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5 Things Entrepreneurs can Teach Us about Confidence and Conviction

5 Things Entrepreneurs can Teach Us about Confidence and Conviction

Whatever you are pursuing in life, and whatever your goals are, you need to believe in yourself, be confident about your ideas no matter how crazy they might seem, and simply make a move.

The best way to learn about success is from entrepreneurs, as most of them went from rags to riches because they had a vision, a dream, confidence and conviction. So, take a chance in life. After all, if you don’t make your dreams come true, someone will hire you to build their dreams.

1. Look your fear in the eyes

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Franklin D. Roosevelt

This quote, although it does not come from a traditional entrepreneur, tells the real truth about fear. Remember what you were afraid of when you were little, and what your attitude is towards that now. Take for example, the fear of the dark. Back when you were little, turning off the lights at night meant letting all the monsters out. Now that you are older, turning off the lights means one thing, that it’s finally time for some silence, a good night’s sleep. The same goes for any business you are pursuing. Whatever fear you have, know that more experienced people find that an advantage.

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What distinguishes an entrepreneur is that they looked their fear in the eyes, and made a move. They certainly aren’t fearless, they are humans after all. But at the beginning of their career, they feared they can lose everything, that they were not competent for something, and that they were simply not good enough to become successful. However, they didn’t let all that stand in the way of their dreams. When it comes to anything in life, fear the fear itself, because it is your biggest enemy, and will keep you down if you let it.

When you make a move, and fearlessly step into the business world, later on you might also be scared of some challenges. Don’t let fear stop you. Because, as Richard Branson said “Business opportunities are like buses, there’s always another one coming.” Make a mistake, and learn from it. Be confident in your knowledge and goals, so you can work on solutions, and not problems. Only this way can you achieve something worthwhile.

2. Self-doubt prevents success

“When in doubt, dare.”  Robin Sharma

Having self-doubt means that you lack confidence and have almost no conviction. Whatever you want to achieve in life, don’t doubt your skills and knowledge. What doubt does to you, is prevent you from succeeding in something. Doubt takes you one step back, and makes it impossible for you to actually do something. Moreover, if you have partners or clients, be sure that they will notice your insecurities, which will only lead to not trusting you with their money. Learn how to deal with your insecurities, so you could guarantee yourself a long-term success.  If you don’t believe in yourself, other people won’t either.

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Therefore, whenever in doubt, dare, try and stick to your dreams. This is when confidence and conviction play their important role. They are the ones that will keep you going, and help you achieve everything you ever wanted. Even if you fail, you will learn a lot, which will lead to inevitable success.

3. Growth mindset and believing wholeheartedly in yourself

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    “My biggest motivation? Just to keep challenging myself. I see life almost like one long University education that I never had – everyday I’m learning something new.” Richard Branson

    Your whole life is a path of knowledge, and everyday you are making mistakes and achieving some goals. Those might be unimportant and small tasks, but they develop your skills. For example, in everyday communication with people, you learn what attitude you need to have when speaking with some people, when to just listen, and how to have a discussion without becoming nervous. Every step in life, and a business move, is a chance for you to learn.

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    When you realize those small situations that shape you, you’ll start asking yourself how you can get better in something. This means having a growth mindset, which makes you work on yourself, your skills, and improving your knowledge. The opposite of a growth mindset, is a fixed mindset, which you can easily recognize when speaking with people who constantly ask themselves how good they are.

    A growth mindset means learning from mistakes, failures, and not being affected by negative feedback. Make sure you wholeheartedly believe in yourself, constantly try to improve and don’t doubt your every move. Only this type of mindset can achieve something, while a fixed mindset will constantly be lost in the past, negative things, and stay at the bottom because of a lack of confidence, courage and conviction.

    4. Conviction gets you into business, and keeps your enemies away

    “If you are working on something that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you.”- Steve Jobs

    Only when you have overcome your fears and became courageous, can you do something big. However, for all that you need to believe in yourself and what you are doing. When you strongly believe in those two things, there’s no one who can bring you down. People who just merely hope, can easily stray away from their path to success, or even be tricked into deviating from it. When you do something, put your heart into it and don’t let anyone tell you different.

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    Conviction will put your fears behind and make you brave enough to take the first step towards fulfilling your dream. And when you’re running a business, conviction will be there to make it all possible and, more importantly, make it all happen.

    5. Stick to your code of ethics and morality when faced with adversity

    “Your reputation is more important than your paycheck, and your integrity is worth more than your career.” – Ryan Freitas, co-founder of About.me

    When you face an unpleasant situation, where you might be tempted to question your morality and ethics, the best thing to do is remember who you were at the very beginning. Ask yourself what that person would do, and you’ll have the answer. Never risk your reputation and integrity for money or career. Remember the beginning when you were so courageous and sure in your vision that you could slam the door to anyone who thought differently.

    If you are at the beginning of your career, write a letter to your older self. Write down your dreams, goals and beliefs. One day, if faced with adversity, open that letter and it will help you make the best decision.

    This doesn’t have to apply strictly to the business world and achieving life goals. You can apply this advice in developing yourself, so that you can be happy with who you are. Believe in yourself, have the courage to make a mistake, be proud you’ve failed, find a solution and succeed.

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    Last Updated on February 18, 2019

    How to Motivate Employees and Boost Team Productivity

    How to Motivate Employees and Boost Team Productivity

    These days, in a world with cognitive, AI, and extraordinary advances, we have failed at the most basic stimulus: motivation. Why do I say so? Just take a look at these statistics:

    58 percent of managers said they didn’t receive any management training as per a CareerBuilder.com survey. Only 12% of employees leave their jobs because of more money. Research indicates that around 80% of employees leave their jobs due to “lack of appreciation”. Due to fear of failing, more than half of American workers don’t take their paid vacations. 53% of Americans are unhappy at work (not engaged). And 1 in 3 are working in a field they don’t like.[1]

    Archaic people management and HR structures are the root cause.

    “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    So how to motivate employees and boost team productivity?

    Here are 3 key things that you can do to motivate your employees and boost team productivity:

    1. Run Your Team/Group/Company like a Lean Startup

    The Lean Startup phenomena by Eric Ries has been socialized across millions all over the globe. In a nutshell, it is a methodology for developing businesses and products, which aims to shorten product development cycles and rapidly discover if a proposed business model is viable; this is achieved by adopting a combination of business-hypothesis-driven experimentation, iterative product releases, and validated learning.[2]

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    Encourage Your Employees

    When you empower your employees (or family members) to do what they deem to be best for a particular roadblock, idea, or improvement, you create magic. You create genuine trust. You enable innovation. The result is happy, inspired employees who feel they have a say in the grand cosmic stage at work.

    Note that increasing the competency level of employees and coaching and mentoring them along the way is key. You yourself, need to do the same. Nourish your brain – and get a mentor that will keep you at the edge of your game.

    Offer Rewards

    Motivation is also intrinsic. The startups I have worked at offered instant rewards — not just fat checks or equity increments, but Oscar-style nominations.

    The non-monetary rewards were actually more coveted, and grandiose: lunch with the CEO, tickets to an Obama fund-raiser, horse-back riding with a world-class equestrian.

    Compare this to a dodgy, corporate, white-cubicle dinosaur that had a “yearly performance review” where both parties dread the conversation. In a world of instant WhatsApp messages, having a conversation about performance, likes and dislikes cannot just happen annually in 60 minutes. Employees need to be rooted in the belief that their manager genuinely cares about them.

    Give Autonomy

    Another key attribute is autonomy. Most employees start brushing their resumes and cruising LinkedIn when their hands are tied in their current positions: approval forms, long meetings, escalations, and more meetings. In the world of agile and scrum masters, deliberating for the sake of deliberating is poison. You will choke the very employees that giddily accepted the job initially to “change the world”.

    Within a reasonable realm of assessment and deep-dives, trust your employees to do the heavy lifting. Give them access to the knowledge, people and resources that help them directly make the choices that will shape the future of your team, and your company.

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    Eliminate yourself as the bottleneck – and interject yourself as a benevolent, servant leader that is the symbol of high-performing organizations.

    2. Apply the 90/90/1 Rule

    I recently saw a video by Deepak Sharma (a leadership adviser) about productivity and this principle stuck with me. Here’s what it’s about:

    Devote the First 90 Minutes of Your Day to Important Project

    For the next 90 days, devote the first 90 minutes of your day to your most important project—nothing else. Do this for yourself and your employees.

    We usually get sucked into the most wasteful, operational activities in the morning which robs our focus, and steers us into an unwanted rabbit hole. So mute your notifications, avoid the temptation to check your exploding inbox, and scroll your Instagram feed later. Instead, focus on that ONE thing that will provide real value to you, your team, or your business/company/home.

    Apply this rule to yourself – and your team. Your team will thank you. Note: If you’re feeling really stretched for time, you can always hack the rule by testing out a “45/45/1” version.

    A To Do Scheduling System

    Another version of this is to use the Kanban concept, developed by Taiichi Ohno, an industrial engineer at Toyota. Kanban is a scheduling system employing boards and cards.

    The most basic version is a canvas with “To-do”, “Doing”, and “Done” boards (or columns). Each activity or task is a “card” that moves from one column to the other. I use Trello (a Kanban-inspired app) that is a key system for my personal and professional life. It allows me to understand my workload, their priority, and due dates.

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    I use importance and effort metrics (scores) for each task to understand what is truly necessary in my life to work on. It negates the FIFO (first-in, first out) paradox that has plagued millions of people. Instead, it allows me to take stock of what is on my plate, and then bite on what truly will move the needle for me, my team, my life, and my company.

    With a limited appetite (at least for some), would you eat the veggies, fries, mashed potatoes and leave the sizzling steak? No, you wouldn’t (unless you are a vegan and ended up in the wrong restaurant).

    Approach your work with a weighted vengeance – and encourage your team to do the same.

    3. Align Passion and Skills to Purpose

    The heart of human excellence often begins to beat when you discover a pursuit that absorbs you, frees you, challenges you, and gives you a sense of meaning, joy and passion.

    “The most fortunate people on earth are those who have found a calling that’s bigger than they are—that moves them and fills their lives with constant passion, aliveness, and growth.” — Richard Leider

    An ace team-member once told me that while she enjoys working for the company we both used to work at, she really hated anything to do with technology. She was more of a “people” person, and did not want to sit behind a desk sifting through lines of code.

    What struck me was that she was in that role for more than a decade and had just spoken up. The good thing is she spoke up. She expressed her desire and interests. And it allowed her to get into a role of her liking within 30 days.

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    Ask If They like What They’re Doing

    If you, or a team member is frustrated, demotivated, or not performing at their best – one of the questions you should ask is whether they like what they are doing. Then genuinely try to help them get to the role they should be in (whether in the same team/company or not).

    There’s a reason why 53% of Americans (and perhaps more or same across the globe) are unhappy at work. A butcher cannot be an ace salad maker. Pursue your passion – and help pave the way for your team. Unlock your potential and theirs. You will command and lead a supercharged team.

    “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

    The Bottom Line

    Sometimes, passion has to be ignited. It is dormant, clouded by busy-ness, buried by wrong career choices, and plagued by non-supportive eco-systems. Some will climb out of it, but we as society — and in the case of business teams — incumbent upon the manager/CEO/leader to foster, grow, and nurture the employee.

    Teach her the ropes. Show her the path. Advise him as you would yourself. Let them lead, and make mistakes. Do not fear them, rather make them the leader you would want to become.

    For your not-so-great team members, understand that it is not personal, it is just not a good fit. Help them move on to the pastures they would be fit to graze on. Hence, hire slow (and fire fast).

    Your team is a reflection of you. Boosting their confidence and helping them achieve the impossible is motivation. Focus on that, and you will have a productive team that you and your company will be proud of.

    More Resources About Team Management

    Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

    Reference

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