By: Abby Drexler, Writer and Media Specialist for the Presentation Training Institute
Being an entrepreneur means putting yourself out there time and time again. Whether you’re applying for grants, arranging meetings with content experts, or pitching your idea to a potential investor, you need to be on your A game to maintain momentum. And let’s be honest, that can be completely exhausting.
Between the late nights, back-to-back meetings, and overwhelming to-do list, it’s easy to lose sight of your vision and the end goals you want to accomplish. So, what do you do when you feel yourself slipping from your A game? How do you proceed when self-doubt comes creeping in to question your entrepreneurial abilities or the worth of your idea?
Don’t worry – I’ve compiled seven tools that can be used to overcome your self-doubt and continue making some real social impact in your community.
- Acknowledge Your Self-Doubt
Though this may seem like a straightforward first step, many entrepreneurs are their own worst critics. Ambitious go-getters can have a tough time admitting that they’re struggling with self-doubt. By sweeping this issue under the rug, you prolong the anxiety you’re feeling and hinder any growth or progress from happening. Talk it over with a friend or trusted mentor and acknowledge the internal battle you’re facing.
- Distract Yourself
Sometimes, self-doubt pops up temporarily and goes away when a deadline or big event passes. If that’s the case, take a break from work and get some exercise, cook a nice meal, take a long bath, or read your favorite book. Give yourself something else to concentrate on temporarily so you can feel rejuvenated. However, if these feelings persist day after day, this may not be the best technique.
- Remember You’re Not Alone
When your self-doubt starts playing negative thoughts on a never-ending loop, it’s time to shake things up. Most entrepreneurs have doubted themselves at one point or another. Even the most confident, prepared, experienced, and ambitious entrepreneurs doubt their abilities when faced with an exceptionally challenging situation. Starting a business is risky – but rather than focusing on the possibility of “failure”, realize that some of the best opportunities in life arise from putting yourself out of your comfort zone and seeing what happens. Don’t shy away from fear – make success happen by acting in spite of your fear.
- Surround Yourself with the Right People
The people in our corner have a tremendous impact on how we view ourselves and the impact we can have. If you’re doubting your worth, surround yourself with trusted mentors and friends who remind you of your strengths and victories. Take the initiative to set up a phone call, coffee date, or happy hour to reconnect with the most positive and uplifting people in your life and soak up some extra support. Use them as a sounding board for your thoughts and ideas, and get some affirmation that you’re moving in the right direction.
- Focus on Your Wins
Some days are one step forward, two steps back. And that’s okay because it proves that you’re hustling and that you’re one step closer to making your idea a reality. You might not get that grant, you might get difficult feedback from a mentor or investor, or you might even feel stress in your personal life because of your dedication. When that happens, take a moment to reflect on your past achievements. Where are you now in comparison to where you started? What did you accomplish that maybe felt impossible a year ago? Let your past successes help buoy your faith in future ones.
- Challenge Your Doubt
If you’re questioning your ability to perform a task, ask yourself why. What is the origin of this feeling? Figure out what is triggering your fears and then challenge their validity. If you have the determination and resources to complete a task, there is likely no rational reason to doubt yourself. If you do find yourself lacking a certain skill or resource, brainstorm new ways to get help with the task so you can succeed. Do you know somebody with that expertise? Can you sign up for a class to learn that skill? It’s okay to not have all the answers.
- Just Jump In
You can get carried away with over-analyzing every facet of starting your business, or you can just GO FOR IT. Though it’s important to strategize and plan, you will never feel 100% confident. There comes a time when you need to stop thinking and start doing. The end results may not be perfect, but there’s a lot to be learned through trial and error. Push yourself to make the jump, and you’ll be surprised by how much you’re capable of when you get rid of your self-doubt.
For social entrepreneurs, it’s not about ridding yourself of self-doubt. Maybe a little piece of that self-doubt will always be there. What does matter is how you manage it. What self-care routines do you implement to present the healthiest and most confident version of yourself? Who do you surround yourself with to stay positive? Remember – you cannot serve from an empty vessel. Prioritize yourself, believe in your idea, and make it happen. The world will thank you one day!
Start your entrepreneurial journey today.
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