Thank you for joining the project!
Now that you’ve registered, the next step is following us on Instagram (@explorewhatworks).
Each day, we’ll post an excerpt from that day’s story with a prompt to share your own reflections or stories.
We encourage you to open up, share your experience, and engage with others following this project. We believe that candid conversations–especially about topics like insecurity, confidence, and mindset–go a long way towards leveling up our businesses.
Founder & Host of What Works
Candid Confidence Project Archive
I might seem confident in myself and my business… I’ve been learning that my confidence is based on something completely out of my control. I share my story to kick off The Candid Confidence Project!
“My inability to get my business to where I thought it would be by the end of the first year–or the second, or the third–had eroded my confidence and whatever bravado I had started with.
Long gone was the ‘Of course, I can do this.’ Replaced by, ‘Who am I kidding?'”
“As I went about handling the hard decisions that had to be made about clients, our services, and even our team, I realized I had a choice. I could let this happen to me and have it trash my confidence, or I could do what needed to be done to rebuild trust in myself and what the future held.
Here’s what I did to restore my confidence as I navigated this process.”
Jamie Varon made a big lifestyle change over the last few years and I wanted to know where she found the confidence to do life differently as a small business owner.
We talk about the year she spent living and working in France, how she’s redefined satisfaction for herself, and how she balances setting goals with finding peace in what already is. We also talk about the very real implications these changes have had on her business and professional success.
“Let me underscore this: Each segment of growth in my life and business has involved an element of being 100% sure that I’m going to break the thing that worked before. And, that I’m choosing to break it due to the audacity of striving.
As I’m writing this, we’re embarking on a brand expansion that I am absolutely certain will not only fail miserably but also take down my beloved empire.”
A couple of years ago, Michael Karsh and Elizabeth Madariaga started Edios Media to help thought leaders & educators create high-quality video education. I wanted to bring Michael back on the show to take a look at how his and Elizabeth’s mindset and confidence level has evolved as they’ve worked with giant clients like Google, Facebook, Salesforce, and The Sundance Institute.
“For me, confidence is like energy. Its levels change but I have to be mindful of it not dropping too far. Awareness of the causes of and my reactions to a dip is key.
Too much chaos, not enough clarity is a big deal. If I can’t see the wood for the trees, my confidence gets frazzled. Add to that, I can spend a lot of time working alone with only my frazzled brain to help and it’s a downward spiral.”
“I also used to get so nervous before school that I’d need to lay down on the bathroom floor until I could get my breathing to normalize.
And a few times in my adult life, I’d passed out in the middle of relatively normal occurrences–once at the optometrist’s office, once during a site visit on a ranch, and once in a board meeting. Not life-threatening, but odd. And embarrassing.”
Hillary Rea has always found confidence in showing up on stage and sharing stories. But when she realized that a project she’d been working on for 8 years hadn’t grown the way she hoped, her confidence took a hit.
We talk about how Hillary found her love for storytelling, how being visible makes her feel more confident, and how she’s finding a new sense of confidence after a setback.
“I was so grateful for my followers, but I didn’t have the full financial support I needed, and it left me feeling very disappointed.
I knew that I missed the mark, because the momentum and enthusiasm of my business slowed down, and needed to start to take a look at my work from a different angle.”
Abby and Tara talk about how she ended up working for so little and what she needed to do to raise her prices. We dive into all the feelings that came up around raising her prices and discovering the real value of what she was offering.
“I was feeling unsupported, unconfident, and downright angry. I decided to move forward anyway. I knew I didn’t want to be a money mindset coach anymore and I knew that no one was talking about trauma and how it impacts business, so I decided to pivot my business and never look back.
I started talking about “little t” trauma and how to define it. I started interviewing business owners who had a hunch that their childhood experiences were holding them back. I began gathering data and finding my language for this new area of business development.”
“Confidence in vision does not always sustain the curveballs of leading and running a business. 8 years ago, I would not have understood the importance of this truth as much as I do today.
One of the biggest casualties as I look back at my falls and failures, was my self-confidence and self-trust. It also brought to light how my business vision was tied to validating my worthiness.”
Today my guest is Dr. Katie Linder and she’s the creator of the Radical Self-Trust Podcast Channel. Katie developed the Radical Self-Trust framework as a way of helping herself and her clients source a new level of trust and confidence in themselves so they can overcome any obstacle.
Katie and I talk about the self-doubt she struggled with initially while launching her business, how she balances the public persona of confidence with lingering self-doubt, and how showing up & sharing actually gives her confidence.
“I’ve noticed a relationship between confidence and scarcity.
When time feels scarce, it’s easier to worry about whether I’m on the right track. Am I doing the right things to reach my goals? Are these even the ideal goals for me?
When I haven’t gathered enough information about potential clients, I find myself relying on stories I’ve made up about what’s probably happening out there. When I compare myself with things I imagine, the impostor complex does a good job of making me feel inferior and unprepared.”
Victoria R. Clark is the founder and managing attorney of Clark Law in Washington, DC.
Victoria and I talk about why she decided to start her own law practice in the first place, how she became more confident talking about herself, and how she took a new approach to what she can control on a daily basis. We also chat about how aspects of the business have evolved as she’s gotten more confident in what she’s doing.
“If someone wants a McDonald’s-fast logo, they can find it. And they can find it for less than $100. In extreme cases, for less than $10.
You watch business owners left and right throwing their money away on ineffective strategies, brands, and websites. They hire people who follow simple formulas and churn out mediocre work to clients who don’t know any better. Brands and websites of entire industries start to look and sound the same.
This is where we’re at. And it opposes just about everything I know to be true about creating effective brands and websites.”
“Within three months, I had my first five-figure month coaching executive leaders on behalf of one client alone—over a 2000% increase on my usual project minimum. I also began securing regular retainer work that allowed me to put my strategic way of thinking into action and slowly move away from one-on-one copywriting.
Earning more than I ever had as a contractor gave me the space to experiment on the side with mentoring other entrepreneurs and leading immersive mastermind experiences to help other business owners lean into their strengths, too.
But this journey hasn’t always been easy by any stretch of the imagination.”
Jodi Brandon has more than 20 years’ experience in book publishing. Today, her passion is working as a book coach and editor for creative entrepreneurs and small business owners who want to serve their business with a book.
Jodi took 2 full years away from her business full-time to care for her mother. We talk about how she made the decision, the challenge of trying to keep up, how she felt when she started back in her business, and how she’s adjusted both her work and her mindset.
My problem wasn’t that my vision had changed. I wasn’t being specific enough in defining what I wanted.
When I dream of freedom, adventure, and self-determinism, it looks like taking a month off to hike Mount Blanc and tour the countryside.
My present-day reality looks a lot more like a stolen weekend in Asheville when I feel I can get away, or a few days tacked onto a business trip.
Victoria is an author, entrepreneur, and a certified online business manager.
Victoria is a master at questioning assumptions and making unconscious choices conscious. That’s what our conversation is all about.
Victoria and I talk about risks she’s taken and the experiments she’s run—and how they’ve helped to find a new level of confidence. We talk about why she decided to go back to school to study Japanese, how her business has evolved, and even how her personal life has been shaped and reshaped by the risks she’s taken.