they decided to make their passion their business some of the fear inducing situations that come along with sales and marketing.

Things like sales, self promotion, cold calls, public speaking and networking are the exact activities that see entrepreneurs burying their heads in their work and commissioning yet another brochure or an updated version of their website.  However, it’s commonly known that face to face interaction versus another website or brochure is the best way to generate sales.  So how does one step away from the computer and thrive at a networking event?

It’s in these instances that business can draw a parallel to sport.  In Robin Sharma’s latest book “The Leader Who Had No Title” one of the wise leaders proposes the idea of leaning into that which we are most fearful of much like a new skier has to lean downhill when learning how to make a turn.  It is an unnatural feeling and many new skiers find themselves wanting to slow themselves down by leaning backwards-this can be disastrous and actually causes them to speed up.  So start by identifying which marketing technique has you the most fearful and what can you do to “lean into it?”

Once you’ve established what you resist adopt the mental technique of visualization.  Visualization is the act of seeing yourself in a situation performing at your best.  You actually create a mini film version of what you are about to do before you do it i.e. giving a presentation, engaging in interesting conversation at a networking event, making a sales generating cold call.  Once you’ve created the setting in your mind identify your desired outcome for the situation-your ultimate vision.  Then notice the impact of visualization in the real situation; it will be like you’ve already done it before!

One final way to strengthen your confidence is to log your “wins” and journal your confidence source.  As humans we find it quite easy to dwell on the negativity of the situation and all the possible ways things can go wrong.  Challenge yourself to think differently by dwelling on the positive.  Make a list of situations whereby you’ve faced a fear in the past and succeeded.  While identifying this list also consider the source of your confidence.  Under what circumstances do you know you excel?  Is there an activity that you perform regularly that is an easy and a natural source of positive energy?  You might find this source of positive energy from talking to a mentor who inspires you, taking a hike in the mountains or simply by practising regular meditation.  This list of “wins” and journal of your confidence source is a great reminder of that which we’ve already accomplished as well as that which we are capable of.

And so the next time you find yourself walking into a room full of strangers remember these mental techniques from sport: lean into your fear, visualize you preferred outcome, log your wins and log your confidence source.  Then take a deep breath, connect with your passion and core message, light up the room and watch your business grow!  Good luck!

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