By Jennifer Olson
I meet many promising leaders and entrepreneurs who have so much to share with the world, yet they struggle with the confidence to own their perspective, expertise, value and their worth. It’s one of the leading reasons people don’t succeed. Rob Schultz recently discussed this topic in his blog If You Don’t Buy It, Neither Will They: Stop pretending you don’t know what you’re talking about. And finally admit that you do. He believes that people struggle to fully step into and own their authority. And he’s certainly not wrong on this front. I think that’s part of the problem, but only one small piece.
The greater challenge is that people haven’t asked themselves the tough questions. Who I am? What do I believe? What do I care about? What is my opinion or point of view? What do I truly value?
Instead, many people walk through life believing they are a fraud – they try being what other people want them to be. They may be one type of person at work or in their business and another at home. If they truly believe they are a fraud, how do you think this belief is broadcast out to others each day through that person’s body language and actions?
Lack of confidence …. incompetency…..nervousness….distrust…..no credibility ….. uncertainty…fear…
In my work with business leaders, entrepreneurs and speakers, we start exploring these concepts right in the beginning as a person will never truly step into authority and own their value without knowing and trusting themselves. Once they do this work, they will know themselves intimately. They learn how to listen and trust themselves in a way that shows confidence, competency, trustworthiness and credibility. Those amplified external qualities can then easily help them attract clients, business and opportunities. When they align the aspects of their inner self then convey those qualities through their outer presence, magic happens! People experience huge changes in how they see themselves and how others see them. They are able to:
- Own their expertise, authority, value and potential so that others take notice;
- Be seen and heard as more trustworthy, believable, inspirational and credible;
- Manage risk more effectively and trust their “gut decisions”;
- Increase their level of energy and stamina on the inside and out;
- To physically manage stress more efficiently and effectively; and
- To feel more confident in any situation.
Who doesn’t want all of that?
Here are some steps to get there:
Know your purpose or mission. Studies show that people who love what they do are more motivated and engaged in their work or business.
Live your values. When I speak to a group, I always ask who in the audience knows their top five values. Usually only one or two hands go up in a room of 100. The most common underlying cause of why people burnout in their jobs is due to a conflict with their values. Yet most have no idea that is the root of the problem, so they move on to another job where they burn out again in 2-3 years for the same reason. And the pattern continues. You can’t honor what you believe in, a.k.a. your values, if you don’t know them. When you come up against a values conflict, you immediately experience stress, frustration, anger and a feeling of injustice. Those frustrations are the beginning of job and life dissatisfaction. Know your top 5 universal values and live your life according to those values.
Write down your areas of expertise and mastery. Few people take the time to list out and acknowledge all areas where they excel. If you don’t know them, neither will anyone else. Start a list. When you get stuck, ask your friends and colleagues where they think you excel and add those items to the list. Keep adding until you’ve exhausted the possibilities. Then place the list in a prominent place where you can see it. Read through it each day until you know it backwards and forwards and can own your strengths in these areas.
Acknowledge where you suck! This seems counter intuitive. I know. Yet the truth is we ALL have things that we’re NOT good at or can’t do. It’s important to know and acknowledge these items too. This then becomes the list of traits that we want to seek in others to complement our weaknesses in the job, in our communities and in life. This broadens our perspective and allows us to tap into different skills and expertise that we don’t have.
Explore your point of view. Once we know what we’re passionate about, our areas of expertise, and our true weaknesses, the next step is to learn to trust our inner voice. We all have opinions based on our expertise and experience, yet few are willing to stand out and declare their beliefs. This is what makes people stand apart from others. IF you want to be successful, you must be able to own your opinions – your point of view in the world. When you share that point of view, it does two things. It first allows people to decide if they agree or disagree with your opinion. This is super important in business as it allows people to decide if they are, what Seth Godin refers to as, part of your “tribe” or not. Secondly, it allows people to trust you since you took a step in being vulnerable, in sharing a part of you. Trust only happens when people can share vulnerability. So, how do you explore your point of view? A great way to start practicing is to find opinion pieces in the newspaper, online or on news TV channels. When the expert shares their opinion, take a moment and ask yourself – Do I agree? Why or why not? Feel free to journal your answers or start a conversation with others to really explore all facets of your thoughts and feelings. As you start getting clear on what you believe and why, start sharing those thoughts with close friends and colleagues. See where the conversation, and your beliefs, take you.
Develop your personal presence. The way we show up – our presence – says a lot about us. In just 7 seconds, our body tells others if we are confident, trustworthy, self-conscious, unbelievable or just “off”. The key to being seen, heard and respected as an expert who can create a huge impact and results through their work while getting paid what they’re worth begins with STRONG PRESENCE. Mastering your external personal presence allows people to truly see and experience you as a believable, trustworthy and credible person. It is the last step in stepping in and owning our expertise and authority.
As you can see, owning your value, perspective, expertise and worth is not just about “being confident”. It’s about knowing who you authentically are and expressing that every day. This is a journey and a practice. It doesn’t happen overnight. If you can start with some of the piece above, you will begin laying a foundation along the right path.