by Jenn Aubert | Featured Contributor
Self-doubt is rampant and you see it particularly in women when they’re launching a business.
That’s what happened with several of my closest entrepreneurial friends when they first started their businesses. They were former engineers, CPAs and recruiters – all of them successful in these fields – and yet, when they started their own businesses in areas completely different from their education and experience, their levels of self-doubt reached epic proportions.
It was heart breaking to watch but through time, experience, sisterhood and support, they each have overcome the burden of self-doubt to create successful thriving businesses.
When you dive into unknown waters of starting your own business feelings of uncertainty will inevitably bubble up. There are so many unknowns. You are constantly doing things that push you outside your comfort zone. There’s a chance that you will make mistakes or that you could fail at your venture. You are putting yourself out there in ways you never have in the past. Self-doubt will rise but here are seven ways to conquer it so you can follow your dreams of starting a business.
1. Stop comparing yourself to others.
Please just stop! Looking incessantly at your competitor’s website can make you crazy with self-doubt. Although you tell yourself you are doing competitive analysis (fancy business talk may make it sound better than stalking), you often walk away feeling deflated.
“The most dangerous thing about your competition …is your obsession with them. – Bernadette Jiwa
2. Find role models
Utilizing the (real) stories of others can help buoy your confidence. We often look at people who are highly successful and compare ourselves to them. We are only looking at the finished product and not the years of hard work and struggle they may have gone through. Often they are years ahead of where we are currently. Through reading stories of accomplished business women and really listening and learning from their years of hard work, struggles and wins, you can believe more in your own skills and the journey.
“I think the best role models for women are people who are fruitfully and confidently themselves, who bring light into the world.”― Meryl Streep
3. Replay past successes
Starting and building a business might be new territory but I’m sure you have had many successes in past roles and positions. Draw on those past wins to give yourself a quick shot of positivity. This will help you re-focus on drawing on your proven ability for success.
“Your past success is a foundation into future success.” ― Lailah Gifty Akita
4. Believe in the journey
If you have trouble believing in yourself then focus your beliefs on the journey. You may be traveling an unfamiliar road but many people have taken this unfamiliar path in the past. The road is paved with others – many of them household names – that shared your feelings of self-doubt. Trust that the journey itself with toughen you up – for the better.
“The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we stand as in what direction we are moving.” ― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
5. Stop the spiral
As soon as you begin the negative inner chatter, immediately do something to break the cycle before you spiral down a very negative rabbit hole. Get up from your desk and take a walk. Call a friend. Play your favorite upbeat song. Quickly jot down ten things you’re grateful for. Often the chatter feeds on itself so the quicker you discharge it the better.
“You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.” ― Stephen King
6. Accept failure and move on quickly
We all make mistakes. Most people try very hard to avoid failure out of fear. They fear what failure means and how it will appear to friends and family. Failure and mistakes are part of this weird wild game called “entrepreneurship”. In knowing that, make sure you ready yourself for the challenge and be prepared to learn the invaluable lessons that come from failure.
“Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill
7. Make a decision already
When you are unsure of yourself you often waffle when it comes to making decisions. Every decision feels heavy and you project ‘make-or-break’ scenarios to your choices. Not every decision you make is going to produce the results you were hoping for but the worst thing you can do is become paralyzed by the options. Each choice you make is a lesson so make your choices relatively quickly and as wisely as you can with the information in front of you.
It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are. – Roy Disney
8. Surround yourself with cheerleaders
Many women start businesses from home and sadly in isolation from other people. Make sure you develop a network of other people who will support you on this wild journey. In particular, finding other women business owners who genuinely want to support one another is one of the best resources you could ever have.
“I’ve always believed that one woman’s success can only help another woman’s success.” ― Gloria Vanderbilt
Starting a business can be tough yet it can also be the best personal development exercise you will ever endure. Take the opportunity to overcome any insecurities you have, build up your confidence and watch your entire life and business change for the better.
Jenn Aubert is an author and entrepreneur. Her first book Women Entrepreneur Revolution: Ready! Set! Launch! (Balboa Press, 2014) explores the mindset, motivation and behaviors of successful female entrepreneurs and the role models in their lives who have influenced them. She is also the co-founder and CEO of LearnSavvy, an online education marketplace and community for women business owners and the co-owner of the site Showcasing Women. Personally, she adores inspirational quotes (long before it was popular), all things French (yes, that does include wine), Deepak Chopra and a comfy pair of ballet flats. She has recently relocated to Portland, OR with her husband and adorable son and is spending her free time exploring everything this gorgeous new city has to offer.