About three years ago I was having some really strong doubts about the path I was on. Just about two months prior I had left my corporate job – no more paycheck, no more benefits, no more “corporate comfort” – to start my own business.
I had launched my website, (surprisingly enough – because I was really freaked out about that), and I had exactly zero clients.
Would my business be successful? Would I really be able to pull this off?
I didn’t think so. I doubted whether or not I had the ability to run a successful business. I doubted whether or not anyone would ever look at me as an authority figure in my niche – why would anyone choose to work with me?
I wasn’t feeling great about the outcome of all this. I could already see my business failing.
And it did.
How often do you do something without having a single doubt in your mind that it’s the right thing to do? That it’s going to be everything you hoped it would be? That it’s going to be perfect the first time?
If you answered with “not very often”, or “almost never”, then you’re not alone.
Doubt is a tricky little thing.
We typically have doubts about things that are unfamiliar to us, that make us uncomfortable, or that are considered to be risky in nature. Something in our mind warns us; because we haven’t experienced the end result before (or perhaps because we have experienced the end result before and it wasn’t what we had hoped for), we feel fear and doubt about what might happen.
Seems like a roadblock, right? That’s what we feel, and so we allow our actions to be controlled by that.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
As Entrepreneurs, we deal with doubt A LOT.
Of course, the trouble is, doubt is the exact thing that holds us back; it prevents us from taking that next step forward. It steals our confidence and kidnaps our hope.
Given this knowledge, how can we squash doubt in order to help us propel ourselves forward?
Well, because doubt isn’t something you necessarily feel on purpose, one of the best ways we can approach it is to change our mindset around it.
It’s not scary
This is my two and a half year old niece’s favorite thing to say when she’s watching a cartoon and doesn’t want to get scared. She fiercely waves her pointer figure back and forth and declares, “it’s not scary!”
She tells herself this – she tells everyone this out loud – to convince herself that whatever it is she sees isn’t scary.
Perhaps if I would have been able to tell myself that I did have the ability to run a successful business, that I did have the knowledge and expertise to help people – why wouldn’t someone choose to work with me?, and that the outcome of all this would be amazing, then my business wouldn’t have failed.
Just the same way the caves and ghosts don’t have to be scary for my niece, doubt doesn’t have to be scary, either.
Doubt is simply a feeling, and WE get decide whether or not we let it control our actions through the thoughts and things we choose to tell ourselves.
All this seems a little too easy, doesn’t it?
“It’s not scary” and “we get to decide” isn’t necessarily going to help you the next time you’re seriously doubting whether or not you should do _______.
Do you remember when we talked about understanding what’s at stake for you? If not, go ahead and click on that link – I can assure you that understanding what’s at stake for you will play a big role in whether or not you’re able to squash doubt.
Now, the next time you’re faced with doubt – whether it be towards publishing your next blog post, towards a new product launch, or towards finally stepping out and taking your own entrepreneurial leap, think about what it is that you’re actually doubting.
Is it your actual ability to do it?
Is it your experience or expertise (or your supposed lack thereof)?
Is it the outcome you think you’re going to get?
Regardless of what it is, do you see what all of these doubts have in common?
They’re all things we’re telling ourselves.
Doubts = fear
Do you see how our doubts are turning into fear?
A fear of not being good enough (doubting our ability). A fear of not having enough, or the right kind of knowledge to share (doubting our experience and expertise). A fear of the unknown (doubting an outcome that we can’t possible predict).
As long as you continue letting doubt and fear determine these things for you – as long as you continue telling yourself that you’re not good enough, smart enough, or that you’re just too scared – you’ll be forfeiting what’s at stake for you.
You’re letting doubt and fear steal your confidence and kidnap your hope
Are you really willing to do that all because of something you’re telling yourself?
We don’t have to allow doubt and fear to keep us from achieving what is it we want most. We can choose to talk about it, we can choose to change our mindset around it.
What if fear and doubt was something that gave you permission – knowing that if it wasn’t important or a really great opportunity, then you wouldn’t be feeling fear or doubt.
Give yourself permission to face fear – feel doubt – knowing that you ultimately get to decide whether or not you’re going to let it hold you back from achieving what it is you want most.