The business world is filled with stiff competition and constant challenges, providing difficult goals to achieve in the form of monthly quotas, as well as plenty of rivals from the other companies in your field. With new technology entering the market and demographics changing across the board, a bad investment or misguided campaign can lead to bankruptcy, leaving entrepreneurs terrified of making mistakes. For many people, the stress of just staying afloat can be incredibly taxing, but they continue to push themselves forward in the hopes of tasting sweet success.
They look up to those standing at the tops of their respective industries with jealous eyes, wondering what it must be like to enjoy such an established and powerful perch, wishing that someday they too could savor what must be a carefree and comfortable position.
Little do they realize just how precariously their idols are balancing.
Indeed, while successful individuals often do and should enjoy the fruits of their labors, in truth, these people are just as concerned as those still making the climb. Sometimes even more so.
They may be enjoying success at the moment, but they must be vigilant if they wish to maintain it. They are no less susceptible to making costly mistakes than any other entrepreneur, the main difference being they stand more to lose. The more employees a person has working for them, the more their decisions matter, and the pressure of knowing so many livelihoods rely on business decisions paying off can take its toll on the people making those decisions. Yet they must continue forward, doing their best to not only preserve the status they’ve achieved for themselves but also the careers they’ve created for the people who help make it possible.
With all this stress and struggle to contend with, it’s all too common for business people to be questioned along the way. Rivals will of course try to position themselves as using superior methods or higher quality materials in order to secure more customers than their competitors, this is only natural. But when coworkers start doubting one another, this can shake even the steadiest of resolves. When those who answer to you or those you answer to seemingly lack faith in your abilities, every action you take carries an extra layer of anxiety to it.
The real trouble, however, is when people start to question themselves.
While women tend to face this more than men, the fact remains that a multitude of people suffer from Imposter Syndrome, expressing an unhealthy amount of doubt on their own abilities. Prisoners of their own minds, they are incapable of recognizing the validity of their accomplishments or experience, convincing themselves instead that they have stumbled their way through their careers and that it will all come crashing down at any moment. A lack of self-confidence can hold people back from achieving their true potential, though as figures like Elizabeth Holmes and Billy McFarland have shown us, too much self-confidence can blind otherwise smart business people into undertaking foolish and impossible actions.
As with all things in life, the safest place lies in moderation.
Rather than convincing yourself that nothing you do is correct and that you’re doomed to fail, instead of believing your own hype and presuming you’ll always succeed, your career and your health will benefit most from finding a balanced perspective.
It’s certainly helped me come a long way.
Just the other weekend, I attended the Social Media Marketing World 2019 conference, a massive gathering of professionals from the largest of platforms to the smallest of startups. Established speakers met and mingled with inexperienced entrepreneurs, sharing their views and tips on everything from social media development to marketing and advertising trends, throwing around the lessons, tactics, and innovations they’d discovered along the way.
Now, while I consider myself an accomplished business woman with a healthy knowledge of social media marketing, by no means do I rest on my laurels and assume I have all the answers. On the contrary, I adore attending meetings like these, as it gives me the chance to not only build connections with potential partners and clients, but it affirms that the issues and struggles my business encounters are shared by others as well. Recognizing that we’re all vulnerable, that even people I look up to have ideas that don’t pay off, is very uplifting. At the same time, learning that others have found solutions more creative or pragmatic than my own is very grounding, it reminds me that there is so much more room for me to grow, so many directions my companies can explore, so many more goals my projects can achieve.
Having too little or too much self-confidence is toxic for yourself and your work, so use events like the conference I attended as a way to detox. By purging preconceived notions out of your system and revitalizing yourself with solutions and perspectives you wouldn’t have come across on your own, you can disrupt complacent routines that were preventing you from reaching your goals. In addition, take stock of the lessons you learn so that you can best apply the newfound knowledge. Write down bullet points when you’re inspired in the moment, such as listening to lectures or watching videos, then come back after you have taken the time to think them over so you can carefully develop a plan of action based on those notes. Finally, be sure to give as much as you receive. Others are sharing what they’ve learned with you, so it’s polite and professional to return the gesture, otherwise these sorts of conferences would be pointless. Talk to as many people as you can, build bonds and pursue connections wherever possible, and don’t just wait around expecting results will just come to you. This isn’t school, no one’s going to hold your hand, you have to put in the work.
You don’t have to reinvent yourself every time you learn something new, but so long as you’re willing to incorporate innovative strategies and adjust traditional methods, you’ll find that breaking the mold can create some amazing results for your career.