Have you ever experienced waves of self-doubt when you’ve just stepped on a new path? When you question yourself – is it really what I am supposed to be doing? What if I fail and the time I spend on it, the most precious resource I have, will be lost?
Surprisingly, this feeling often strikes highly educated and knowledgeable people, because here all your education and intelligence can work against you. I’ve studied economics for 6 years at a university and have been working as a project manager for over 5 years now, and it has become a rule for me to evaluate each and every option before I take it.
That’s one thing if you know the formula and you know the acceptance criteria to validate your calculations against. But the catch is, and it’s important to realize it, that when you are starting a new business or a startup, you never know what the end result will be. You can make so many mistakes in your assumptions at the beginning that there is almost no guarantee that your efforts will lead to the exact result you expect.
Here is where your faith is important. As Paul C. Brunson quotes Martin Luther King in his blog, “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” And indeed, every startup is a staircase to success where you see just one or two stairs in front of you. You don’t know if it’s going up or down in a couple of meters. Of course, this can drive you crazy!
Now, we have to fight with this feeling, because a self-doubt is eating us from inside and preventing us from being bold and successful.
Here are a couple of recipes I’ve created myself which proved to be working.
Dive In And Don’t Allow A Single Negative Thought
Once you decided to start something new, and you know you need persistence for success, create a plan of actions just for the nearest future and dive in.
Close your eyes and ears to any external distractions and just keep doing what you’ve planned. Don’t listen to other people doubts about you and your inner ones.
What can help: I don’t know who of you have read “Gone with the Wind”, but there was one of the main characters Scarlett O’Hara, who told herself, “I’ll think about that tomorrow” whenever a negative thought came to her.
Set The Deadline
Set the time when you will stop and take a look back to see what you’ve achieved. You will be astonished by how much you’ve done and how much you’ve learned, I am telling you! You’ll also find out that people who were grumbling about you starting this new thing are not so grumpy about it anymore. Because it depends just on your enthusiasm and your energy to achieve what you’ve planned, and they won’t believe that until they see that!
For example, I’ve set up a one-year timeframe not to look back but just keep doing.
If When I achieve that mark, I will be super proud of myself!
Fake It Until You Make It
This is a golden rule which I myself just start making use of. We all start something from scratch. Serial entrepreneurs are doing that up to several times a year. When you start, you are nobody, and there is a competition out there. They may not be smarter than you, they just have a lot of experience already which you don’t have.
So you try to pretend that you are as good or better than they are, even if this very moment you don’t believe it yourself 🙂 Now, you are not fooling yourself here, you are doing a little trick which will help you get there much faster!
Acknowledge That You Are Awesome
Whenever you are attacked by a self-doubt, stop for a moment and make a self-check. Acknowledge the Fact Number One – you are awesome. You are great at ________ and at __________. You’ve already achieved this and this. Acknowledge the Fact Number Two – you have all the prerequisites to be great at what you are doing. You just need to make baby steps, be persistent and fight with your self-doubt feelings.
Remember: You Are Not Wasting Your Time
A friend of mine, entrepreneur, has worked on a startup for one year to find out that the idea didn’t have a potential. But, having conducted hundreds of customer interviews, he identified another pain point that customers had. In fact, customers were asking him to solve that problem he even didn’t know about! So he changed the direction and started a totally new business based on the concept which has been already validated.
You have to fail several times until you succeed, every startuper knows that. But “failure” here doesn’t mean something that entirely sucks. You are gathering tons of new experience and knowledge which will bring you to the next level 😉
So I wish you all good luck guys with your aspirations, and will be glad to hear your stories under the post!
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