We talk a lot about the things that hold us back from moving forward in life and business – mental roadblocks and excuses as to why we can’t do something or why we aren’t where we thought we’d be.
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How to stop letting excuses hold you back
What if instead of making excuses we started finding ways in which we can tackle the things that are holding us back in order to start doing what we want and bringing ourselves one step closer to where we want to be?
It’s in your head
More often than not, the things we let hold us back are in our own minds. They aren’t actual physical roadblocks, rather mental or emotional mindset trips. It might be the feeling of fear, feeling uncomfortable, letting others’ opinions affect our own decisions, or we might even be letting a lack of confidence hold us back.
Do any of these sound familiar?
What many of us don’t realize is the thing with letting mental or emotional feelings hold us back is that if we can just step up and face them, it gets easier to overcome them in the future. And once we make it a habit to recognize when we’re letting these feelings creep in and throw us off course, it gets easier to not let them hold us back.
Every time you’re able to face fear and tell it to get lost; or when you start to feel uncomfortable, but decide to go ahead with whatever the task or project is anyway; or when you start to put what others’ might think before your own desires, and then decide that what others’ might think doesn’t really matter; or any time you’re feeling a lack of confidence and instead of backing down you tell yourself “I’ve got this!”, you’re making yourself stronger.
You’re giving yourself a new benchmark of experience.
You’re training your mind and your body to understand that just because something might scare you, or make you uncomfortable, or make you feel like you’re not good enough – that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it.
In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
But this is where we oftentimes get stuck. It’s easy to tell ourselves or our accountability partners that the next time we’re scared, uncomfortable or feeling a lack of confidence that we’ll just shove it aside and do it anyway, but it’s not so easy to actually take action and do it.
That’s why I want to break down the top 4 things that we as entrepreneurs let hold us back, and how you can approach them so you’re no longer letting these mindset excuses hold you back from getting yourself to the exact place you want to be.
Before we dive in, I do want to say this
The 4 commonly talked about emotional-driven setbacks that we as humans love to grab ahold of when we’re looking for an excuse to not take a chance on something are very common, and they’re associated with feelings we as human beings experience across the board.
So, first and foremost, take comfort in knowing that you’re not alone.
Top 4 excuses that hold you back – and how to overcome them
1. I’m scared to do it
Do you remember the first time you ever rode a roller coaster? You were probably FREAKED OUT watching that cart zoom past you as you stood in line, whipping in and out of dangerous-looking caves and crevasses, flipping upside down and all around.
You might have even been crying when your mom, dad, brother or sister was grabbing you by the arm and telling you that the ride really wasn’t that scary. (Yep, that was me all the way.)
Eventually, you ended up going on that roller coaster – against your will, because you wanted nothing more than for your parents or your brother or sister to take pity on you because you were scared – but I’m willing to bet that after you rode that roller coaster, you kind of like it, didn’t you?
You got off the roller coster and realized that it wasn’t that scary after all; in fact, it was kind of a rush of excitement, and riding it even gave you a sense of accomplishment – you did it!
Can you believe you almost let fear stand in the way of a new experience, a new feeling, and something that made you stronger now that you’ve conquered it?
Fear is the #1 thing that holds people back from becoming an entrepreneur. Just ask the over 700 inspiring and successful entrepreneurs John has interviewed on the podcast – a vast majority of them will agree.
How to overcome fear
Next time you’re feeling afraid or scared to do something, ask yourself what you’re risking as a result of not doing it.
If you’re scared to write a book, launch a business, or even reach out to a potential sponsor for your podcast, are you really SO SCARED that you’re willing to never write a book, not launch your business, and not monetize your podcast?
Take baby steps – conquering fear doesn’t have to start with launching your business. It might start with going to a meet up where you can connect with other like-minded people; or buying your domain name and getting started on building your website. With each new fear you’re able to overcome, you’re setting the stage for being able to overcome even bigger fears.
2. This makes me uncomfortable
It’s your first day of high school. You’ve been up all night thinking about the outfit you’ll wear; wether or not there will be cool people in your classes; and if there will be anyone to eat lunch with. Middle school was so easy!
You were probably not super comfortable when your parents dropped you off (at least a block of way, of course), because the security you felt from being at your middle school, where you knew your teachers, your friends, where your classes were, and who you would eat lunch with everyday, was gone.
But after that first day, when your parents picked you up (at least two blocks away), you thought back and realized that having new classes and finding your way around new territory – meeting new people – it really wasn’t all that bad.
Feeling uncomfortable forced you to experience something new, perhaps something different than what you’re used to, helping you learn a few new things. I bet the next time you were in a situation where you didn’t really feel all that comfortable, you were that much more willing to step on out there knowing that everything would be okay.
There are countless situations you’ll find yourself in that aren’t going to be comfortable. Whether that’s on a stage in front of 20 people, or presenting a Webinar online to 300 people, what you will walk away from that experience with is priceless – something you will not find through doing anything else.
How to overcome feeling uncomfortable
Next time you’re up against something that makes you uncomfortable, ask yourself what’s the worst that can happen.
Once you realize that the outcome really isn’t life-shattering, you can gain some perspective on the situation as a whole. And regardless of what you’re trying that is making you uncomfortable, you’re going to come out on the other end with a lesson learned, and in entrepreneurship, lessons learned are what help move us forward.
3. What will other people think?
When I quit my job to pursue my own entrepreneurial venture, Kate’s Copy, I was afraid of what other people would think.
When I decided to join the EntrepreneurOnFire team, I wondered what my friends and family would think.
For the first year that I was publishing posts on the EntrepreneurOnFire blog (and even sometimes today), every single time I would hit publish, I wondered what other people would think.
It wasn’t easy making these decisions, all the while constantly wondering what other people would think. But if I wouldn’t have made these decisions in spite of that feeling – if I wouldn’t have continued to tell myself that my decisions and my life are my own, and that I get to decide – then I wouldn’t be living my dream right now.
I wouldn’t have learned all the dozens of lessons I learned through failing with Kate’s Copy.
I wouldn’t have joined the EntrepreneurOnFire team, and therefore, would probably still be miserable in Corporate America.
I wouldn’t have discovered who the EntrepreneurOnFire blog’s audience is, and what content I can provide that is most valuable to them. I also wouldn’t have become a good enough writer to be able to be publishing my first book, The Fire Path.
How to overcome the “what will other people think?” obsession
Next time you start wondering “what will other people think”, ask yourself why that really matters.
What really helped me get through the times when it seemed like what other people were thinking was all that mattered, is reminding myself that it has nothing to do with what other people think.
There are people out there who will stop at nothing to make you feel as though the decisions you’re making and the path you’re on are all wrong. But they are the same ones who sit and wonder why they never took a chance on doing something they love; why they aren’t living the life they always dreamed of.
It’s not about other people – it’s about you making educated decisions about the way you want to live your life.
4. I’m not good enough
No one is immune. What if you’re not good enough? What if someone else does it better than you do? What if no one likes it? All of these “what if’s” equal a lifetime of wondering what would have happened if you would have just believed in yourself.
Choose to believe that you are good enough. That there will be people out there who LOVE what you’re doing.
Don’t let your lack of confidence prevent you from doing wonderful, beautiful things. If you start something and it doesn’t turn out just the way you wanted it to, then try it again. Improve upon it, and then improve upon it again, and then practice some more, and then improve again.
How to overcome feeling like you’re not good enough
Next time you’re feeling like you’re not good enough, look at yourself in the mirror and say out loud “I am good enough”.
After you’ve done that, remind yourself of why you’re doing what you’re doing. Do you have knowledge, skills and expertise that you can share with someone? If so, then until you get out there and start sharing it, you’re doing a great disservice to those who are in need of your knowledge.
Stop holding out on others due to a lack of self confidence. Don’t make it about you – make it about helping and providing value to others.
The more we can catch ourselves in the act of feeling scared, uncomfortable, thinking about what others’ think and that we’re not good enough, the better we can be at overcoming these fears. Recognizing that you’re letting fear or a lack of confidence hold you back is the first step to being able to find ways to overcome it.
What if instead of making excuses, we started talking about the ways we can tackle these mental roadblocks? Recognize your emotions, and then allow them to make you stronger and afford you experiences and lessons learned that will be priceless on your journey to living the life you’ve always dreamed of.