Why do we doubt ourselves? Why do resort to comfort instead of chasing our wildest dreams? Why do we feel so overwhelmingly uncomfortable when we are faced with a situation or problem we are unfamiliar with?
According to Berkley Wellness “Self-doubt can be defined as a state of uncertainty about the truth of anything (Braslow, Guerrettaz, Arkin, & Oleson, 2012). It could be about our thoughts, beliefs, emotions, opinions, decisions, self-views, or any “truth” we hold in our minds. We have a sense that we are not stable. However, researchers further suggest that self-doubt specifically involves questioning our own self-competence (Braslow, Guerrettaz, Arkin, & Oleson, 2012).”
As an entrepreneur, you are most likely some form of a perfectionist and are always striving to better yourself and whatever you are working on. I myself am very familiar with this feeling and self-doubt often manifests itself as self-criticism. However, I’ve learned to be truly successful as an entrepreneur, both professionally and personally for your mental health, overcoming self-doubt is vitally important. Even more important than making sure you have a “great idea” for your entrepreneurial venture. One way that I have best learned to deal with self-doubt is to conform to non-perfectionistic ways and be willing to lean into trusting myself and my business.
Going through the various processes to building your brand such as creating a business plan, projecting your finances, applying for loans, hiring employees, and even having meetings with mentors or advisors you will constantly receive scrutiny and constructive criticism. You must be strong enough mentally to endure these hard conversations and complete these tasks. Self-doubt creates room in your mind to question your business and weakens your overall confidence. One of my mentors encouraged me to practice thought-stopping. This practice is simple as it sounds. Whenever a thought that is negative or anxiety-inducing crosses your mind you stop the thought and switch your mind to something else. You want to train your brain to begin telling itself the same words of confidence and encouragement that you tell outsiders that may doubt or discount your business. In entrepreneurship and life in general, you must learn to be your own best friend and cheerleader.
Additionally, as an entrepreneur, you are a constant billboard and marketing platform for your business and brand. Whenever you are speaking to others about your venture you speak confidently and stand strongly on whatever your well-thought-out mission statement may be. Another tactic that helps me overcome my doubts is to journal about what makes me nervous or confused. Jotting down these thoughts helps to clear my mind and realize what actual truth lies in those doubts or if they are coming from a place of fear. Building your own business is no easy feat but it is a journey that is very rewarding and helps you grow mentally stronger. If entrepreneurship was truly not the right path or your true passion, you would have never started and are therefore surely strong enough to see it through.
All in all, self-doubt is normal, but we do not want to stay there. Overcoming it and going through each bump in the road to chase your dreams and become better despite doubt, is entrepreneurial. Self-awareness is where we want to live and not the desert of doubt.