I’m going to let you in on a secret: I lack confidence. My lack of confidence has hurt my business, stopped my book sales from happening, and led to me not being present for you because I didn’t really think my presence mattered. My lack of confidence nearly destroyed my business and led to me being forced to move in with family.
Your Confidence Is Key to Your Success, Too
Fortunately for me, I know that I am not alone in my lack of confidence. It’s something that everyone who tries to do something great must face. You can honestly think that you’ve conquered that confidence issue and gotten it tamed, but you’ll soon find yourself facing a bigger, meaner version of that confidence problem when you try to take your writing or your book sales or your business to the next level. Here are 7 things a lack of confidence will do to you:
Keep You from Getting Started
When you’re trying to start a new project, if you don’t have your confidence well in hand, you’re going to find every excuse in the book to not start that new project. You’ll tell yourself you don’t have time, you’ll tell yourself you don’t know how to start, or you’ll tell yourself there’s no way you can get what you need to get started. You’ll quit before you even begin.
This is what happens to 90% of people who think about writing a book. They never get started. And, not surprisingly, they never become published authors. Their dream stays a fuzzy, indistinct thing in the back of their mind.
Leave You with a Trail of Unfinished Projects
Without confidence, you’ll end up with file after file of unfinished projects. You’ll start them, you’ll get partway through them, and you’ll abandon them because you get overwhelmed by the sheer scope of it and you start doubting your ability to do it. Or, you’ll meet frustration and discouragement and you’ll think it’s time to quit.
You’ll develop a severe case of writer’s block so you don’t know where to take the story or how to finish it, so you put it aside. Usually around chapter 5. Or, you’ll actually finish the rough draft but you never “get around to” the editing side of things. That’s where I’m at on no less than six of my projects. Sad, right?
The truth is, if you don’t finish it, you can’t know how good it would have been – and neither can anyone else. You can continue to tell yourself that it will be awesome when it gets done while never actually having to put that theory to the test. You can keep hold of the pleasant fantasy without taking any of the risks involved in making those fantasies your realities.
Lead You To Hiding Your Work
So you manage to finish your manifesto or you get done with that essay, but instead of letting other people see the work you’ve done, you hide it. You hide it out of fear of criticism or rejection. As long as it’s hidden you can pretend that it’s great. Once it’s out in the open, though, there’s a chance that you’ll meet uncomfortable realities.
And your lack of confidence will tell you that you’re not ready to hear those criticisms. It will tell you that you can’t handle those things.
You’ll end up dying like so many authors have, with the manuscript hidden in a drawer, and your dream of being a published author never realized because you couldn’t scrape up the confidence to let it out into the open.
Stop You from Speaking Up
If you do manage to finish your work, finish the editing, and put your book out there, your lack of confidence will stop you from telling people about it. You’ll subconsciously hide it under a pile of excuses so big that Mount Everest looks small in comparison.
If you want your books to sell, you have to be so confident in the value that you bring that you will sing that book’s praises from the mountaintop. You have to be so confident in it and so excited about the changes it’s going to make in someone else’s life that you can’t keep yourself from sharing. If you don’t have that level of confidence, you’ll end up sabotaging yourself.
It’ll also stop you from speaking up when you join a networking group, one of the places where people can connect with you and find out about the work you do. It’ll keep you from letting people know that you can write. Missed opportunities are expensive. Trust me. I know.
Stop You from Showing Up
I mentioned the networking groups. If you lack confidence, you’ll hesitate to join those. If you do join, you’ll not have the confidence to speak up and you’ll end up getting overlooked which will lead you to feeling unwanted and unwelcome and you’ll stop showing up. But you can’t make progress on getting the book sales you want if you aren’t showing up.
To benefit from a group, you have to show up regularly. You have to keep a watchful eye out and an ear open for opportunity. You need to participate and get active so people start getting to know you and get to know what you are capable of doing.
It’s easy to sit home and not take part in the activities. Your lack of confidence may convince you that nobody’s going to miss you anyway. But the truth is you have valuable skills and insights that other people need, but can’t get without you. Show up. On the days when you least feel like being present, push yourself to show up because those are the days when you are going to get the most out of being there.
Standing Up for Yourself
When you lack confidence, you allow yourself to be taken advantage of and used because you don’t see your worth. You get so eager for attention and so hungry for praise that you accept whatever comes your way out of desperation and fear that this is going to be the only thing to come along. As a result, you end up feeling even worse about yourself when the whole thing is said and done and the cycle repeats itself all over again.
You fear you don’t have what it takes, and every time you allow yourself to be used or taken advantage of you confirm that fear for yourself. Things are only going to get worse until you finally tell the world you’ve had enough and stop accepting whatever circus peanuts people pass out to you. Trust me. Circus peanuts aren’t good for you anyway.
Stop saying “yes” to what you don’t want. You have to say “no” to those things you don’t want otherwise there won’t be room in your life when what you do want comes along. Trust that the things you want will come into your life as soon as you make room for them to be there.
Not Getting Paid What You’re Worth
For some of you, you aren’t getting paid at all. Others of us aren’t getting paid enough. It’s not the fault of the person who underpays us. It’s our fault for lacking the confidence to demand what we’re worth.
Your work is valuable. Not everyone can do what you do. Some people like to say that a million monkeys typing on a million typewriters over the course of a million years could produce Shakespeare, but that’s because they have no clue what it takes to write something that grabs the hearts and minds of an audience. They have no idea the effort that goes into every word you choose and every pause you insert into your writing.
If someone wants you to write for them, or wants to buy your book, make them pay you what it’s worth. Don’t accept less. Don’t give it away unless you specifically want to do it, not because you are desperate for attention, recognition, or because you’re afraid you won’t get anything if you don’t take this one. Make sure whatever bargain you strike for your services is a win for you AND a win for them.
The Beginning of Our Quest for Confidence
This post is just the beginning of our quest for confidence. I hope you’ll join me each Monday as I discuss confidence and help you work on building yours.
Join 40 Day Writers Facebook Group
If you would like to start putting your work out there and developing the confidence you need, I encourage you to join the 40 Day Writers Facebook Group. It’s free, it’s friendly, and your work will not be shared outside the group. You can get the feedback and support you need to start developing your confidence just by showing up, sharing what you have, and engaging with the other writers there.