All entrepreneurs experience self-doubt at one point or another. It is an unavoidable part of the entrepreneurial journey, but that doesn’t make it feel any less awful.
While I can’t tell you how to completely banish self-doubt from your life (I’m still working on that as a CEO myself), I can share with you a few of the practical reminders I give myself and approaches I take when I sense those feelings creeping up on me. I hope these bring you some comfort as you learn how to navigate the not-so-glamorous side of life as a CEO.
Tip #1: Reflect On Your Progress So Far
It is so easy to get swept up in all the difficulty that comes with running your own business. The decisions, the people relying on you — it all adds up to a lot of pressure. When you find yourself feeling doubtful about your own abilities during moments of stress, look inward and reflect on all of your objective achievements. What progress have you made since starting out? What are some of your most proud moments? Can you think of other stressful situations where you came out the other side stronger and better off? This type of reflection can be incredibly grounding and remind you of how far you’ve come in the grand scheme of things.
Tip #2: Remember That Feelings Are Not Facts
The truth is that your feelings are just that — feelings. You might be experiencing a multitude of negative feelings and emotions during moments of self-doubt, but you have to constantly remind yourself that those feelings are not rooted in factual evidence. Feeling a certain way does not make it true, and it does not mean that feeling will prevail. Feelings are a moment in time — treat them as such.
Tip #3: Remove Negativity From Your Life
If self-doubt is something you struggle with, you don’t need to surround yourself with people or environments that add onto those feelings. Take inventory of who you spend the majority of your time with and how those individuals make you feel. If they no longer serve you, you may want to minimise the amount of influence they have over you and seek out the company of people who uplift and inspire you. This goes for team members and clients as well as personal connections.
Tip #4: Re-Frame It
As we’ve already established, experiencing doubt does not mean your thoughts or belief patterns are true. Your self-doubt is actually a protection mechanism from the unknown. Your brain is afraid of the pain that comes with potential failure, so it tries to protect you by scaring you. Once you understand this, you can treat yourself a bit more gently and allow yourself to let go of that protection and embrace the unknown.
Tip #5: Embrace It
What if you let your self-doubt fuel you into being the best possible leader and CEO you can be? I don’t mean let it consume you — but instead, allow it to motivate you to truly think deeply about your plans, make meaningful decisions, and challenge your preconceptions about what it means to run a business. All successful entrepreneurs have faced similar doubts and kept going anyway, because they let those doubts be the thing that forced them out of their comfort zone and into action.
Tip #6: Trust Yourself
If you start to compromise on the way you run your business and what you stand for, you may lose yourself along the way. But if you’re able to confidently back up the opinions, ideas, content, and value you share with the world, you will KNOW that you’re staying true to yourself and attracting the right customers for the right reasons. Trust your intuition — it exists for a reason!
If you’re a new or seasoned leader and you struggle with self-doubt, know that you’re not alone. Self-doubt is natural, and it only exists because you care and want to do your best! Never let it be the thing that holds you back from your dream.
To take a deeper dive into your mindset and truly explore the limiting beliefs and thought patterns that may be negatively impacting your ability to lead, book in with me for a 90-minute intensive to carve out a plan as to how to move forward.