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To Be An Entrepreneur, Overcome These 6 Fears

To Be An Entrepreneur, Overcome These 6 Fears

Many people dream of becoming an entrepreneur, but they often don’t realize their dream due to the fears associated with it and their inability to overcome them. Regardless of how potentially brilliant your idea may be, it means nothing if you cannot find the courage to overcome these six fears:

1. Fear of risk and failure.

If you wish to do anything of substance you must be able to overcome the fear of both risk and failure.

Mark Organ, a successful CEO of a marketing software firm, once said:

There is no way for an entrepreneur to make a living without taking risks.

With risk come greater and more fruitful rewards. People often see risk as a negative, but it should be embraced. Rather than avoiding and hiding yourself from it, you should understand it and take steps to mitigate it.

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With risk comes failure, yes, but failure presents opportunity! You will never give yourself the opportunity to succeed as an entrepreneur if you do not embrace the possibility of failure.

2. Fear of what others around you will say.

We live in a world where people enjoy the failures of others rather than their successes. Being afraid of others waiting for you to fail can often makes it difficult to succeed.

This scene from The Pursuit of Happiness says it perfectly.

An entrepreneur will face many criticisms from friends and those close to them, so it’s important to believe in yourself and what you’re trying to achieve, or else you have no chance of being an entrepreneur.

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3. Fear it’s the wrong decision.

A common fear that holds back many potential entrepreneurs is that of making the wrong decision.

People who aspire to become entrepreneurs often have full-time jobs already, but they’ve always wanted to work for themselves. People fear that if they give up their job and open themselves up to a less than secure future, they will regret it.

If you find it tough to get over the idea that striking out on your own is the wrong decision, there are ways you can feel more confident. Do market research on your idea’s profitability, talk to mentors and other successful entrepreneurs, test your product on focus groups and create a business plan to give yourself the best chance to succeed.

4. Fear you lack the experience or expertise.

The fear that you are uneducated or inexperienced is natural for the first time entrepreneur. People see all these successful individuals with extensive resumes and say to themselves “I can’t I do this!”

But you can.

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Richard Branson once said:

The best way of learning about anything is by doing.

Many of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world struggled with formal education. It is not a prerequisite for starting a business to be formally educated, so why limit yourself because you lack a college degree? Take a chance! If you’re passionate about what you’re doing, that alone will take you further than any diploma.

5. Fear you will be financially ruined.

Financial insecurity is an understandable fear for the entrepreneur to have. It takes a lot of courage to put your savings and lifestyle on the line so that you can follow your dream.

According to the Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index, most small businesses are started with around $10,000 from their founders’ personal savings. Avoiding copious amounts of debt and stretching every penny in the start-up stage of your business will help you avoid additional risk of financial insecurity.

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You can also limit your financial imbalance by being prepared. A business plan, along with progress reports and sales forecasts will help map the direction of your business and ensure that you stay on track.

6. Fear it will consume your life.

Starting your own business takes a lot of time and hard work if it is to have any chance of success. It is important to become familiar with and accept this before taking the step into entrepreneurship.

Your business will need your attention and this can take time away from family and friends. Try to find aspects of the business that you can delegate to others and try to make your business processes as easy and as manageable as possible.This will reduce your workload so you can find time to spend with friends and family.

If you are considering taking the leap and becoming an entrepreneur, be prepared for hard work. Keep pushing forward and take any opportunity to give yourself a pat on the back to keep up your morale. Keep yourself motivated and you will surely be successful as an entrepreneur.

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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