By Josh Kohlbach, CEO and founder of Rymera Web Co, the makers of Wholesale Suite, the No. 1 WooCommerce wholesale solution.
Entrepreneurs are often seen as confident, successful people who never have doubts. They’re decisive about everything, always know what to do and never have regrets. All of which isn’t true.
Doubt is a natural part of being human — and entrepreneurs aren’t immune to it. In our efforts to be better, create better products and deliver as much value as possible to our customers, we feel there’s always something missing. We worry about the path not taken or the what-if of every situation.
Self-doubt can become a severe problem for anyone, but especially entrepreneurs. We’re juggling so many responsibilities and risks while we try to overcome multiple obstacles every day. There’s almost no time to deal with self-doubt if we want to reach our business goals.
Here are seven valuable tips for eliminating self-doubt and directing your entrepreneurial energy toward more productive ways of thinking.
1. You’re Not Alone
Everyone has doubts and fears, whether you’re an entrepreneur or not. It can be very isolating to think that you’re the only one who’s not confident enough to make decisions and lead your company. Feeling like an outlier can derail your thinking and ultimately sabotage your success.
2. Ignore What Others Think
Managing other people’s expectations of you and your business is exhausting. You can get stuck in an inadequacy loop because you’re trying to appeal to too many people. News stories will always tell you someone else is doing better or getting further ahead than you. Ignore those stories, and don’t compare yourself to others. Besides, they often failed multiple times before finding success, so stop comparing yourself to that final success.
3. Remind Yourself Of Past Success
Self-doubt is an insidious thing. It causes you to dwell on the negative and brings up all your failures. When it does, reflect on what went right instead, and focus on your achievements. Each positive accomplishment is another step toward your long-term objectives and should be celebrated.
4. Set Short-Term Goals
As an entrepreneur, you have long-term targets you want to achieve, which are necessary. But so are the short-term ones. Future goals often take longer to reach, so when you’re not hitting those targets right away, doubt can creep in. Give yourself the credit of accomplishing those short-term goals, and use those successes to keep doubt at bay.
5. Be Selective With Feedback
The adage of “thinking of the glass as half full instead of half empty” is a good one for entrepreneurs to remember. Psychology Today reports that our brains are hard-wired toward negativity, and we almost always give negative outcomes more importance than positive ones.
The half-full glass is a good way of looking at situations as you grow your business. Look for alternative perspectives of situations that didn’t turn out the way you wanted. Take time to remember those alternatives, and actively choose to view the world positively.
6. Remember That You’re Not Always In Control
Entrepreneurs may do everything right for their business, yet sometimes things simply don’t work out. The rest of the world will always have a say in how your business or idea grows — or doesn’t. You must remember you’re not in control of everything.
Other people have their own goals, objectives, interpretations of situations and pressures that cause them to behave the way they do. All of these external factors are out of your control and impact your business no matter how much you try to keep them out. Remember that some things will happen that you can’t manage, drive or control, so focus on your reaction instead.
7. Forgive Yourself
As a busy entrepreneur, you don’t have time to waste. If you dwell on the negatives and beat yourself up for doubting, all you’ll do is waste time and feel bad. Give yourself permission to wallow in the doubt or sorrow of a decision gone wrong for a short time, and then put it behind you. Develop habits that help create the mental space you need to do this, such as unplugging from technology regularly, exercising, meditating or engaging in a hobby.
Self-doubt happens to us all, entrepreneurs included. Given how many situations we face and the mountain of decisions we make every day, entrepreneurs may feel self-doubt a little more acutely.
These tips won’t help you avoid self-doubt, but they’ll help you navigate through the worst of it. If you’re afraid to fail or push yourself into unknown areas because of what could happen, you’ll never grow as a person or move your business forward. Embrace the doubt, and learn to look for the unexpected and valuable opportunities that can propel you and your business forward instead.