Self-Doubt is a Real Issue for Entrepreneurs
Have you ever done something so dumb that you start to wonder if you should be allowed to drive…to have children…to work a job? Am I even competent enough to order at a restaurant? I am sure some of you reading have felt like this before. At least, I really hope some of you instantly connected with this feeling. If not, I feel overexposed and all for the sake of transparency. :) Self-doubt is a killer!
In all seriousness, everyone feels self-doubt at times. For me, it creeps up at the most inconvenient, unexpected times. Like on a random day when I was reading about SEO (search engine optimization). When I finished Chapter 5, out of the blue, I began to ask myself who I thought I was to understand this information and actually to implement any of it on my site and in my content.
Really, I don’t even know where those questions came from! One moment I am just reading and growing my knowledge of SEO during my sons’ naptime. The next moment, I am on the verge of tears proclaiming myself the dumbest person on the planet.
Oh, Now I Remember
Once I put a halt to the pity party that I immediately joined as I declared myself the dumbest person ever, I started dissecting my thoughts and determining where these powerful, negative thoughts came from.
I suddenly remembered an event from earlier in the day. I realized that this event spurred the overwhelming rush of self-doubt.
My two young sons and I went to a recycling center close to our house. As I got out of the truck and reached to open my youngest son’s door, I realized it was locked. So, I reached for my driver’s door to press the unlock button. As I yanked the door, it did not budge either; it was locked as well!
Immediately, my mind and heart start racing! What am I going to do? My phone and keys are in the locked truck along with my 2 young sons. One important thing to know…my husband was working out of town this week. And, I always have some crazy thing happen when he works out of town. It seemed this week’s catastrophe would be locking myself out of the truck with my young sons locked inside. Awesome! I am really rocking this mother thing! (Written with a lot of sarcasm.)
I began asking my oldest son to unbuckle himself from his seatbelt so he can get the keys to me. He was doing his very best…really trying to be a hero through his panic and tears. In the meantime, I was mentally planning my trek to the high school that was close to get help while on my hands and knees in the gravel looking for a hide-a-key under the truck.
Also, during these 2 frantic minutes, I prayed to God for help and for Him to help my son unbuckle his car seat. (Trust me…there was a lot going on in this instance even though an innocent bystander would just see a crazy woman talking to herself with her butt in the air looking under a truck. Because the back windows are tinted, the hypothetical bystander would not see my oldest son wrestling his car seat like it was a wild bear.)
And, Then He Whispers
Then, God whispered to me, “Ask J to just unlock his door.”
WELL…DUH! Thank you, Lord, for speaking common sense into me, I thought…no, screamed… to myself.
I asked J to unlock his door, which he quickly did because he is FOUR YEARS OLD, not an infant like my frazzled mind pictured him the moment I realized my keys were locked in the truck.
With J’s door open, I easily unlocked the other doors, and we were saved...from a catastrophe that wasn’t really even an event. (Notice, though, it didn’t keep me from writing about it.)
Self-Doubt as an Entrepreneur
I realized 2 things that day. First, because my safety net, aka my husband, was out of town, I immediately jumped to the worst conclusions—my children are forever locked into the truck and will not be released without windows crashed, police called, or the whole local high school being involved. I already was on edge because subconsciously I knew my husband was not an option for parental help this week; I was on my own. (Side note: I actually am surrounded by a great family and wonderful friends. But, when my best friend/spouse is not around, I often feel alone. I am sure some of you can relate.)
So, what does that have to do with entrepreneurship? It has a lot to do with it! When we step out of our comfort zone to create a new product, post to social media, learn about website design, or just tell a friend about our new endeavor, we put ourselves on edge; we push ourselves to our limits. We are no longer living in our safety nets. In this fragile state of mind, a little bump in the road instantly feels like a devastating loss.
Second, I let an earlier setback define me later that day. After “rescuing” my children from the truck, I mentally beat myself up rest of the day. Why didn’t I instantly think about J unlocking his door as soon as I realized mine was locked? What a moron I was!
These negative thoughts still nibbled away later that afternoon as I read about SEO! WHAT??!!
The moral here—self-doubt in one area of our lives can negatively impact us as entrepreneurs. Or, one setback with our new business or new idea makes every task of this endeavor feel impossible.
These feelings of self-doubt are only natural because we are trying something new. So, recognize the self-doubt when it hits you, own it, and then fight against it.
A Powerful Verse
As I wrote this post, one of my favorite Bible verses came to mind.
For God does not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7 NIV
On the really hard days, this verse reminds me to pick myself up and get back to it (working, exercising, playing with my boys, cooking, etc.).
With a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline…given to us by God Himself...there is no room for self-doubt!
A Call to Action
When feelings of self-doubt begin to creep in on you, repeat this verse to yourself. Share it with others too when they need to hear how marvelously God designed us. If you have another verse that strengthens you during moments of self-doubt, please share it in the Comments Section; I know we all would appreciate it.
Just for Fun
Also while I wrote this post, the song “All Star” by Smash Mouth came on the radio. I turned it up as loud as I could and began singing. It was not a pretty sight or a pretty sound! But, it made me feel good…rejuvenated! You may want to give it a try too! In the words of Smash Mouth, “Only shooting stars break the mold.” Go break the mold!