How can self-Esteem affect my business?
As women business owners we need to take steps to be sure we are in the right place in life as well as our team members. Check the following and be sure that they do not apply to you or your team members.
- My looks dictate how I feel about myself. (IE weight, age, hair, makeup, etc)
- My marriage has failed, so I am a failure.
I am talked over when I am around my peers. (People interrupt me regularly or finish my sentences)
- I walk with my head down
- I apologize for everything including things that others do.
- I am very irritable
- I don’t take criticism very well. I get defensive when someone tells me something I have done wrong, even if I don’t actually say anything
- I would rather just stay by myself
I come across individuals of all ages, backgrounds, social status, and environments but we all have one very strong problem in common; self-esteem. It seems that more and more people, mainly women, are having self-esteem issues these days. Now you ask, what does this have to do with business? This is a small business blog and you are talking about self-esteem? Believe it or not, self-esteem can make or break a business, employee relations, and or your interactions as well as those of your staff with customers.
As women business owners, how can you truly sell your business which is more often than not, selling yourself, if you are not confident in who you are and happy with who you are? How can your employees come across as friendly and helpful if they are living in sadness and self-doubt? These areas are places where too many business owners overlook. Keep your problems out of the workplace and leave them at home where they belong, right? Wrong. Have you ever met anyone who can do this successfully and remain healthy and happy? No. This does not work.
The items in the list above are strong signs that you or they have low self-esteem and you need to get it under control. If you see employees that fit this profile, you might want to help them find the main cause of the problem and help them through. This will bring their life happiness, bring you satisfaction in knowing you helped another individual, and help them become a more successful team member.
I fit this profile and/or my team member fits this profile. Now what?
How can self-esteem affect my business success?
Well, now you have to face the problem. If you keep burying your head in the sand, you will miss all the wonders in life as they pass by as well as success in your business.
No, it is not as easy as “Just get over it.” I hate it when I hear people say this. If they look at themselves, they will find that they have not been able to just get over their imperfections. They need to stop telling others to do the same. It takes baby steps and the first thing is to realize that this is a long, hard journey. I still have points in my life where I have to watch myself or I will fall into a low self-esteem trap. It has taken me 6 years since the point of my awareness of my low self-esteem to get to the confident point that I am today. It’s going to take a long time; it will be hard; and no one else can do it for you. So get ready.
Now, the first thing is that you have to love yourself. I don’t mean you have to fall in love with your image. I mean truly love who you are on the inside. Sit down and write out a list of your good traits. If you can’t think of any, think of someone you respect and admire. Write a few of their traits and realize that you will probably have those same traits in yourself somewhere. You are a loving person who really wants to help others (even if you haven’t done it yet), you are honest, you have good taste in clothes, you like puppies, anything that you can think of that is good. It doesn’t have to be a save-the-world trait, just something that you can say is a part of you. Once this is complete, appreciate these things. Know that it is good to be you and start there.
Next, know that you can do it all on your own. I am a Christian and feel that Christ is the one that brings all good to me, but He has shown me that I can do everything in this world without NEEDING someone else. I appreciate help and will take it when offered, but I don’t have to have my husband to breath in and out every day. I learned this after my divorce. Find yourself and know that you can! I adore my husband and know that I would be a basket-case if anything happened to him, BUT I know that I could continue running my business and caring for my children if something happened. This gives me confidence when I approach a possible client. I know I can and it comes through.
Know you are smart. If you were dumb, you would not be reading this blog. You are intelligent, resourceful, and can do what it placed in front of you. You have to have this confidence and when you do, it is respected and demands attention.
Walk with your head up and smile whenever appropriate. I had a lady come to me one time and tell me that she really wished she could be as confident as I was. I asked her why she thought that I was confident and she said “Because you walk with your head high, looking everyone in the eye.” Ever since then I have made sure that I do this. Why would you trust your business to someone when they can’t look you in the eye? You want to be sure they know what they are doing and will not let you down. Be sure you focus on others and present yourself to the world as happy and certain.
Listen. Be sure to listen to others. Don’t speak unless necessary. Most people like to talk about themselves. Let them. I have received more clients just because I let them tell me their life story. They feel comfortable with me and tell me that they feel like they could tell me anything. This allows them to feel a trust for you that you might not have even earned yet. What a wonderful place to start a business relationship. Listen, listen, listen. And this does not just mean to your customers, but to your team members. If a team member is down and you ask how they are, please listen. If they mumble “Ok” walking past you staring at the floor, stop them and tell them you are listening. You would be surprised that many times an ear was all they needed that day.
I don’t want to be a counselor. I have a business to run. Guess what? When you are a woman business owner and you have team members, sometimes you have to be everything…mom, counselor, principal, sheriff, friend, and critic. To this I say, get over it or just be happy in an unhappy environment. It’s just a part of your position and if you don’t like it, work for someone else rather than owning a business.
Again, self-esteem issues can make or break a work place.
Listen, love yourself (just not too much), and care and you will be on the road to your business success and the best place to work in your community.
About the Author
Mindy is the Owner and CFO of Carter Services Plus, a full service Accounting Firm based in Shreveport, La. She has over 15 years experience in accounts and frequently helps new small business owners start-up and manage their companies.
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