How to overcome self-doubt as an entrepreneur
Updated: Feb 27
You've made it! You're here! You've made the big leap and you're an entrepreneur.
Cue the banner and balloons!
Now, you no longer have to deal with indecision, fear, or Imposter Syndrome. And your confidence overflows with every cold-call you get to make.
EEEEHHHHH (that's a game show buzzer in case you couldn't tell.)
That's not exactly how it goes.
One of the biggest myths in business is that once you've "made it" that you'll no longer doubt that you can do it. That it'll all just wash away. That's kinda like saying that once you drop 20 pounds, brownies will no longer seem like a good idea for breakfast (false, they're ALWAYS a good idea for breakfast.)
Self-doubt comes with the territory. Pretty sure the quote should have ended, "With great power comes great responsibility...and a hefty amount of "What the heck am I doing?"
The difference between great leaders and not-so-great leaders isn't their their lack of self-doubt. It's what they do with it when it inevitably comes.
Here's three tips on how to handle self-doubt as an entrepreneur:
1. Realize you're not alone.
Wanna know a GREAT way to make your self-doubt skyrocket?
Tell yourself you're the only one.
You're the only one who ever questions whether they've made the right decisions. The only one who is ever unclear about the next direction they should take their business. The only one who isn't quite sure they can hack it.
This is the BIGGEST and one of the most damaging lies you can tell yourself as an entrepreneur. When you think you're the only one who struggles with it, it not only instantly isolates you but also makes the situation seem 100x worse.
Every single leader you've ever seen at the head of a company, on stage in front of thousands, with their name at the bottom of a best-seller struggles with self-doubt. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, John Maxwell, Patrick Lencioni. They've all been there.
Welcome to the club.
2. Don't confuse your role with your worth.
Being the head honcho can be pretty life-consuming. It can be really difficult to take time off, set and keep work boundaries, or ever turn your brain off work-mode. Because if you do, something might fall between the cracks. And that might mean something fails. Which would mean you failed and, in turn, are a failure.
Gosh, there's just no hope in that.
When you confuse your role with your worth, you're tying your self-worth to the wrong things. In fact, you're equating how much money someone will pay you for your products or services with your value as a human. And those two things could not possibly be more unrelated. Our self-worth has nothing to do with our net-worth.
3. Do it scared.
We all know bravery isn't NOT being afraid of something. You can bet firefighters running into a burning building are scared. But they do it anyway.
And that's sort of how it goes as an entrepreneur. No, you probably aren't running into burning buildings. But you are innovating, creating, and leading. And I'd bet that might seem just as intimidating. But you don't get to let that stop you. You get to keep pushing beyond, keep growing, and keep climbing. Even if it's hecka scary.
Entrepreneurship isn't for everyone. It's not for people who don't like to work hard. It's not for people who give up when things are difficult.
But it is for people who, at times, get nervous that they aren't gonna hack it. Who feel like everyone's going to find out that they're faking their way through it. Who are scared.
And those who do it anyway.