An Article by Marlene Murray

Women in Business myth #143: I thought I was confident……. until I wasn’t!

Did you know 80% of Wedding Business owners are female?  We as women are notorious for holding ourselves back from success because of that ‘little voice’ inside our head that says “You are not good enough”.  We tell ourselves we are not good enough for no other reason than self-doubt.  In most cases this is without a shred of evidence……. Ladies !!! It’s not just OK to be confident – it’s the difference between those women that you see smashing it out of the park, and those that are just trying to survive.

Now, we all need a way of getting that ‘little voice’ to keep quiet and let us get on with being awesome.  You know what I use? …. ABBA!! Yes, this is sounding really weird, but how can you not smile, laugh, feel like a number one and go crazy positive when you are a ‘Super Trooper’? “Tonight the super trouper lights are gonna find me….Shining like the sun (sup-p-per troup-p-per)”….Ok, maybe I was getting a little ahead of myself, but most people will agree that a good anthem or girl power tune will get you in the right headspace!  Now, let’s get serious……

Success relies almost entirely on confidence.  The self-belief to achieve whatever you set your mind to; confidence is the by-product of achievement.  When you meet a successful person, you can guarantee they have been on a journey that has been significantly enhanced by their level of personal confidence.

That’s not to say these people don’t doubt themselves!  I can categorically say that I have been there many times.  I especially remember those moments in the dark of night wondering “How am I going to make this work?” “Can I keep all these balls in the air?”  “Will my efforts be good enough?”  It can really bring out the cold sweats!  Not to mention the prospect of looking stupid if things don’t work out!!  Running an 8-time national award-winning venue, I have learnt a thing or two about the value that confidence brings. When trying to come up with the next new thing or making sure the bookings pipeline was full, it always hinged on whether or not I felt absolutely confident to pull it off.

In a nut shell confidence is not something you have to begin with, it’s something you gain. When I started our regions first ever Wedding Showcase, it was terrifying to say the least.  But we believed in what we were doing and we had a plan. This was so important. Using the resources around us, we were able to create an incredible experience for couples and as a result had an incredible turnout. That experience gave me the confidence to run it again the next year, and the next year. Guess what? It only got bigger and better every time.

So what helped to make it a success?

I looked at what skills I could bring to the table.  Even though I had no experience in running a showcase, I had a very valuable ‘bag of tricks’ up my sleeve that I’d been packing thanks to good old life experience.  Everything from talking to customers, planning an event, even being a mother and a wife – these were all very valuable attributes that I could draw upon.  So many women underestimate themselves and the value of the experiences they’ve lived through . It’s like they completely forget they’ve ever achieved anything before this! Don’t sell yourself short – make sure you delve into your ‘bag of tricks’ first before you start thinking you know nothing!

I researched what my customer needed and what could I do to enhance their experience…..then I worked like crazy to make it happen!  So many businesses flounder because they haven’t spent the time and energy researching exactly what they need to deliver to make their customer happy.  Have you ever heard the term “knowledge is power”? Uncertainty is a breeder of self-doubt and combined with a lack of preparation leads to failure.  So make sure you give yourself the best opportunity to set the conditions for success and put in the hard yards up front!

I didn’t bite off more than I could chew.  How do you eat an Elephant?  One bite at a time.  Sure, you can try and devour that thing in one go!  But, if you’re working on building your portfolio of wins and achievements to put in your ‘Confidence Bank’… then make them …you guessed it …achievable!  The confidence gained through little wins actually accumulates over time and when you look back on your ‘Scoreboard’ of achievements, it creates the perfect foundation for you to undertake bigger and better projects.

I got a whole lot of smart people involved around me.  Too many business owners try to go it alone, which can lead to overwhelm. So, tip for newcomers – get a team around you, a group of like-minded people, who will help keep the motivation levels high and drown out that annoying little voice chattering away with negative thoughts.  Get a journey buddy or five who will be there to support you. Gaining confidence and validation from others, in the same industry is very uplifting and can be very rewarding, particularly if you are all on the same path.

With that, don’t be afraid to ask for help from people who have been there and done that! Get a Mentor.  Having professional guidance does wonders for your confidence.  It’s like having a guardian angel.  At the end of the day confidence is a commodity.  It takes time to build, but it can be taken away in an instant.  Believe in yourself and focus on realistic targets. Bigger and better things are just around the corner and with a healthy dose of confidence I guarantee you will find them easier to achieve.

Be kind to yourself.  I can guarantee that you are judging yourself a lot harder than others are.  Marls xx


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