3 Ways Aspiring Entrepreneurs Can Crush Self-Doubt

This is a guest post by Derek Doepker

The biggest killer of entrepreneurial endeavors isn’t just poorly designed products or services, bad marketing, or even naysayers. While all of these can derail an entrepreneur, most endeavors die before they even get started–and the killer is often self-doubt.

Have you ever thought, “Who’s going to listen to me?  What if I go broke building this business? What if this is all a waste of time? I don’t know enough.” If so, welcome to being human. Having doubts is natural and, in moderation, actually healthy. The key to overcoming this doubt is to learn why it’s showing up and then transforming it into a force that actually propels you forward.

To do this, there are three specific processes that, when combined together, will make you even more unstoppable in your confidence, courage, and determination.

Process 1: Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome is the feeling a high-achiever gets when they don’t recognize their value and own their awesomeness.

In my case of starting my authorship journey, I questioned, “Who am I to write a book and why would anyone listen to me if so many others are talking about these things?”

What turned it around was looking at my own experience. I realized I wasn’t just buying the information contained in books, more so, I was buying the perspective. In other words, it wasn’t just about what an author said, but how they said it. I thought of all the authors, podcasters, and bloggers who had a style I resonated with even if they were sharing things others have talked about. I felt how it was their delivery, not their ideas, that made a connection and impact.

Even though I started to intellectually appreciate the idea that we all have a unique style and therefore I may have something unique to offer, I still needed to do one thing to internalize this feeling. It was to share with others the impact they made on me.

For instance, I reached out to a podcaster and shared something along the lines of “I’ve heard a lot of people talk about this topic, but it was your unique delivery and style that resonated with me. It’s not your credentials, but the way you put things that finally made it click for me.”

In giving another a sincere compliment and validating their worth, you may just find your own worth is validated in the process.

  • Step 1: Ask yourself, what would you need to hear to validate your worth?
  • Step 2: Find someone who is a role model of this for you.
  • Step 3: Go tell them the difference they’ve made for you.

Process 2: Turn Your Doubter Into A Realist

While many personal development and mindset approaches teach the importance of “thinking positive,” there’s a serious downside to positive thinking exclusively. Any realist can tell you that life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. So simply telling yourself, “I can do it!” can lead to blind optimism and a failure to respect genuine obstacles.

When you stop seeing your inner doubts as an enemy and start to see them as an ally, then you can use them to propel you forward. The counter-intuitive approach to overcoming your doubts is to actually take the time to listen to them, acknowledge them, and then create a strategic plan to work with them.

For instance, I often used to wonder, “Who’s going to listen to me among all the voices out there?” This question can be an empowering question designed to prompt you to consider how you can deliver your message in an engaging and powerful way. This question, when turned from a doubt to simply a strategic concern to be handled, can then lead to taking courses on writing, speaking, and persuasion.

Another concern that often comes up is, “I don’t have the credibility.” Now, sometimes this is a belief issue in which case it’s a sign that one needs to take the time to reflect on how qualified they are. However, it can also be a practical concern that’s simply addressed by acknowledging, “I will use third party validation and get qualified people on my team who can support me.”

  • Step 1: Listen to your doubts
  • Step 2: Decide if you need to address them with new beliefs, a practical strategy, or both.
  • Step 3: Implement the strategies that overcome the real concerns the doubts bring up

Process 3: Regain Trust In Yourself

One of the biggest reasons for self-doubt is not following through on commitments to oneself. When you don’t keep your word with yourself, you lose trust in yourself.

A classic example is someone who makes New Year’s Resolutions time and time again only to fail each time. Next time they commit to doing something, their inner doubter comes in saying, “Oh yeah!? How many times have you said you were going to do something and didn’t. What makes you think this time is going to be any different?”

Regaining trust in yourself is like regaining trust in someone else. If someone is consistently late, would them showing up on time once get you to trust they’ll be on time from now on? Probably not. But, if they show up on time for a month straight, or even a year straight, wouldn’t you then begin to trust them?

This means consistency, at first, is more important than quality. Consistency comes from making small commitments that you absolutely must keep.

A micro-commitment can be as simple as saying, “I’m going to spend at least two minutes a day, five days a week, doing one thing to move my business forward.”  By following through on this commitment without fail, you train your mind to accept that you will move forward every single day no matter what doubts or fears come up. Remember, it’s not the size of the commitment, but the consistency that gets you to regain trust in yourself. So be sure to keep it something you will absolutely follow through with.

  • Step 1: If applicable, stop making commitments you don’t keep as this generates doubt and erodes trust in yourself
  • Step 2: Start making small daily commitments you keep without fail that move you forward to generate even more trust
  • Step 3: Move forward in spite of any doubt to train your mind doubt won’t have power over you

Remember self-doubt is normal and a means by which your mind is attempting to keep you from failing.  When it runs out of control, it paralyzes you. Yet when it’s managed, it can be a force that gets you to evaluate your plans and remind you why your entrepreneurial dreams matter more than any doubts or fears.

Derek Doepker is a rock guitar player and music composer who now teaches individuals and organizations how to experience more harmony, productivity, and peak performance.  He specializes in helping intelligent visionaries burdened with endless mind chatter develop self-mastery and emotional connection with clever mind games. He is committed to empowerment, enlightenment, and compassion. You can find his books on Amazon and at ExcuseProof.com.

Photo Credit: Flickr/ Giuseppe Martino™


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