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Shout It Out

Be proud of your success--and fearless in speaking up about it.

We entrepreneurs are heroes in many people's eyes--achieving goals no matter the circumstances. They see us as fearless and willing to take unusual and repeated actions to achieve our dreams. People respect the drive, determination and personal power necessary to turn our dreams into reality.

Successful entrepreneurs must combine two different drives: an interactive, public one designed to draw people to our ideas, and an equally powerful private one that keeps our dreams ignited. Often, these drives are at odds with each other, causing us to be critical of ourselves and lowering our self-esteem. They can create a feeling that we shouldn't "sing our own praises," fearing that if we do, others may misinterpret it as boasting.

Feelings and actions are intertwined. To be fearless when discussing your business with others, you need to spend time internally embracing and congratulating yourself for what you have already accomplished. Give your self-esteem a shot in the arm, and increase your personal power with these tips:

1. Be true to yourself. Passion and action have grounded you, creating a solid foundation for all your business encounters. Build your reputation and self-esteem by listing all your accomplishments, large and small, and the obstacles you had to overcome to reach them. Use this list to affirm your positive qualities and acknowledge your success.

2. Identify possibility in every conversation. Communication is the key to enabling people to connect with your goals and, consequently, provide you with specific resources and contacts. Instead of closing doors on amazing opportunities, gain the confidence to tell others about your business by converting your list of accomplishments into persuasive dialogue. Do not try to convince others of your success; simply focus on how your customers benefit from you. Speaking positively energizes your soul and conquers self-doubt. It opens people's minds to opportunities and gives them reasons to refer business to you.

3. Be specific when you answer questions. If you don't speak about your goals, no one will help you achieve success. Less is more--tell people what they need to know by only answering the questions they ask. Embellishing on a topic can make you seem nervous and needy. If anyone wants more information, they will ask follow-up questions. Increase your "conversational confidence" by developing specific answers to the questions most frequently asked by your colleagues.

4. Trust your instincts. You make the best decisions you can with the information you currently possess. Don't fall into the trap of "I could have done that differently or better." Gain personal power by acknowledging that you are continually learning and moving forward toward your goals. You don't need to immediately have all the answers--just have the self-confidence to know you are capable of finding them.

At the end of each day, review your progress. Reflect on and appraise your accomplishments; it helps you prepare for your next endeavor. When you learn to speak self-assuredly about your abilities and accomplishments, others will start to spread your good news.


Speaker and consultant Romanus Wolter, aka "The Kick Start Guy," is author of Kick Start Your Dream Business.

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This article was originally published in the September 2005 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Shout It Out.

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