Why you aren’t getting what you need done at work?


Action = Confidence = Action = Confidence …

The cycle of confidence driving action and blocks to action lowering confidence is so true in every aspect of life. So, it should be no surprise it’s also incredibly true in making things happen in business. After all whether you are an employee or an owner, the business you’re in is a big part of your life. So what happens in your life will have an impact on your business and what happens in your work day will have an impact in your home or inside yourself.

If something happens to you that erodes your confidence in something, anything! A broken relationship may erode your confidence in your ability to connect with people. This will undermine your confidence to connect with clients (prospective or otherwise), this will likely impact your ability to make sales. If your business, your role or your function is struggling the emotions of not being as successful as you convinced yourself you should be will influence your ability to be fully present in your life outside work which will prevent a feeling of being fulfilled in your life and will undermine your confidence to tackle the struggles of life.

One of the biggest and first casualties is your confidence to take action!

No wonder something like only 4% of all initiatives in business are ever implemented to completion!

Seriously! That is what the statistics say.

Don’t believe me?

Think about it for a second…

How many times have you gone to a conference, read a book, met with a mentor, we’re inspired by a successful peer, (and so on…) and never quite got started on that thing that moved you? Let alone taking it to completion! Why? Well, there are plenty of excuses. Yes, excuses! Don’t kid yourself otherwise. I don’t have time. It’s not my first priority right now, if only I had a champion, I don’t have the money. Just to name a few. But!!

Underlying all of these excuses is actually just low confidence. Sometimes expressed as a fear ( False Expectations Appearing Real); fear of success, fear of failure, fear of being made a fool, fear of being worthy, fear of being found out, fear of not fitting in. There are just so many! So what happens when low confidence kicks in?

We stop taking action! We second guess ourselves. We undermine our own confidence in our own abilities and we hesitate, procrastinate or stop all together.

Sometimes we push this feeling away and assign blame on others around us. “He’s not pulling his weight!”, “she just doesn’t get it!”, “what an a**hole!”

Sometimes we stop taking action in the area(s) we need to and go work on the things we do feel confident in. “I’ll clean my desk now and work on my strategy later”. “I’ll go for lunch with Sue today so I can get inspired, then I’ll get back to it… only to never get your brain back in gear.” Ultimately, we are convincing ourselves we don’t have the confidence to say no to other things, to be resilient in the moment and stay focused on what is really important.


When you look at the diagram, it’s truly a living cycle spiraling outward or inward. At every transition between confidence and action is a “permeable barrier”. This “barrier” is under our mental control. We can choose to let it block us, or we can choose to be resilient. But, we as busy, and let’s be honest, lazy, people, we will defaults to the easiest path and that is usually to unconsciously accept the block and acquiesce to not internal discourse that prevents us from generating results, or actions, we actually want. Without conscious effort, this has the negative impact of eroding our own confidence. Do enough of this overtime and we will have to contend with low self-esteem, low productivity and of course low confidence.

What to do…

The first step is to be self-aware enough to recognize that you are that’s a decision point where you can either succumb to your fears, anxieties, insecurities, and doubt or you can choose to be resilient, confident, self-assured, and goal oriented. As soon as you bring this decision to the conscious forefront you choose the path you will take and you choose your own ultimate outcome.

Be honest with yourself, which path will you choose the next time you encounter this decision? Is it the choice you really want to make?

Let’s be realistic

Can you order statues to take action, or be confident at every decision point? Probably not. What this whole thing comes down to is priorities. I called them strategic actions.

Strategic action

A strategic action is an action that will get you to where you want to go. Not all actions will do this. For example, consider a road trip. If you get in your car and start driving, that is an action. Getting your car properly prepared and then driving in the direction you need to go is a strategic action. Just driving does not mean you are headed in the right direction, your car is ready, the fuel tank is full or you even have a driver’s license. Driving, therefore, is an action, but it won’t necessarily get you to where you want to go.

Consider what the implications might be to your confidence in this road trip example. Will going in the wrong direction, burning time and money, build your confidence or erode it? What will happen to your confidence when you arrive intended destination because you intentionally prepared yourself, established a route then followed the directions you decided on?

Now consider a business example…

writing a business plan.

The typical and common blocks to thinking about, creating, researching and ultimately writing a business plan include:

  • No time

  • Don’t know where to start

  • Ran out of steam/got busy

  • Scary blank page

  • Doubt (such as, what if I learn my business isn’t viable?)

  • Just Want to get going (take action)

  • So many more…

Yet something like 75% of business owners will say they have one. Of that 75%, 50% will be able to prove they’ve researched and have solid knowledge about the needs of their business, 25% will be able to show that research and only between 5-10% will be able to show their full plan. Even less will show they review it and make strategic adjustments at least annually.

What is the underlying reason? Mostly lack of confidence.

Let’s consider this statement. A blank page and not knowing where to start can cause hesitation. Hesitation is the child of low confidence. You might know your business intimately and be very confident about it but the hesitation speaks to having low confidence about writing, certain facts, or perhaps just knowing how to organize or capture your thoughts.

Having no time or being too busy speaks to not knowing (possibly) what your priorities are. Possibly it’s because you don’t have a team or don’t trust your team to carry out their duties so you have the time. Either way it speaks to your confidence. Confidence to hire a team or your confidence in their abilities, getting it done right or doing what you need done.

No matter what, this lack of, or lowered, confidence has the impact of blocking action, either fully or partially. The business either doesn’t get started or doesn’t get completed.

What actions in your business life are being blocked by lowered confidence? What areas of confidence are you going to build up intentionally? I’d love to hear. Let me know.

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