At some point during your entrepreneurial journey, second-guessing yourself, procrastinating and feelings of not being good enough will take control of the thoughts in your mind.
Welcome to the world of self-doubt.
But believe it or not, self-doubt is natural. Self-doubt doesn’t mean you’re incompetent. It doesn’t mean you should stop what you’re doing. A lot of times self-doubt and feelings of anxiety comes from our desire to want to control everything. Friendly reminder, you can’t control outcomes, you can only control your effort.
It’s only when you allow self-doubt to push you into hiding from marketing yourself or sharing your work, resolving a conflict between team members or making business decisions that it becomes problematic. Even over-researching an idea and not asking for help is a sign self-doubt is getting in your way.
Here’s the thing. Sometimes when you have a desire to do something new, your thoughts of “What if?” paralyzes you from taking action. The reality is you don’t need to know every piece of information before you start. On top of everything else, you are allowed to change your mind. Especially if you realize later on that it wasn’t the right decision. Wrong decisions and changes are an inevitable cost of doing business. So take note, in the words of Robert T. Kiyosaki, “If you avoid failure, you also avoid success.”
While instant and visible success seems to be the norm these days, baby steps count too towards daily wins. Instead of worrying about how you’re going to make one big change or get started on one big goal, focus on doing the next best thing.
The Next Right Move
During a talk with Stanford University, Oprah spoke about her early challenges with launching the OWN network:
“There is no such thing as failure really because failure is just that thing trying to move you in another direction. You get as much from your losses as you do from your victories because the losses are there to wake you up.”
“The way to through the challenge is to get still and ask yourself: ‘What is the next right move?’ Not think about uhhh I got all of this to do, ‘What is the next right move?’ Then from that space, make the next right move and the next right move. And not to be overwhelmed by it because you know your life is bigger than that one moment, you know you’re not defined by what somebody says is a failure for you because failure is just there to point you in a different direction.”
Success is Found in Your Daily Routine
Embracing “the next right move” mindset takes daily practice.
Mindfulness practices like meditation can be helpful, especially during the chaos. Defined by UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, mindfulness is: “maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations and the surrounding environment through a gentle, nurturing lens.”
Mindfulness also involves acceptance, meaning that we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them — without believing, for instance, that there’s a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel in a given moment.
Ultimately, adopting a mindfulness habit helps you focus on the present moment. Instead of dwelling on the past or looking too far ahead, you can focus on making the best decision with the information and resources you have access to at the moment. Plus with the gazillion limiting thoughts running through your mind, mindfulness also helps you choose thoughts and make decisions that align with your values.
Stories Have Healing Power
When it comes to entrepreneurship, there is no one blueprint for success but you can’t level up in isolation. Although it’s not widely discussed, isolation or loneliness is a common challenge for entrepreneurs. Be intentional about building a diverse network of professionals at different stages of their careers. Beyond socializing daily with other entrepreneurs on social media, adopt a biweekly habit to connect in person or via video/phone conference with someone from your success squad. Hearing how another entrepreneur overcame challenges is one of the best ways to get out of your own way.
The thing is, we all face moments of self- doubt. However, self- doubt is also an opportunity for growth because you can use a moment of uncertainty to ask questions and explore other options.
The question will always remain, will you allow self-doubt to help you or hinder you from achieving your goals?