"A person who doubts himself is like a man who would enlist in the ranks of his enemies and bear arms against himself." Alexandre Dumas
This is a short series that I'm writing about. Not sure how many parts it will have, maybe three or four, or more, I don't know, but what I do know is this.
The subject of competence and confidence in business is a really important conversation to have in the home based business industry. For any industry, and for any life for that matter.
For the purpose of my blog here, we're going to keep it related to your home based business.
In this series, I share events and feedback from educating myself through books, audios, talking with others and personal mentorship on important keys about competence and confidence in business.
In this first post, I share feelings and mindset issues I had while questioning my competence and confidence following a personal life setback after achieving a great deal of success as an online marketer.
Now before I share, I wish to say this.
I believe there are others out there, perhaps thousands of people, who like me, experienced success in reaching some goals, and then got side swiped from life happening events in their personal life, and found it a bit tricky to gain their momentum back.
The reasons one may have to struggle to gain momentum again are not always crystal clear as I had discovered. For me, it was a several month journey to get to the bottom of why I was in the stuck mode of where I was…. and I tell you what…
… It took digging and talking it out with my mentor and a close friend and deep self-pondering and searching to figure out this puzzle, but if you feel like I do, you'll see that your goals and dreams and life depends on it.
It's easy to give up. Anyone can do that. That was never on the table as an option for me.
It's so much easier to throw in the towel rather than going through whatever struggle you have to, to get your desired result. Stay in the game. Figure it out. Anytime you get stuck in business, don't quit.
Figure out what the problem is and then share your experience to help the next entrepreneur. Lend a hand up. We all have a different journey, but we experience much of the same emotions, feelings, setbacks and struggles. I believe the reason we overcome is to share. It inspires and helps other to know they are not alone in this journey, or in life and to press on to live out their purpose and destiny.
The year was 2009 and for 2 years had enjoyed much success in my online entrepreneurship endeavors.
I had the 6 figure income.
I had influence.
I had relationships with those in the inner circle of our industry.
I was truly grateful.
Then life happened… personally.
In 2010, when I was coming back from these personal setbacks, I looked up and was trying to gain momentum again, but there seemed to be wall around me that I could not break through. I had noticed that the way marketing trends were going, some things seemed to have changed somewhat but big deal, that's to be expected, yet I had some internal grumbling going on about it.
My unconscious mind took me to a place of 'stuck'. I could not get going! I found myself going through motions rather than pouring myself into my work.
Hum… what was going on with me?
My peers and colleagues still respected me.
My followers still respected me.
However, when I looked at myself, I was lost. I didn't know what happened to me during that year and man o man… was I insecure all of a sudden.
Not only that, I was experiencing feelings of being lonely and isolated, hopeless, and felt like if I didn't do something fast, my business that had continued to sustain itself somewhat, would crash and burn. I began to feel anxious and angry with myself.
For whatever reason, I felt stupid. I felt inadequate. I felt like I didn't measure up or have any value to give.
These feelings caused me to choke and put a big procrastination bug in me.
(This is to be expected however because anytime you don't have a clear plan, a clear vision, you procrastinate.) That was the only thing "I got". I knew WHY I was procrastinating, but I DIDN'T know why my vision, and game plan was mumbo-jumbo.
I mean, c'mon… none of my personal happenings was related to my business. My family situations included my mom's heart attacks and brother's stroke and a divorce. My business was a good spot in my life! So what was up with that?
Yet I tell you, I was uncomfortable in my own skin all of sudden in business. I didn't recognize myself and it scared me. I didn't I like what I was experiencing.
I was disappointed in myself for feeling this way and worse yet, I found myself placing judgment on my attitude and actions harshly about things that I couldn't put my finger on.
Talk about a catch 22!
What in the world was wrong with me?
I told myself things that were totally fabricated in my own mind, an enemy attack, which was totally true. But I was also pretty darn good at filtering out the mind noise and pressing on, however, this was stronger than ever and it seeped into the actions I was taking… or not taking.
Our minds are powerful in ways that cause us to believe things that are not true which I would find out later was going on internally.
Had something happened to me during the life happened period that would cause me to fall apart while my business was still running?
I reached out for discussion and brainstorming
After several months of going through the motion of working my business, I found myself becoming more and more miserable and detached from my business.
I didn't want to get up and do the work because the work didn't seem authentic because I didn't have the joy I once did.
I found myself no longer wanting to take risks which is totally NOT me!
I wasn't up for challenges, which again, was NOT me!
I wanted to withdraw from my business rather than press on, absolutely NOT me!
Where Was I? (Shrug shoulders)
I didn't need consoling, I needed coaching.
I needed to find out what was going on with my warped thinking. I knew I needed to reach out and find answers because I knew in my heart of hearts, this was the business I was called to and I loved helping others pursue and achieve their dreams.
I needed to get my competence and confidence back! I needed to find me again, and fast!
I confided these things to a friend who is also in the same business and after much discussion, we were able to pinpoint a small list that turned out to be everything.
My Short List
Here's my short but critical list of things I had uncovered about my internal dialog and how I turned them around to get back on track.
I share my feelings, the root of those feelings which I uncovered, some discussion about them and the solution to the problem that allowed me to move forward again.
1) Feeling: I had no confidence in myself as a marketer.
This was bazaar, almost laughable actually, because I had created multiple 6 figures from marketing. Yet I was telling myself that I was not a marketer and believing it so much that it literally had shattered my confidence and I couldn't do any marketing.
Discussion: A couple months before my 'come back', my YouTube channel had been suspended for who knows why, and making videos and sharing with others was a tremendous joy for me. I absolutely couldn't wait to grab my camera and share a tip, a strategy, a story, a resource, something… with my followers. It was how I best communicated. I was excited and my enthusiasm for sharing through video was evident. People from all around the world would comment back and many purchased my products and services.
Root of the Feeling: Because I was no longer able to utilize video marketing, unconsciously I was telling myself this story: "Since I can't communicate via video with my audience and the world, I can no longer be an effective marketer."
Well… my conscious mind knew this was such a lie! And guess what? The unconscious mind will override your conscious mind!
The truth was, I could still communicate through video, it would not be however, a form of SEO marketing for lead generation. But I could embed my videos on a paid hosting site and still communicate with the people on my list and share with my team members. No, it's not as big and dynamic as communicating with the world, but I had to come to terms with that.
Solution: Started making videos and sent those out through my email campaigns and posted on blogs. I couldn't change YouTube or control what they do or didn't do, but I could change how I viewed it in terms of my business and whether I would allow this to put me out of business or double my business. I chose to double my business. But the scales of temporary warped belief had to come off first.
For marketing, I had just as much enjoyed blogging. So I continued blogging. I explored other means of marketing and have learned how to use social media and paid marketing as alternatives of video.
2) Feeling: I felt I had no more value to give.
Again, this was bazaar, and again almost laughable, because I had created tremendous success sharing value, even coaching services and was respected in my industry. Yet I was telling myself that I had no more value to give. As a result, this shattered my confidence. Where the heck did this sneak attack come from?!
Discussion: Well, for goodness sakes, just because someone goes through personal family situations doesn't mean that your business value goes down the drain. Truth is, your value as a person, as an entrepreneur, as a parent, as a friend as someone's brother or sister, or son or daughter, has no bearing on a setback or failure (which I call feedback) in another area of your life.
There are millions of people who are searching for solutions to their problems and many of those are waiting for you to show up in their life. Don't allow a failure in one area of your life…become the pillar to the rest of your life falling apart.
Root of the feeling: Somewhere along the line, I felt that since there was a failed marriage, that somehow my value and success was tied to that. Weird, I know. And it's why I'm sharing openly with you. If it happened to me, it can happen to others and I want to help those who may be feeling the same way.
Solution: Being able to identify the problem and put it in perspective. There's power in identifying and discussing problems so a solution can be implemented. Often times it's a matter of simple mind shift.
Part of the problem in all of this was a lingering temporary depression that was fogging up my good thinking. I was able to acknowledge that.
3) Feared Judgment from Inner Circle Friends and High Expectations
I was fearful of what others would think of me as I was coming back on the scene and more active in my business. And not the people on my list. But rather, the people at the top of the ladder, the inner circle in the industry. Other leaders.
I didn't want the questions…
"Hey Debbie, where were you?"
"How come you've not been as active? "
"Why didn't you place in that affiliate contest?"
"Why aren't you bringing your A game?"
And so on and so forth. It was about disappointing others, rather than celebrating where I was on my own terms.
Discussion: I was always the strong one, the person whose life is together, the happy well-adjusted family, the business success, etc.
As a coach myself, I addressed the 'what would others think of me' obstacle that held so many people back. I told them how to move past that and role played for specific problem areas. I loved teaching this stuff!
Well, I wasn't aware that as I came back into the swing of things, I was ashamed and embarrassed and saddened by my personal life hardships. I thought if others knew what was going on in my life, I would be judged and shunned. Oddly, I was doing the very thing that I coached others past!
Root of the Feeling: I discovered through consulting with my mentor that I was feeling this way because I had already proved myself in my industry and felt that if I were to have any set backs in life of any kind, that I would be judgments for that. I felt I would be looked down upon by those who respected my success as if to say, I should be immune to life happening. Where did that come from?!
What I knew to be true and what my mind was processing were two different things.
I already knew that failure was really just feedback. Nothing to get wigged out about. And I didn't fail. I just sort of disappeared off the scene for a bit.
I already knew that even leaders and successful people are, well, people.. meaning human.. and sometimes things just happen. It doesn't make us bad people or somehow "less than".
I already knew that those who judge are not worthy to be friends anyway.
I already knew life can happen to the best of us.
I already knew that I had nothing to prove.
I already knew the people in the inner circle would not judge me. It's not who they are. If anything, they understand because they've been through 'life happening' also.
Yet, the noise in my mind… that nasty, smelly, scumbag noise that screams in our heads and sabotages our best efforts was getting the best of me. You know the stinky critter? Have you met?
Well… I was not listening to that which I already knew in my conscious, but was taking on new ideas and beliefs about what others would think of me in my unconscious.
Solution: I had to get back into heavy personal development, giving no room whatsoever to the crap that my thoughts wanted me to believe about myself and thus the self judgement. I stepped up my reading, listening to audio and saying out loud, my affirmations to remind my mind and set the filter in my head that I was valuable and I deserved success.
I also realized how stupid it was to not confide in my inner circle friends. They've been where I was. Some will find themselves where I was in the future. There's no judgement that I've ever found at the inner circle level. In fact, I found that I was judging them in not trusting how they'd respond to me. Talk about a twisted turn of events!
Oh, and you know the feelings of loneliness and isolation that I spoke of earlier?
I discovered I had brought that on myself 100% through my own doing! I had deliberately isolated myself from my inner circle friends, not wanting them to judge me yet didn't fully realize I was doing that. It was just my mind lying to me and my subconscious believing it.
Do you see how domino effect works? Crazy huh?
Turned it Around Immediately
You know, it's so easy to turn your business around once you can dig out the weeds. You pull them out and start planting new seed and before you know it, you'll be back and even better than before.
The worse thing one can do when they hit rough spots is to quit or let the 'stuck' stay too long. Take proactive steps to figure out what's going on so you can regroup, catch your vision again and roll up your sleeves with a game plan to win!
That's what I did. Armed with the right mindset, the right game plan and vision, and an understanding of what was going on inside my head, I was able to turn things around.
And if you ever find yourself in the same situation, I hope this will inspire you to press on also.
Summary for the Drive For Competence
We all want to be competent in our work and in life in general.
We all want to be accepted.
We all want to be confident.
Sometimes when life throws the unexpected into a successful career, it can shatter some beliefs about competence and confidence. Don't think it doesn't happen.
But when you can identify why you're feeling a certain way about these areas of your life, you can decide to crawl up like a rollie pollie bug and let your business crash and burn, or you can acknowledge a deficiency in either, find out why you are acting and feeling the way you do and then do something counteractive to fix it.
In this blog I shared 3 things that held me back from my come back in terms of how I felt about being competent and confident.
In my next blog, we will get into meat and potatoes and I'll help you see how your drive for competence and confidence (or lack thereof) is so critical in terms of your success. I want to share with you what I've learned about our personal competence and how it's described as our ability to understand, successfully perform and master our world. And more importantly how that pertains to your home based business.
Oh Debbie! Once again you hit upon my own thoughts and feelings. In reading this, I can see where I am putting myself into the situation of isolation, feeling inadequate and just overwhelmed that I can't do it all!
Thank you for sharing your journey because it does truly help others to know that they are not the only ones having 'obstacles' thrown at them. I look forward to the next installments!