Increasing Your Confidence

All other things being equal, self-confidence is usually the single ingredient that determines whether a person is successful or unsuccessful.

Self-confidence is not something you are born with; it is acquired. Having self-confidence means you know what your talents are and believe that these talents will help you achieve your goals. It is having faith in your own abilities. It is how you feel about yourself.

To build a successful life, self-confidence is even more important than talent, knowledge, and hard work. When you are confident, you are more likely to take action on your goals. The success of any undertaking starts when you believe in your ability at the start.

How you see yourself has an enormous impact on how others perceive you. When you are self-confident, you are more determined, better equipped to establish positive relationships, and more likely to achieve your goals. Self-confident people are usually more positive, and as a result, more fun to be around.

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As a child you probably heard and maybe even said, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me.” That statement would probably be near the top of any list of childhood myths because the pain from hurtful words and phrases can be “felt” long after the pain from a stick or stone is gone.

Perhaps your life was shaped early on when you heard words and phrases from someone you loved such as, “You’re lazy…stupid…clumsy…(fill in the blanks). Or, “You’ll never amount to anything.” Perhaps you have some frayed relationships because of poor word choice either by you or the other person.

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It was mid-morning on a dreary day in Tallmadge, Ohio. It was early in my career and I was struggling to get my business going. I hadn’t made one phone call that morning even though my goal was to make twenty by 9:00 a.m.

The phone rang and fellow franchisee Howard Tangler greeted me with, “What are you doing?” I told him, “Howard, I’m not going to lie to you; I’m sitting here shuffling prospect cards feeling sorry for myself.” He asked me if I had at least five prospect cards and I told him I had several hundred. He told me to call any five and call him back in 10 minutes. I called him back in less than 10 minutes and he asked me how it went. I said, “Fantastic!” He said, “Tell me about it.” I had called five random prospects, talked with three of them, and scheduled an appointment with one of them. And, as a result, went from feeling sorry for myself to feeling on top of the world.

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Blueprint for Achievement

Is there anybody left in the country who doesn’t know that things are bad right now? Really bad. And going to get worse. Much worse. We’re all going down with the sinking ship. All of us. At least, that’s what the media wants us to believe. They’re sellers of the sensational and peddlers of panic.
This constant barrage of doom and gloom has convinced the masses that they are tumbling in an avalanche and about to be buried alive. It’s just a matter of time until their company will fail, they will lose their job, and they will be left penniless. And since some things are out of our control, that is in the realm of possibility.

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  1. Be generous with encouragement. Without encouragement, most people will only give you a minimum effort. Encouragement will cause people to give you an extra effort. All encouragement makes a difference.
  2. Give positive feedback regarding outstanding, improved, and consistent performance. Giving feedback on outstanding performance is usually easy because it is obvious. Giving feedback on improved performance is a little harder because you need to recognize that performance has improved. A good scorekeeping system will help you become aware of improvements. The hardest feedback to give is for consistent performance. People ask me why they should give feedback for people who are “just” doing their job. My response is, “because you want them to continue being consistent – doing their job.
  3. Help people set and achieve personal, business, and professional development goals. Personal goals provide motivation. Business goals are objectives to make the business better. Professional development goals will help the person be capable of accomplishing more and helping the business achieve its goals.
  4. Communicate your expectations clearly and in writing. The people on your team want to meet or exceed your expectations. If your expectations are unclear, non-existent, or constantly changing, team members will be uncertain and/or confused and will not give you their best effort.
  5. Help people clarify their thinking. It’s been said that the problem with people is they just don’t think. When you help people clarify their thinking by asking good questions and giving good direction, they will be more focused, motivated, and productive.
  6. Reinforce the behaviors you want repeated. Give feedback on what you want to happen, not on what you don’t want to happen.
  7. Focus on specific issues or behaviors the person can control. Results come from behaviors and behaviors are observable. When you focus on observable behaviors rather than intangibles you will have a greater chance of getting the outcomes you want.
  8. Avoid personal attacks, sarcasm, or innuendos. Personal attacks, criticism, sarcasm, and innuendos do not bring out the best in people. These types of interaction will cause resentment and people will get even by not performing up to their potential.
  9. Avoid inflammatory words such as “should have”, “ought to”, “have to”, “always”, and “never”. Using words and phrases like these usually causes resistance and defensiveness. People will feel like you are “wagging your finger” in their face. Parental words will many times bring out the “rebellious” child in even the most mature employee. Consider substituting “next time…” or some other positive, forward-thinking word or phrase.
  10. Believe in your people. People will live up or down to your belief in them. They can read your mind, and, that’s good because you can determine what’s in your mind for them to read – that you believe in them and expect them to perform at their best.
  11. Be a positive role model. Most people, if not all people, would rather see a “sermon” than hear one any day. Say what you will do and do what you say. Practice what you preach.
  12. Stay in the moment. Give the other person your complete time and attention. When you don’t stay in the moment, the other person will sense it and could feel devalued and/or you might miss something crucial to the relationship or issue being discussed. Either of these outcomes can hamper productivity, lower the quality of work, and damage an important relationship.

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The most important component in selling is the ability to ask questions.

When asking questions, if you focus on finding the best way to serve your customer, you will intuitively ask the right questions.

You sell yourself by asking questions and showing an interest in your customer.

People like you because of the way you make them feel about themselves.

The only way to find out what the customer is thinking is to ask instead of to tell.

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From: “Throw the Rabbit, The Ultimate Approach to Three-Dimensional Selling

by Joe Bonura, CSP

A good listener looks at the speaker and makes Eye Contact.

A good listener does not finish the other person’s sentences. There is nothing more irritating than trying to express an original thought when someone cuts in and assumes the rest of the statement.

A good listener uses positive body language. Keep your arms open, and not crossed, to indicate that you understand their ideas. Occasionally, nod your head or shrug your shoulders to get your body involved in the process of listening.

A good listener uses positive verbal signals. Say “u-huh” or “hmmm,” or “I understand.” As the speaker gives you information, these verbal signals, which give positive feedback, will reveal that you are in the conversation. Imagine the confusion if you telephoned someone, but they made no response when you answered the phone. You would continue to ask, “Are you there?”

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They may break into words at any time. Earl Nightingale, in his classic “Strangest Secret,” said, “We become what we think about.”

W. Clement Stone, in “Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude,” said, “Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe it can achieve.”

I worked with Paul J. Meyer for 28 years and have repeated his famous saying hundreds of times. He said, “Whatever you vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely believe and enthusiastically act upon must inevitably come to pass.”

Paul Meyer also said, “You are where you are and what you are because of the dominating thoughts that occupy your mind.”

Charlie “Tremendous” Jones influenced me early in my career when I heard him say, “You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.”

Zig Ziglar offers a corollary to “second-hand smoke” when he talks about SNIOP, i.e. Susceptible to the Negative Influence of Other People. These “other people” could include family, friends, business associates, strangers, and 24/7 negative news. This “second-hand negativity” is even more dangerous than second-hand smoke.

In addition to SNIOP, I offer a shorter and even more dangerous version – SNIO: Susceptible to the Negative Influence of Ourselves.

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As promised in Coaching Tip #61 here are steps you can take to confront problem behavior (any behavior that gets in the way of achieving predetermined team and/or organizational goals).

Preparation Step:

  • Approach problem behavior situations as soon as possible
  • Gather the facts – be specific (what and when)
  • Select an appropriate meeting place, e.g. private without distractions
  • Have your goal for the session clearly defined; what type of discussion is appropriate?
    • Coaching – an informal discussion to remind the employee what is expected of the employee and/or what his or her responsibilities are; your goal is to gain the employee’s agreement to make a positive change.
    • Counseling – a more formal approach where you are dealing with a major rule infraction or continuing problem.
    • Formal Discipline – discipline could be a reprimand or loss of privileges for minor offenses, suspensions without pay for a more serious offense, or demotions or termination for severe behavior problems (theft, assault, etc.). Because of the legal risks involved with severe levels of formal discipline, it is advisable to seek legal or HR counsel and obtain necessary approvals first).
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Most minor behavior problems can be corrected by simply addressing them in a gentle, straight-forward manner. This can often be done in a relaxed, casual setting. The better your relationship with the team member, the easier it will be to get an improvement in behavior. However, if the problem persists and is having a negative impact on your team and productivity, you will need to let the employee know that some sort of resolution is imperative. This usually requires a more formal setting.

When the problem behavior warrants a formal meeting and you have the facts, the best time to act is as soon as possible. Waiting will not make the situation better and it probably won’t go away. Follow these steps in getting prepared for your discussion:

  1. Get the facts. Do not rely on rumor or innuendo.
  2. Know enough about the person to predict his or her responses.
  3. Write bullet points about what you will say and in what order.
  4. Choose an appropriate location that is private.

Do not use E-mail when dealing with problem behavior. You will lose the effectiveness of tone, inflection, facial expression, and body language; plus, your message or intent might be misinterpreted without the advantage of a dialogue. Try to deal with the issue face to face. If that isn’t practical, do it by phone.

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