The Real Way to Build Confidence
Over the last 30+ years, I’ve learned that one of the best things about being self-employed is that your business can take care of you — and I mean literally.
Unfortunately, so many of us, especially women, do not take good care of ourselves.
It's through no fault of our own. We simply haven’t been taught how to take good care of ourselves.
So that is the mission I’m on.
One of the ways I do this is by teaching copywriters how to use your business as a laboratory for your own personal growth. That means to experiment, to try out new things (without wasting time worrying about mistakes), and to practice, practice, practice.
What you learn will make you better at business, of course. But it will also necessarily ripple out into the rest of your life and make you a better, stronger, and more confident person.
But it’s up to you to learn.
To be clear, this isn’t about growing big or fast.
It’s about growing slowly and intentionally, giving yourself the grace and the space to learn what needs to be learned.
Of course, it must start with the right mindset and that mindset sounds like this:
“I'm going to try everything and see what works. I'm going to say to myself, ‘Let me test this and see what happens. Then I’ll experiment with that and see what happens.’ And I will learn from every single experience — especially the mistakes.”
That’s how you will build confidence. (The confidence doesn’t come first — ever.)
Here’s one of the ways this has happened for me over the years.
I was a waiter.
Not the kind in a restaurant — although I did that too, and loved it!
What I mean is that I used to be very passive.
I would sit around waiting for things to happen, for people to find me and offer me projects and opportunities. (This is sometimes called “word-of-mouth”!)
It took me a while to realize that I didn’t have to wait, that I could pursue what I was interested in and say “no, thank you” if I didn’t have a good feeling about things that came along.
I was too busy waiting to realize that, all along, the ball was in my court.
Like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, it was always up to me to decide what to do and, more important, who I want to be.
You see, the problem with passivity is that it creates space for anxiety.
When you’re waiting, you’re doing nothing, and that’s when anxiety creeps in. Before you know it, you’re paralyzed by inaction.
Of course I was afraid when I didn't know what to do. How did I know what would work?
Of course I was afraid of doing the wrong thing when I didn't know what the right thing was.
That fear is deadly because it engenders anxiety, which is toxic and it zaps any confidence you may have ever had in your life!
For me, it’s taken several years, but thanks to my own teacher showing me how to use my business as a laboratory for my growth, I can confidently say I am now anything but passive!
However, this is still something I have to pay attention to, because if I’m not careful, I find myself waiting for people to call me back.
That’s when I remind myself that the ball is always in my court. Just because I sent an email doesn't mean I should wait for the other person to reply. I need to always have a plan for what to do if they don’t respond. I need to know, “What will I do next?”
So here’s the simple lesson I want to pass on to you today: Action is the antidote to anxiety.
Passivity is inaction. Worries fill that vacuum. “What if no one comes? What if no one hires me? What if they don’t like what I do? What if, what if, what if?”
You see, when you're trying out a new copywriting skill or practicing a new marketing tactic, then you're not waiting for things to happen. Therefore, anxiety has no space to exist.
When you're just doing things, you're making less room for that commotion to fill your head. You're refusing to allow it any space in your mind.
Plus, in the meantime, you’re getting things done and necessarily learning from it all!
Although I’m no psychologist, I have a feeling that’s how it works. It’s what I’ve seen in myself and in my work with new copywriters over the past many years.
I believe this is a choice we all can make.
If you begin to think this way, little by little, baby step by baby step, you will find what actually works for you — whether in the actual copywriting or the marketing of your business — and you will get stronger with each step.
Very soon, your business will be taking care of you.
Do you have any questions about launching your writing career? Share with us in the comments so we can help.
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Hi. While I appreciate all the helpful advise, the problem that I have cannot be fixed. I'm a published writer with a decent portfolio. However, none of that matters when potential clients already have an entire team of staff writers with multiple degrees. I only have a few certifications. Small companies don't have the budget to hire me, either. Help. Thanks.
Guest (Terri Yochum) –