In his insightful book Before You Quit Your Job, (Warner Business Books, 2005), accomplished author and entrepreneur Robert Kiyosaki states, "The fear of failing is the primary reason why so many people do not succeed in life or are not as successful as they would like to be." Human potential guru Anthony Robbins describes personal "wealth wounds" as the negative inner beliefs that many people have about money and one's worthiness of it. Spiritual educator Dr. Wayne Dyer explains that when it comes to personal success "you'll see it when you believe it" rather than the reverse of this common dictum. The late Mary Kay Ashe's "fake it 'til you make it!" mantra encourages the doubtful to forge ahead until competence and confidence finally join up in fruitful harmony. And the great movie mogul Louis B. Mayer lived by this credo: never be discouraged!
Successful entrepreneurs and career professionals routinely note that overcoming self-doubt and fear is one of the greatest challenges and benefits in their quest to achieve. Do you recognize this obstacle in your own career development? Let's look at some examples from our spa and esthetic colleagues to see how they overcame confidence hurdles and grew into personal and industry successes.
Nina Mrakuzic, Esthetician, Owner/La Therapie Day Spa, Cary, NC
Transitioning from a role as a practicing esthetician working for a day spa to the owner and manager of my own spa was a huge leap for me. I knew that I wasn't a so-called businesswoman yet and didn't know how I was going to handle all of the responsibilities of day-to-day management—a pretty frightening situation for someone about to risk a lot of time and money on a new venture! Help came from my husband who has a business background, and from hiring a spa business consultant. They set up systems and management tools that I badly needed for the spa to succeed but couldn't create alone. Funny thing is that the consultant I hired was also a consultant with the last spa for which I'd worked as an employee. I was so annoyed with the changes he was introducing there that I decided to quit and go out on my own. A year later guess who I hired to help me with mine?
Aleks Vranicic, Esthetician, Spa Director, Yelka Day Spa, Los Altos, CA
I was pretty much thrown into my career, helping my esthetician mother to manage a business I knew almost nothing about. And while Mom was useful in introducing me to this industry, it was a little hard (frustrating, actually) to be coached by her, particularly later when I wanted to make changes in the business that she didn't like. I met a spa business mentor who encouraged me to go to beauty school and get an esthetician's license so I'd have some working knowledge and credibility in the services we sold at the spa. That was a BIG struggle for me as, having long been a soccer coach, the idea of beauty school wasn't exactly fitting with my self-image, and I was worried about what my friends would think! But, being a guy that likes a challenge, I went to school, found that I loved the experience, and then went on to try the things my mentor had suggested. To my surprise everything seemed to click. What was particularly helpful was discover that clients appreciated my communication and hospitality skills more than my technical abilities—a good thing, too, since I had so little hands-on experience! Trial and error— and not quitting—really saved the day for me. Now I have a facial that sells for $795 and have had a few $2,000.00 revenue days in my first year of practice! This is a great profession for a former macho guy.
Gabi Meise, Esthetician, Owner, Gabi Meise Skin Studio, West Hollywood, CA
I've always been a fairly confident person, and believe in my strengths and ability to overcome things that look like they might pose a problem for me. But, one day, I took a spa management business course where the instructor began to test our individual confidence levels when it came to making money. He asked me how much I charged for my facial services, and I proudly announced "$150.00 minimum per treatment." Imagine my annoyance when he laughed and called me a loser right in front of the entire class! I was really angry and told him that I was not a loser, that I was very good at what I did and my many loyal customers proved it. Then the instructor asked me just how good I thought I was. I told him that I was very good, the best. He said, "If you're the best, why don't you charge $200.00 per treatment?" That question startled me and made me feel defensive. I rattled off something about wanting to be fair price-wise but he countered by saying that if I wanted to be fair why didn't I charge $75.00 per treatment so that less privileged customers could afford my treatment, too? Now I was really irritated but also knew that, in some way, he had me. The instructor then calmed me down by saying that he didn't mean to be offensive but wanted to illustrate how people arbitrarily assign value to what they do rather than understanding what the market will, in fact, actually pay for top services. He then invited some of us to join him after class for further discussions on the subject. When we met he told me that he had reconsidered his price challenge, and now agreed that $150.00 was all I could get for my services so I had better keep them where they were. That did it! I told him that I was going back to my studio and raising my prices to $200.00 immediately. I'd show him who wasn't worth it! Then he winked at us and congratulated me. And you know what, while I was terribly nervous about that increase, I never lost a single client because of it and have made a lot more money performing the same work. The guy was right and I'll never need that lesson again.
The message appears to be clear: recognize your doubts and fears, seek some professional business help or the assistance of a volunteer mentor, and take a leap of faith. Our fears are often more potent when imagined than realized, and hindsight leaves the successful professional grateful that they didn't succumb to doubt. A reporter once asked a 105 year-old man what the secret was to his long life; "The secret is that I haven't died yet!" he replied. So, what's the secret to overcoming fear and succeeding in life? Never giving up! Fear and doubt are ideas that only seem like locked gates—everything beyond is pure potential and opportunity! Good luck to you.