Nine Activities Any Entrepreneur Can Do to Boost Their Confidence

Building trust is a daily habit that every entrepreneur should make part of their routine. It can be easy to listen to that inner voice and recognize your flaws in relation to your accomplishments. Having the right self-esteem is necessary to perform as a business owner, and you must learn to silence the critics who sometimes seem to take over your mind.

According to a report by Choose the brain. These tips can help you focus on the task at hand rather than your shortcomings, making you a more effective leader and business owner.

Below, nine members of Young Entrepreneur Council share their favorite activities to build confidence. Here’s what they recommend:

All images courtesy of Young Entrepreneur Council members.

1. Improv class

Improv lessons can greatly reduce your critical thinking (“What if I look like an idiot?” “What if no one laughs?”). Not only having to think on your feet – a great skill for entrepreneurs – but also presenting those thoughts in a consistent way will be greatly appreciated as you grow your business. Putting yourself in awkward situations in front of strangers will only help you gain confidence in your presentation skills. At the beginning of my business, I often attended meetings where new questions that I had never thought of were asked of me. Instead of sweating and worrying, I was able to communicate calmly and enthusiastically that I would be able to respond to them with answers. Enrolling in improv classes has helped me live the motto “never let ’em see you sweat!” – Kim Kaupe, ZinePak

2. Meditation

I find that practicing meditation and clearing my mind works best to silence my inner critic. It’s hard at first, but if you keep going, you’ll get better over time and start to notice that your mind is so clear that if a negative thought pops up, it feels out of place. Sometimes, before giving a speech in front of a large crowd, I get nervous and notice my heart beating fast, so I’ll focus on taking deep, slow breaths to bring my heart back to a normal, relaxed pace. When the rhythm of my heart is regular, my whole body is relaxed. – Syed Balkhi, OptinMonster

3. Ten Unique Ideas, Every Day

From “10 things that are better than staying home all day”, to “10 old ideas I can make new again”, to “10 industries I can cut out the middleman”, I make sure to write 10 ideas inside my bullet journal every night. It doesn’t matter if I’m having a good day or a bad day. This exercise encourages my brain to overcome the fear of having bad ideas and pushes me to think beyond the ordinary. There are a lot of speed bumps along the way, but when I look at the future journal in my bullet journal and see the big picture, I realize that I’m still relatively on the right track. So I do the best I can to keep coming up with ideas, wherever I am. These ideas are really helpful! – Cody McLain, SupportNinja

4. A “Good Feelings” Folder

Whenever someone praises my work, I add their comments to my “good feelings” folder. I have everything in there, from one-line emails to book reviews. Whenever I feel less confident in my own abilities, I read the file. Personally, knowing that others think well of my work is really reassuring. This strategy requires keeping an eye out for people who are raving about your work. You may be surprised at how many examples you’ll find – our inner voices are good at replaying criticism and keeping it fresh, but not so good at reminding us of praise. – Thursday Bram, The Responsible Communication Style Guide

5. Public Speaking

I was at a big agency working with big online brands, and I was asked to be an adjunct SEO professor at NYU. As a non-native English speaker, I was nervous about my presentation, but it was one of the best things I’ve done. The public speaking and teaching seminars diversified my business, allowing me to create my own boutique agency and SEO academy. My inner critic was my spoken and written voice. The more I use both, in the form of seminars, lectures and videos, in addition to two books with amazing editors, the stronger I become a speaker and writer. I’m able to offer my customers so much more about myself and my products, and my accent hasn’t stopped me. I use my story as a lesson in how to silence the inner critic now and celebrate diversity. – Matthew Capala, Search decoder

6. Mantras for the entrepreneur

I was having a chat with some founders, and we were talking about the mantras we say to each other when the going gets tough. Two of mine are, “No one can steal my peace without my permission,” and, “Help or stand aside.” These two have kept me calm and moving forward at a successful speed over the years. For example, when someone is rude or dismissive to me in business, because of the old mantra, I just let their behavior and opinions be, and move on. I don’t take it personally. The last one, “Help or Stand Away”, is useful because I like to listen, but in the end the work just has to be done. I know where I’m going and who I need advice from. Everyone can either help or get out of the way! What do you need to hear today to give you a better tomorrow? – Rebecca Devaney, Hunter Creative Labs

7. More reading and writing

There is nothing that can make someone more confident than mastering the ability to understand their inner thoughts and express those thoughts to others. Reading stimulating literature will help you understand abstract concepts and expand your vocabulary, helping you define the world around you. Practicing these new terms and concepts by writing for hobbies in your spare time will help reinforce this new skill and improve your ability to communicate. Taking a public speaking course can be helpful for public speaking, but it doesn’t guarantee you’ll be able to say something interesting or insightful. Speaking skills are next to nothing without some supporting knowledge, which is why reading and writing regularly can boost your confidence exponentially. – Bryce Welker, Beat the CPA

8. To Do Lists

Making lists has always worked to help me recognize patterns and behaviors that are negatively impacting my personal or professional life. My process is to create a list of criticisms I have weighed against myself, coupled with complaints I have received from partners or peers. I then spend time internalizing those criticisms and try to discern whether or not those elements can be improved upon, or whether they are personality traits that would otherwise be difficult to change. I try not to blame myself for behaviors that are intrinsically part of who I am as an owner and as an individual, and instead focus on the areas that I can truly correct for the good of myself, my business and of my colleagues. Just be careful not to overanalyze; work for improvement, not perfection. – Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker

9. Jamming

Whenever I need a confidence boost, I turn up the music. There is something about singing and dancing that energizes and relaxes you. Generally, low confidence is linked to low energy. So the first step is to get your blood flowing. I don’t care if it’s dawn, a good melody can make all the difference in the world. Singing your favorite hymn really helps. They say it wasn’t the Air Jordans that made Michael Jordan fly. While that may be true, Air Jordans are like music: they build confidence. And when you’re playing at the top of your game, you need everything you can get! – Robby Berthume, Bull and Beard

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