Overcoming Self Doubt

Experts cite a wide variety of reasons for why new businesses fail within the first couple years. Some of these reasons include poor planning, underestimating real costs, bad management. But the primary factor that causes new businesses to crumble is under capitalization. In other words, not enough money. In particular, not enough reserves to ride out the lean times typical of new ventures.

On a personal level, many aspiring (creative) types—novelists, designers, app developers, soccer moms, life coaches—fall victim to the same cause. Specifically, under confidence capitalization.

Too many times, we lack the vault of inner reserves necessary to ride out the lean times—mental, emotional, spiritual, physical—in our lives.

You know how it goes. You get a flash of inspiration and go, “Wow, that’s great! I am so excited about this idea.” And for a few days you’re really pumped. You dive into research and information, gobbling up everything you can. And then…

Self doubt begins to creep in.

You start second guessing yourself. You start to reconsider. You focus on logistics and timelines and plausibility. And you begin to think, “Gee, do I really even care about this that much?”

And as quickly as the inspiration came in, it goes out the door.

Lord knows how many projects I have started and abandoned over the last 20 years. I don’t know. Like, a million?

And it all boiled down to one thing. Forget about financing, website designs, investors, solid business plans, whatever. When you scrape away all the surface reasons why I thought it couldn’t be done, the real reason was I didn’t think I had it in me to do it. Good old fashioned self doubt. Period.

At this point you’re all probably nodding your heads vigorously. Yes, yes, we’ve all been there before. So what do we do about it?

A couple of things.

First, acknowledge that for all intents and purposes, most of the time we really don’t have to do anything about it. Not really. I mean, sure we’d like to accomplish all our goals and dreams, but we’re probably not going to literally die if we don’t. So go easy on yourself.

Second, you need to invest in the time and energy necessary to get okay with yourself. Really dig deep and learn who you are at a core level. Because trust me, when you do you’re going to see something really amazing. As much as we humans are alike, each of us is so unbelievably unique it’s frightening. There is only one you and one me on the whole planet. And sometimes that scares us.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” –Marianne Williamson

I like to draw. But no one draws exactly the way I do. I like to design logos and brand identity. But no other designer designs like I do. I like to write. But nobody writes the way I write. (Probably some of you are thinking thank goodness for that!).

And that is all good, useful information. Understanding my uniqueness is real power. That’s the source of my internal capital. That is the juice that allows me to ride out the lean times. That is the compass I can fall back on when I get lost up inside my head.

That is how I overcome self doubt.

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