When Dr. Seuss, real name Theodor Seuss Geisel, began his career writing and illustrating children’s books, he had a rough start. His first choice of publisher rejected his first manuscript. Then, his second choice passed, too. Dr. Seuss eventually sold “And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street” to the 28th publisher he saw. (Andrew, 2016).
What motivates someone to keep going after being rejected ten times, let alone 27? In a word: confidence. You can and should bring confidence in business to the table every day as a successful manager.
To be “100% in charge” as Marcus likes to say, you have to be a guide, a boss, a role model, and an inspiration. When you build confidence, you can be all of those things and more.
Confidence Leads to Success
Confidence is critical for business leaders. Your words have to carry weight and persuade people. If you think about someone you’ve met who was a born salesman, we’ll bet dollars-to-doughnuts that the first way you’d describe them is “confident.” Building confidence will allow you to speak your ideas more clearly, and clients and employees will respond to you better.
That’s a fact. Luckily, even if you aren’t a naturally confident person, we’ll give you tricks and tips on becoming one. As Marcus says, “If you don’t evolve, you will die,” and as grave as that sounds, it’s the truth. The only way to stand out in business is to build confidence in yourself. Then, confidence in business will follow.
Here’s What Confidence Can Do For You:
Without confidence in yourself, what would have inspired you to ask your spouse out on your first date? What would have helped you ace that test in high school? Similarly, confidence in business (and your product or service) can inspire you to grow, adapt, be bold, and move forward. A truly self-confident manager doesn’t wait for opportunities to fall into their laps, they seek them out. When you lack motivation, however, this has a negative effect which was the case when Marcus tried to help the founders of an herbal beverage company. Upon visiting the franchise owners, Marcus could see their passion for their product and business was natural. However, this was in direct contrast to one of the company’s founders, whose lack of passion and lack of love for the product itself was, well, not his cup of tea. If you lack enthusiasm for your business, then chances are you’re in the wrong business.
It may seem counterintuitive that building confidence will help you relax more, but it’s true.
When you don’t second guess your decisions, don’t micromanage your employees, and believe in your gut instincts (all signs of confidence in business), you can go home at the end of the day with a clear mind. Believe in your abilities and your work ethic, and you’ll never have that haunting feeling like you’ve left something on the table.
To blatantly steal from the movie Field of Dreams, if you build confidence, the focus will come. Have you ever beat yourself up after making a mistake? That probably didn’t do wonders for your spirit or your self-esteem. Confident managers have reduced worries and unhappiness, which leaves valuable brain-space for concentration. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t push yourself to do better in the future, but don’t get bogged down in pity. Everybody makes their fair share of mistakes.
4. Positive Mental Attitude
The happier you are, the more confident you will become. Likewise, building confidence will give your cheerfulness a massive booster shot. Nobody likes working for or with a grumpy person.
5. Better Leadership
Confident leaders have better relationships with their employees because they can give directions assertively. Former General Electric CEO Jack Welch described the importance of confidence in business this way, “For a large organization to be effective, it must be simple. For a large organization to be simple, its people must have self-confidence and intellectual self-assurance. Insecure managers create complexity.” (Charan & Tichy, 2020). Entrepreneurs who build confidence can lead their teams more efficiently.
Traits of Confident Leaders
1. Have Hobbies
No matter where you build confidence, you’ll bring it with you wherever you go. If you play music in a band and have a great show, you will bring your conviction to the office the next day. You may not even be aware of how well some skills translate from your hobby to your boardroom. Take PayPal’s president Dan Schulman for example. Dan is a board member of Symantec, Verizon, Rutgers University, and Autism Speaks. However, he still finds time to practice martial arts. He’s even gone so far as to say, “I’ve learned more about leadership from martial arts than I have from my formal education.” (Bunea, Khapova & Lysova, 2018). Building confidence is something you can work on, no matter what you’re doing.
2. Let Themselves be Inspired
It’s not easy being a leader. But, you can build confidence in business by listening to your heroes. If you can find a business mentor to help guide you, great! If not, then just reading inspirational quotes from successful CEOs or leaders in your field can give you a little extra pep.
One of Marcus’s quotes that always does the trick is, “Have no fear and be willing to fail.” That brings us to our next point.
3. Relish Adversity and Failures
To build confidence, remember that pressure creates diamonds. Nobody remembers the athletes who only did well when their team was already in the lead. We remember the come-from-behind victories and the great underdog stories. We remember people who saw their dreams slipping away before their eyes and did something about it. Building confidence can help you overcome any obstacle in your way. Your team will be inspired to set you up for success when the next opportunity arises because a confident leader doesn’t let the small stuff get in the way of the big picture. Failure is just a stop sign, not the end of the road.
4. Hand Out Support
As a leader, you are not only looking to better yourself. You should make every member of your crew feel as confident and successful as you are. Build confidence in every employee the way you do for yourself, and inspire him or her to take this journey with you.
To underline the sports metaphor in the previous point, Marcus says, “Your job as the CEO of the business is to be the coach. Rather than running people under the bus, you’ve got to get them on the bus with you.”
5. Relish Success
It’s hard to maintain your confidence in business if you don’t take time to appreciate your triumphs. Your self-assurance stems from your abilities, so take pride in them. One way you can build confidence is by lowering your expectations of what you consider a success. Sure, a big sale or the acquisition of another company is a massive boost for your ego, but you should also appreciate it when your new employee masters a task for the first time. Or, say, when you finish doing payroll early. Each small victory is slowly building confidence, even if you don’t notice it happening.
“When You Shake Somebody’s Hand, It’s Gotta Mean Something”
No act in the business world shows that you’ve been building confidence like a firm, commanding handshake. There are countless essays, stories, and scientific studies about the act. Why? After all, handshakes seem like such a small act. Well, it sets up expectations in an instant. Building confidence in yourself will be readily apparent to everybody in your circle. Your confidence in business will show itself time and time again. Everything about you will radiate self-reliance, even your handshake. As an entrepreneur, you’re already well on your way to being a more poised, assertive person. Marcus says, “If you want to gain confidence in yourself, get into business.”
- What do you currently do in your business to express confidence?
- What tips from above can you apply to you and your business?
Andrew, M. (2016, January 8). After 27 rejections, Dr. Seuss almost burned his unpublished book. Fortunately, he didn’t!
Retrieved from https://www.elitereaders.com/dr-seuss-rejection-story/
Bunea, E., Khapova, S.N. & Lysova, E.I. (2018, October 8). Why CEOs devote so much time to their hobbies.
Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2018/10/why-ceos-devote-so-much-time-to-their-hobbies
Tichy, N. & Charan, R. (2020, March 2). Speed, simplicity, self-confidence: An interview with Jack Welch.
Retrieved from https://hbr.org/1989/09/speed-simplicity-self-confidence-an-interview-with-jack-welch