1. Self-Empower your Belief
We grow up with these preconceived notions that we are not good enough in life.
If I may, I would like to ask you the following questions. As you read, take time to answer and pay close attention to your internal dialogue:
- Are you great enough to become the CEO of your company?
- Are you worthy enough to lead and build a lucrative business or businesses?
- Are you intelligent, creative and possess the necessary skill sets to achieve any extraordinary goal?
What came up for you as those questions were asked? I ask this because, self-reflection is the ability to take a good look at yourself and develop internal curiosity. Did you by chance experience hesitation, apprehension or self-limiting beliefs?
Why or why not?
Most people have deep rooted internal beliefs that do not allow them to move forward and in your case, this needs to be changed.
As a woman entrepreneur who is trying to develop leadership skills the one thing you must master before you proceed with establishing your business is your mindset. You must convince yourself first that you are worthy of building your business. Once you have established a strong belief system then you can proceed by promoting your product or service to the world with assertiveness and confidence.
A strong belief system will help you take control of those self-limiting factors.
If you don’t, I promise you they will present themselves in other areas of your life.
Why am I pointing this out? Well, this is important and I hope you are taking notes.
Your beliefs impact your habits, and your habits will determine your action, and your actions ultimately dictate if you will be successful or not. So you see where I am going with this?
- Start with your BELIEF
- Then self-discipline your HABITS
- They determine your ACTION
- And this will determine SUCCESS or SABOTAGE
This is just a recommendation, but I would start with strengthening your BELIEF. Negative beliefs keep you small. They make you doubt yourself and you have to be careful because they can easily camouflage themselves as laziness, procrastination, and fear.
Positive beliefs on the other hand, help you transform your body, reinforce your self-worth, and catapult you into achieving extraordinary success.
When I joined the Marine Corps in 1993, (I know what you are thinking, but Sandra that’s impossible you look like you’re 28 years old!) let’s just say I have a little experience.
My first duty station was Twenty-nine Palms, California. Upon checking in, I knew I was off to a bad start when they were disappointed because they were expecting a male Ponce (this was my maiden name).
By the way, fun fact about the United States Marine Corps (USMC), no one knows you by your first name. They know you by your rank and last name. So here was Private First Class (PFC) Ponce, who had just checked into 7th Marine Regiment aboard Twentynine Palms, California.
This regiment is a hard core organization within the USMC, that prides itself on courage and discipline. It aggressively prepares infantry battalions for deployment. I was clearly in the wrong place as I did not possess the physical characteristics of a man and to my dismay, they were already pointing this out.
The great thing about the Marine Corps, is that you do what you can, with what you have, and you make it happen. So I soon realized that I would permanently stay there to fulfill my job requirement and train with the the fiercest warfighters in the USMC.
I was in for a rude awakening, and let’s just say my belief system shifted. Why do I say this? Well I would either get devoured by wolves or I would LEARN to train with the best and become ferocious in combat. You only have two options.
Which one did I choose?
I self-empowered myself with a different belief system. And no, this wasn’t achieved overnight. To be honest, I would cry every night but I made a promise to myself, that NO ONE would break me.
This mindset takes practice, and it’s something you must practice for the rest of your life.
Even though I didn’t possess the physical characteristics of a man, I knew I would have to develop masculine traits. Masculine traits that would help me survive.
I had to cultivate fierce competitiveness, aggressiveness, decisiveness, and courage. Moreover, I had to build a different type of confidence. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but these men with brute like qualities have a different type of confidence. It’s a self-confidence where you don’t ask anybody for their approval.
I had so many challenges working against me, not only was I not a man, but….
I was small in stature, and I was a latina.
So in their eyes I was incapable of executing any assignment because I was a hispanic woman with a small frame. But let me tell you…..this did not stop me!
Why am I sharing this with you? Well because uncomfortable situations or circumstances will DEMAND more from you.
As a young Marine, I knew that in order to survive this arduous environment, surrounded by wolves, I had to self-empower my personal belief. Even though I did not meet the physical qualifications of the infantry, I BELIEVED I could do the job and give it my absolute best.
So what did I do? I had to CONVINCE myself first that I was capable of training with the best warfighters in the Marine Corps.
Your self-belief is the first thing you must master before moving forward to the next step. After I started believing in myself, I saw how everything shifted.
When you acknowledge who you are and understand what you are capable of, something remarkable happens. You find peace and power within yourself. This is POWERFUL because your external circumstances will reflect that internal belief.
Let’s just say, my personal belief enabled me to build a strong reputation based on hard work, respect and integrity.
2. Set the Example
As you internally shift your self-belief you must also practice setting the example. As a woman entrepreneur, you can’t be a hypocrite. Your personal life is intertwined with your professional life. And what does this equate to?
Real leadership means doing the RIGHT thing when no one is watching. It’s holding yourself accountable and expecting higher expectations from yourself. Your self-image in business is everything. How do you act? What clothes do you wear? How do you treat people? Do you treat people with respect and appreciate your loved ones?
Even though I was training with wolves, I do believe I learned from the best.
Our boss, was this fierce, strategic, calm, intelligent man who had mastered the art of persuasion. He was our Commanding Officer and even though he was double my age, I was intrigued with this man. No, not in the way you think, I was enamored in how he carried himself. He was a true gentleman, with credibility, wisdom and knew how to establish a human connection.
Oh, and by the way, you might know him? His name is James N. Mattis. He is our Secretary of Defense.
He was our boss and guess who got to clean his office? Me! As a young Marine, I took pride in cleaning his office because I silently loved and respected him. I knew he would take care of me even though I was surrounded by wolves. When I would go to his office, he would greet me with a smile and say, “Good morning Miss!” His interactions with senior and junior Marines was the same. But later when I became an Officer, I realized he would treat his officers to a higher standard. He was disciplined, diplomatic, assertive and humble.
I will be honest, one of the things I dreaded the most was these long, extended hikes.
Fun fact, conditioning hikes are used for physical training because they mentally, physically, and emotionally prepare your body for pain. You carry a 75 pound pack on your back and it’s a 12-20 mile stroll through the woods. I personally did not like this type of training because I had flat feet, and every step felt like your feet, legs and bones were on fire!
I did my best and stayed with the formation of Marines. But one day, we faced a steep hill and guess who was leading the pace? Colonel Mattis of course, and he was the oldest Marine in our unit. He was physically fit, and on this particular day we had to charge the hill. Even though I was jogging throughout the entire hike, the hill was monumental and I moved to the side because I couldn’t keep up.
When you can’t keep up, you must move to the side because it’s like an accordion effect and when you can’t keep up, you screw the person behind you.(insert sad face)
Well somehow Colonel Mattis witnessed this and even though he was leading the pace, he dropped out of formation to help me with my Alice Pack (the backpack that has the majority of weight). When that happened, I made a solemn vow to myself, and decided I would not drop out of any other hike. I would pass out before I tapped out (give up).
In the brief timeframe I had with this man, I learned a great deal about discipline, leadership, and how to set the example.
So what are you doing to physically strengthen your body and mentally prepare yourself for the rigors of entrepreneurship? Stay committed and set the example in your personal life and professional endeavors.
Start acting like the CEO you envision yourself to be and treat people with love, compassion, and respect.
3. Self-Discipline one Skill-Set
Colonel Mattis who by the way retired as a General, was setting the example. He was teaching me how to become a lethal weapon.
You must do the same. “Can I get an AMEN?”
Become a lethal force by disciplining yourself every single day. Self-mastery is having the ability to mentally, emotionally, and physically prepare yourself for fear, setbacks, and uncertainty.
This is going to sound a bit creepy but I would stare at him and I would study his mannerisms, and demeanor. He was the professional mentor I always wanted. He was so disciplined when it came to reading.
I would quietly clean his office because I did not want to disrupt my boss. He was a ferocious reader, and I remember thinking, “What is in those books?” At 18 years of age, I went straight to the Marine Corps so no one explained to me the importance of educating your mind in the manner that he did. He did not have to tell me, he showed me through his exemplary leadership.
Marines are respected throughout the world because of his leadership.
Marines engage their brain before they engage their weapon.
A lethal force inherently knows that you that you must WIN the hearts and the minds of the people first. This is what he taught us, and his professionalism left an indelible mark in my heart.
So how is this applicable to you? Starting today, you must self-discipline and you need to build fundamental habits that will help you grow your business.
Build one “keystone habit” that will move the needle in your life and business. I call this a high-caliber habit has the propensity to create a ripple effect. It can transform your life and business. In my opinion, self-discipline is sexy because it gives you structure.
Like General Mattis, learn to respond to stress with calmness, focus and assertiveness. Great habits will affect your authority and ability to lead with confidence, courage and clarity.
So, which keystone habit will you choose?
4. Skillful Decisiveness
A high-caliber habit you can start cultivating now is the habit of being decisive. As you are building your business, you will have to make decisions quickly and sometimes under pressure.
Be aware of when you might be overthinking because ruminating will only deplete your willpower. Another fun fact, you only need 40-60% of the information in order to make an informed decision. If you make a wrong decision, simply bounce back and shift focus with the information received.
Open your eyes warrior, everything is moving at a rapid pace. You have procrastinated long enough wouldn’t you agree? If you don’t make a decision, life will make it for you. And this is the problem we see. People become a victim of life’s circumstances and their passion dissipates.
Think about what happens when you don’t take action? Procrastination rears it’s ugly head right? And why do we struggle in delaying, or avoiding important issues that matter to us? We procrastinate for several reasons and here are a few:
- A task might be too difficult
- A task might be too boring
- Fear of failure
- Fear of what others think
By the way, if you have something to offer this world, this lack of self-control needs to be addressed immediately. Why? Because if you don’t practice skillful decisiveness in your business you won’t cultivate emotional resiliency. And emotional resilience helps you strengthen mental toughness. Boom! Enough said.
5. Sharp Communication
Sharp communication requires you to be assertive, be articulate, and know when to be persuasive. Especially if you want to create a winning team. Be genuinely curious about your team members and the clients you wish to serve.
General Mattis knew how to treat me. I was one of three females at the regiment and he knew that I wanted to be respected, appreciated and praised. He applied assertive curiosity because he was in a position of leadership. Moreover, he was responsible and knew how to deal with people.
Sharp communication helps you understand your target audience and helps you grow your business. It’s a wonderful tool that helps you understand what people need and respect their opinion. My recommendation is this, NEVER argue, instead ask people to explain their position. You can agree, to disagree right? It’s not about being right, it’s about effective communication.
Practice sharp communication by making a great impression. Your ATTITUDE is everything! Your attitude as a speaker influences the listener so insert your personality and enthusiasm. When you do this it will help them lead to action. And if you are leading a team, pay attention to your attitude.
As a leader, try to be clear and brief with your communication. Our brains can only receive a specific amount of information. Don’t be monotone and boring, BE YOU!
Here is the secret weapon to communication. Are you ready for it?
Attentive listening helps you strengthen sharp communication skills. Do you have these skills? As an entrepreneur, these skills will come in handy and you will enhance your knowledge about your target audience and your wellness by maintaining poise and patience.
Especially dealing with unhappy clientele. Look at it this way, they are people who need an opportunity to express their concern. Don’t go into a defensive posture; rather, you must listen attentively and learn from them because they will enhance your business. Even if they are frustrated with your product and services, strengthen your courage and LISTEN to what they have to say. Trust me you will gain power throughout this emotional exchange.
If you are still reading, I want to applaud you for your effort. Most people, are easily distracted. They don’t make time to read or look for the GOLD! If you have read the entire blog it says something unique about you.
You have an insatiable appetite for growth.
You are ready to take your life and business to the next step and you are the type of woman I want to work with. One that is ready to roll up her sleeves and get down to the nitty gritty.
If this is you, and you know there is a warrior within you, stop worrying and reach out to me. I would be honored to give you a complimentary consultation.
Schedule that free consultation, and strengthen that moral courage by commenting down below. Let me know which skill-set stood out for you.