When you look at lists of requirements for a successful business, chances are you won't see "good self image" as one of the items on the list. However, self esteem can have a distinct impact on the success - or failure - of your business. Entrepreneurs with good self esteem are confident of their ability to achieve their business goals. If there are stumbling blocks along the way, the person with high self esteem does not take them personally but works to find a solution to the problem. However, those with low self esteem often go into a business already expecting it to be difficult and unsure if they will succeed. When problems arise, instead of focusing on the issue, they tend to focus on their own perceived shortcomings. They get exactly what they expected - failure.
Most of us do not work on improving our self esteem. We tend to think it's either something people have or do not have. Perhaps it was a result of our childhood. Whatever the cause, most people don't realize that good self esteem is something that can be developed with practice. Here's how.
1. I highly encourage you to take a lesson from the Girl Scouts. Tonight sit down and make a brag bag! Or a box like I have done. Get a brown paper bag or an old shoe box. I went to Hobby Lobby and got a plain wooden unpainted little box that looks like a treasure chest. Decorate the outside anyway you want. I found some very unique metal discs with great uplifting sayings on them - "Believe", "Love", and "Laughter" for example. I glued them all over my box.
Now, get some index cards and write all of your attributes on them - one on each card. Can you sing? Write it down. Are you an organizational whiz? Do people clamor for your cheesecake recipe? Can you sell the proverbial ice to Eskimos? Write it all down. Put them in your Brag Bag. Then write down all of your accomplishments. If you were the homecoming queen, or the valedictorian of your class, it goes in the bag. If you were promoted at your job in record time, if your kids are the world's greatest, if you lost those last 10 pounds, if your business makes enough to support you, if you have 20 people in your downline - it all goes into the bag.
Now, put your Brag Bag somewhere accessible. Because in order for this to work, you have to use it. Remember - what we focus on grows. So get your bag out regularly and review all the good things that you are. Bask in the glow of your accomplishments. Relish the good things you've drawn into your life. Watch your attitude improve and your accomplishments increase and your business boom. What we focus on grows. Get out your Brag Bag and let's focus on the right things. And while you're at it - maybe sign your daughter up for Girl Scouts. Look at the cool stuff they teach you!
2. I realize that we all have some things that we need to work on. So do it! Choose an area that you want to improve, and get to work. The trick here though is to work at it properly. You have to have the right attitude. I have struggled with my weight for years. But once I stopped hating myself for my perceived weakness because I couldn't lose weight, I discovered it became easier to take the pounds off. When you begin your self-improvement program, look at it exactly that way. You are simply taking what is already good and improving it.
3. Picture the new you. While you are working on your self-improvement projects, envision yourself as you will be once you are finished. While I am working to improve my health and fitness by losing weight, I picture myself running with my grandchildren or hiking with my sister. Or I see myself on vacation with my husband wearing a fabulous new outfit and dancing the night away. If you afraid to talk to people, while you work on overcoming this, picture yourself making presentations with ease and confidence. Visualize yourself being sought after as a speaker. See yourself having conversations with clients that have winning results.
Imagine your whirlwind social life as you get invited to all the best events because everyone admires your witty conversation!
4. Keep a success journal. Every time you reach a goal - no matter how small - write it in your journal. Or jot it on a card and add it to your brag bag!
5. Set goals. Having a goal will give you a sense of purpose. It provides you with a target. How can you know if you have achieved success if you don't know what that is?
6. Surround yourself with positive people. There are more than enough people willing to point out your every flaw. Who needs them!? Yes, we all have faults, and a true friend will help you face up to them. But they will also be the first to applaud your successes and provide encouragement when you embark on a new path. Surround yourself with people who see failure as simply a step on the way to success, who expect success from themselves and others.
7. Create a positive environment. No negativity allowed! Hang positive affirmations in your office. I have one that simply says "Attitude" as a reminder that attitude is everything. Listen to CDs with empowering messages. I have banned all music in my car and my home that is not uplifting and empowering. If I can't find anything suitable on my radio, then I have an assortment of CDs by people such as Mike Litman, Bob Proctor, Tony Robbins, and Joel Osteen. Make flashcards with positive affirmations on them and keep them on your desk. My latest are "I am exactly the right weight for my body" and "I am healthy and vigorous and living life to the fullest." When you begin to feel the old doubts creep in, grab a flashcard and remind yourself that "Every day and every way, I get a little better."
Healthy self esteem is good for your business. Follow the steps above and watch your self esteem - and your business grow.