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Living the life of an entrepreneur or a freelancer is not all that easy-peasy. While there might be gratification and success at the end of the tunnel, the journey otherwise, is filled with challenges, tight deadlines, difficult clients, tons of stress, and moments of self-doubt!
More so, if you’re the boss lady who is taking matters in her hand and going full throttle. There are highs and then there are lows; and sometimes, you experience moments of self-doubt when you ask yourself,
“Have I taken the right decision?”
“Am I doing it right?”
“What if I don’t have what it takes to make it big?”
Sometimes the trigger could be an unsolicited insensitive remark from a client, it could be a feeling that stems from not being able to meet goals on time and sometimes, there could be no apparent reason at all.
But what I’m here to tell you is that it is completely okay to doubt yourself, because duh, we’re all humans; and a healthy amount of self-doubt makes us introspect and work hard on ourselves, only to get the best outcomes.
But what’s not okay is to stay in that state for too long, to the extent that it affects your work and your sales and just everything else around you.
So, here are my top ten ways to sabotage those doubts that hold you back from doing your best!
Shift the focus from “What if nobody buys my product” to “How can I ensure that my product enhances the lives of my customers?” Instead of asking yourself “What if I screw up my pitch?” ask yourself “How can I present my services in a much more desirable way in front of my potential clients?”
Instead of focussing on what’s lacking, focus on what you can do to become the best.
Just a minor adjustment in the way you approach a problem or a doubt, can be a total game-changer for you and your business!
You’ve endured worse situations before and have emerged victorious. Think about all those moments in the past, when you thought you wouldn’t be able to do it, and you proved yourself wrong. The geometry exam that you cleared, the first job interview that you cracked, that deal you cracked that was a turnaround for your previous company…
In moments of self-doubt, let your past victories restore your faith in yourself and inspire you to give your best shot!
This one should be obvious, but it isn’t really. When you’re running your own business, your skills are your currency and your knowledge is your power. If you’re lacking self-confidence, then there’s nothing like learning a new skill that will make you feel in complete control of your business. Learn a few online tools, take up an online course in finance, and learn some social media techniques! When you’re the whole and sole of your business then it is imperative that you have an overview of how every vertical functions. Also, read a lot and increase your knowledge about your sector, know more about your competition, know how the market forces can affect your business… just keep at it and your confidence will never take a blow!
We’re humans and we’re not endowed with superpowers that prevent us from making mistakes. Mistakes are an inevitable part of life; not just professional life, but personal life as well. So don’t fret if you’ve made more than a few mistakes, or maybe, even some blunders. Don’t be hard on yourself. After all, the purpose of making mistakes is to learn from them and become better as we move ahead. Take a deep breath every time you make a mistake, reflect, learn and move on!
Nurture yourself beyond your profession. Let’s be true to the old adage that says, “All work and no play make Jack a dull boy!” In order to keep moving forward, you need to nurture your soul by doing things that you thoroughly enjoy. Read a book that you haven’t been able to pick up, cook up your favourite dish or try a new recipe, create a painting, sing your favourite classic, break a leg on your favourite track, hangout with your best buddies; do everything that ignites your soul and provides you enough fuel to endure the roller-coaster life an entrepreneur.
Well, this one is a little different from counting your previous wins. Let’s accept it, sometimes life’s not all that bad as we make it to be. So, while you may encounter innumerable challenges at work, you will also have moments of triumphs, where you address certain problem areas in the best possible manner, successfully give a presentation that you thought you would screw up, crack that code that was stressing the sht out of you, or complete an article that you’ve been working on for over a week. It is these little things that take you towards your bigger goal. So, pause the *critique button and celebrate everything that is worth celebrating!
There are two sources of negativity; the first source is the people around you, well, at least some of them. There are some people who try to protect you from the worst, but do not realise that they’re manifesting negativity through comments like – “That’s too hard,” “What if you fail,” “Play safe!” The comments may also come from their own self doubts, but whatever the reason may be, you need to keep these people at bay.
In addition to this, surround yourself with people who boost your morale and encourage you to do your best. The second and the most important source of negativity is your own mind that keeps throwing all the negative scenarios at you. The best way to deal with this is to challenge them and exert your willpower to prove the negative voice wrong.
Your friend’s company just received a series B funding; your cousin just bought himself a brand new car from his savings; your best friend gets to party more than you do….
Stop! Just stop, already!
Everybody has their own journey to take and their own lessons to figure out. Some people start out early and some people start out late. Don’t compare your everything, with everybody else’s something.
What I mean is, you only know as much about people as they want you to know. You don’t know everyone’s back story. So, don’t take everyone’s success too seriously and instead, focus on how can you enhance your own life.
Ask yourself – “What’s the worst that could happen?” “How will I handle it?” – Well, the objective is not to de-motivate yourself, but in fact, it is to make yourself realize that things might not be as bad as you may anticipate them to be. Once you’ve done this exercise, then ask yourself what is it that you need to do, to avoid being in that situation. So, when you prepare yourself for the worst, you inevitably make yourself more strong and competent to deal with everything that is not-so-worse.
Patience is a virtue that every (wo)man must possess. Please understand that you’re setting up a business and not making ready-to-eat food (Yes, the analogy isn’t quite great, but you get the point, don’t you?) So, please understand that things will take time and that sometimes, good things come after a few bad ones. Embrace the fact that you will experience delayed gratification. Be it signing clients, getting more followers on social media or achieving targets; everything will happen at its own pace. Just keep doing your thing and wonders will find their way to you.
“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.”
Take that leap of faith and don’t let your self-doubt kill your dream!
First published here.
I am a business coach on a mission to help other women entrepreneurs in India
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