This week I was featured in ‘Take a Break’ magazine to discuss the impact of Impostor Syndrome. One of my ‘Four Key Pillars of Sales’ is confidence. It’s essential, because if you don’t believe in yourself or your products, how can anybody else? As I always say, “I think I am, therefore I am”, you have to believe you are going to be successful to become a success, however, this is difficult for a lot of people in business as they can often suffer from Impostor Syndrome.
Impostor Syndrome is a huge thing for the small business community, and I’ve written about this time and time again. I call it the ‘Tom Daley moment’ – when you’re about to step onto the 10-meter diving board and spring into the pool of entrepreneurship.
This links to today’s topic, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), a therapy which is commonly used to treat mental health but can also be used to build confidence and allow you to make those moves you had previously been too afraid to do.
What is CBT?
CBT is a talking therapy that can help overcome issues by altering the way you behave. It is based on the concept that your thoughts create feelings, your feelings create behaviours, and your behaviours reinforce thoughts. It suggests that if a situation is not necessarily a positive one, you may, because of these factors, be stuck in a vicious cycle.
As research suggests, if you hone in on these factors and treat them as individual aspects, you are able to change the negative issues, and overall improve the way you feel about the situation.
As I mentioned earlier, CBT doesn’t have to be used solely to help with mental health. We can use CBT to help us overcome other issues, such as lack of self-confidence and impostor syndrome.
Let’s take an example. Your business is doing OK this month but could do with an extra push. There’s a huge client that’s interested in your product or service. You’ve used the questioning techniques that you’ve learned on the Easy Peasy Sales course and he’s told you it is between you and another business, but they are more established than you.
‘Thoughts create feelings’
The thoughts, which we often see of “I’m not good enough”, can be referred to as impostor syndrome, where due to a lack of self-confidence someone may feel as though they aren’t good enough. I’ve written many blogs on the subject because it truly is a huge part of our day-to-day lives in the small business community. These thoughts may then develop into feelings of unworthiness and that you are not capable of delivering to customer expectations whereas your competitor is and as a result, you could develop an ‘inferiority complex’.
‘Feelings create behaviours’
If you don’t stop the feelings in their tracks, they can develop into behaviours. For example, you may develop a fear of rejection because of this ‘inferiority complex’. Your behaviour from this could result in you not wanting to pick up the phone and if you did, your vocabulary may be very apologetic and can be seen as ‘green’ (if you don’t know what I’m talking about you can take our quiz to find out your colour) “I’m sorry to bother you”, “I know you’ve probably gone with the competitor but…”.
In this situation, you may feel the need to cut communication down with the client, or no longer push for that sale, leaving them with no option but to pull out of the deal and go with your competitor. This means not only are you opting out of that sale, but you may have lost all future deals with that client. In the long run, this may result in you actively choosing not to participate in bigger deals with clients and therefore affecting your potential not only as a business but also as an individual.
‘Behaviour reinforces thoughts’
As I mentioned, since you may have pulled out of this deal it can affect you in the long run. These behaviours reinforce the thoughts and the inferiority complex, “I’m not good enough” becomes a reality since your behaviour has adapted to make you potentially unsuitable for the position.
How can I combat this cycle?
In order to stop the cycle, you can look at each aspect of the CBT chart respectively. You can combat these thoughts just by looking at the evidence. The client is considering you alongside this huge competitor – you, therefore, in the client’s eyes, certainly are good enough! This is an achievement in itself, the small wins in business are the ones that keep you going. It is important in these situations to ground yourself. If you are struggling to see the evidence yourself, I suggest reaching out to somebody who will be able to give you a little boost. You’re doing great!
Once the thoughts are stopped in their tracks, the following feelings and behaviour should disappear, as the thoughts are a catalyst for these feelings and behaviours.
What else can I do to build my confidence?
Confidence is key to business, and without it, you’re fighting a losing battle. Sign up to one of my coaching packages to grow your business and learn to sell effectively on a 1:1 basis with me. Once you have a clear idea of behaviours, process, and strategy, you will master your confidence.