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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 October 22, 2019

    How to Focus and Concentrate Better to Boost Productivity

    How to Focus and Concentrate Better to Boost Productivity

    We live in a world of massive distraction. No matter where you are today, there is always going to be distractions. Your colleagues talking about their latest date, notification messages popping up on your screens, and not just your mobile phone screens. And even if you try to find a quiet place, there will always be someone with a mobile device that is beeping and chirping.

    With all these distractions, it is incredibly difficult to concentrate on anything for very long. Something will distract you and that means you will find it very difficult to focus on anything.

    So how to focus and concentrate better? How to focus better and produce work that lifts us and takes us closer towards achieving our outcomes?

    1. Get Used to Turning off Your Devices

    Yes, I know this one is hard for most people. We believe our devices are so vital to our lives that the thought of turning them off makes us feel insecure. The reality is they are not so vital and the world is not going to end within the next thirty minutes.

    So turn them off. Your battery will thank you for it. More importantly though is when you are free from your mobile distraction addiction, you will begin to concentrate more on what needs to get done.

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    You do not need to do this for very long. You could set a thirty-minute time frame for being completely mobile free. Let’s say you have an important piece of work to complete by lunchtime today. Turn off your mobile device between 10 am and 11 am and see what happens.

    If you have never done this before, you will feel very uncomfortable at first. Your brain will be fighting you. It will be telling you all sorts of horror stories such as a meteorite is about to hit earth, or your boss is very angry and is trying to contact you. None of these things is true, but your brain is going to fight you. Prepare yourself for the fight.

    Over time, as you do this more frequently, you will soon begin to find your brain fights you less and less. When you do turn on your device after your period of focused work and discover that the world did not end, you have not lost an important customer and all you have are a few email newsletters, a confirmation of an online order you made earlier and a text message from your mum asking you to call about dinner this weekend, you will start to feel more comfortable turning things off.

    2. Create a Playlist in Your Favourite Music Streaming App

    Many of us listen to music using some form of music streaming service, and it is very easy to create our own playlists of songs. This means we can create playlists for specific purposes.

    Many years ago, when I was just starting to drive, there was a trend selling driving compilation tapes and CDs. The songs on these tapes and CDs were uplifting driving music songs. Songs such as C W McCall’s Convoy theme and the Allman Brothers Band’s, Jessica. They were great songs to drive to and helped to keep us awake and focused while we were driving.

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    Today, we can create playlists to help us to focus on our work. Choose non-vocal music that has a low tempo. Music from artists such as Ben Böhmer, Ilan Bluestone or Andrew Bayer has the perfect tempo.

    Whenever you want to go into deep, focused work, listen to that playlist. What happens is your brain soon associates when you listen to the playlist you created with focused work and it’s time to concentrate on what it is you want to do.

    3. Have a Place to Go to When You Need to Concentrate

    If you eat, surf online and read at your desk, you will find your desk a very distracting place to do your work. One way to get your brain to understand it is focused work time is, to use the same place each time for just focused work.

    This could be a quiet place in your office, or it could be a special coffee shop you use specifically for focused work. Again, what you are doing is associating an environment with focus.

    Just as with having a playlist to listen to when you want to concentrate, having a physical place that accomplishes the same thing will also put you in the right frame of mind to be more focused.

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    When you do find the right place to do your focused work, then only do focused work there. Never surf, never do any online shopping. Just do your work and then leave. You want to be training your brain to associate focused work with that environment and nothing else.

    If you need to make a phone call, respond to an email or message, then go outside and do it. From now on, this place is your special working place and that is all you use it for.

    Every morning, I do fifteens minutes of meditation. Each time, I sit down to do my meditation, I use the same music playlist and the same place. As soon as I put my earphones in and sit down in this place, my mind immediately knows it is meditation time and I become relaxed and focused almost immediately. I have trained my brain over a few months to associate a sound and a place with relaxed, thoughtful meditation. It works.

    4. Get up and Move

    We humans have a limited attention span. How long you can stay focused for depends on your own personal makeup. It can range from between twenty minutes to around two hours. With practice, you can stay focused for longer, but it takes time and it takes a lot of practice.

    When you do find yourself being unable to concentrate any longer, get up from where you are and move. Go for a walk, move around and get some air. Do something completely different from what you were doing when you were concentrating.

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    If you were writing a report in front of a screen, get away from your screens and look out the window and appreciate the view. Take a walk in the local park, or just walk around your office. You need to give your brain completely different stimuli.

    Your brain is like a muscle. There is only so much it can do before it fatigues. If you are doing some focused work in Photoshop and then switch to surfing the internet, you are not giving your brain any rest. You are still using many of the same parts of your brain.

    It’s like doing fifty pushups and then immediately trying to do bench presses. Although you are doing a different exercise, you are still exercising your chest. What you need to be doing to build up superior levels of concentrated focus is, in a sense, do fifty pushups and then a session of squats. Now you are exercising your chest and then your legs. Two completely different exercises.

    Do the same with your brain. Do focused visual work and then do some form of movement with a different type of work. Focused visual work followed by a discussion with a colleague about another unrelated piece of work, for example.

    The Bottom Line

    It is not difficult to train your brain to become better at concentrating and focusing, but you do need to exercise deliberate practice. You need to develop the intention to focus and be very strict with yourself.

    Set time aside in your calendar and make sure you tell your colleagues that you will be ‘off the grid’ for a couple of hours. With practice and a little time, you will soon find yourself being able to resist temptations and focus better.

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    Featured photo credit: Wenni Zhou via unsplash.com

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