Posted by Carol Mahamedi
June 25, 2021 | 3-minute read (564 words)
It is human nature to experience feelings of self-doubt from time to time, and entrepreneurs are no exception. Even though they’ve potentially put their livelihoods on the line in pursuit of their dream, which implies complete confidence, a nagging critical voice can arise from time to time that is difficult to ignore.
Some may experience this as imposter syndrome where they doubt their skills and question whether others may expose them as a fraud. Others may sometimes wonder whether they are doing the right thing and silently fret at the thought of how long it may be before real money starts coming in.
Monitoring the viability of your business is wise, but if self-doubt begins to consume too much of your energy, that is not helpful to your entrepreneurial venture. Below are five entrepreneur-vetted tips to push back on feelings of self-doubt.
Entrepreneurship can be isolating, as long hours and absorption into the venture detracts from the immediacy of the world. To curb this, consider networking with like-minded entrepreneurs through local organizations, meeting up with former colleagues and staying in touch with trusted individuals. Sometimes you simply need another ear to listen and offer insights that don’t relate to your success or failure.
- Expand your connections
While it is challenging when a startup that launched around the same time or in a similar sector finds success at a period when yours hasn’t yet picked up momentum, keep in mind that your goal is to build a viable business that shows healthy growth and meets its own goals.
Redirect your attention to evaluating your own business against your own business in terms of key performance indicators, like month-over-month growth. Strive to fulfill your own benchmarks and to adjust as needed. Tracking your own growth will give you the perspective you need to confirm you are attaining the goals you originally laid out for your venture.
- Stop comparing
Business owners tend to put some much of themselves into their business that it becomes an inextricable part of their identity. Take stock of your identity outside the business and remember that being an entrepreneur inherently entails multiple highs and lows. A single bad day has no bearing on your individual identity.
- Don’t overly identify with your job
Rather than ruminate on failures, which is the tendency of most entrepreneurs, focus on the successes. Take time to contemplate your wins so that the next time self-doubt creeps in, you can revisit your previous success. This will also serve as a reminder that your entrepreneurial journey will entail ups and downs, and that you should pay the same amount of attention to both the highs and lows.
- Embrace your successes
In order to nip self-doubt in the bud, you first must learn to recognize it. Certain triggers are likely triggering thoughts of unworthiness, so being aware of them is the half the battle. If you know that news about a certain competitor disrupts your productivity, for example, minimize your exposure to such alerts so you don’t veer off course and spend time stressing over it.
Some startup founders keep a journal of their successes and challenges to track that these ups and downs are normal. This provides a handy benchmark for days that aren’t going well, when you can look back and be reminded that you prevailed through previous challenges.
- Practice identifying self-doubt