As entrepreneurs, it can feel like we live in an alternate universe, battling unique challenges and dealing with a whole new set of parameters. It can be overwhelming and disheartening, and at times make us just want to give up and go back to the road well-traveled. But deep down, we know we need to see things through and push through the doubt to emerge on the other side, stronger and closer to achieving our goals.
With that in mind, in today’s post I’d like to talk about the biggest threat entrepreneurs face, and how to overcome it.
In short, the biggest threat to your success as an entrepreneur is yourself.
“But why?” you may ask. “Aren’t you the captain of your ship? Aren’t you the one who made the choice to pursue this path? And aren’t you the one who wants to succeed so badly?”
While the reality is that yes, as entrepreneurs, we are generally the drivers of our own destiny, we can also be the drivers of our challenges. And that’s for a few critical reasons that can’t be ignored.
As en entrepreneur, the path you’ve chosen is different.
In most cases, different from your parents, different from your friends, different from your peers. Different from the path you started on. Different from what you thought you were going to grow up to do. Different from the status quo.
Doing something different means that people may not understand or support you the way you wish they would. It means fewer tools, role models, and resources. It means rough terrain instead of paved roads.
Different is isolating. And when you don’t have a neat answer to the question “So what do you do for a living?” or you get a blank stare when you share your vision, it becomes all too clear. It feels like you’re on an island while everyone else is landlocked.
As en entrepreneur, the path you’ve chosen is difficult.
Building a business from the ground up in an increasingly competitive market is, without a doubt, challenging. It involves learning new skills, not simply relying on your subject matter of expertise or what you’re comfortable doing. It takes hours upon hours of hard work and dedication. And it takes pushing yourself to the next level to achieve results. If it were easy, everyone would do it.
As en entrepreneur, the path you’ve chosen takes time.
Pounding the pavement for a sprint is one thing; running a marathon is another. Building a business takes time and time takes patience. You need to sustain a level of passion, drive, and work ethic over the long haul. And as your business grows, so will the challenges. You’re playing the long game.
With all that in mind, it’s no wonder entrepreneurs doubt themselves or doubt their ability to succeed. It can feel like the cards are stacked against you. And wouldn’t it be so much easier to just revert back to a common path? To cruise on down that paved road? To have a neat answer to “What do you do?” And be able to show up at 9, leave at 5, and collect your paycheque?
You, as a entrepreneur will doubt yourself. It’s just human nature. But how can you battle those doubts and shift your mindset towards a more positive disposition? Here are my top suggestions.
Spend Time with Your Best Self
Reflect on the standout moments in your life and career where you were truly your best self. Presentations you nailed, awards you won, and victories achieved. Chances are, in those moments, you exemplified the skills and characteristics that make you uniquely poised to succeed with your business. So take some time to reflect and give yourself credit.
As a bonus, visualizing this past success will help with your overall confidence. Interested in learning more about how to use visualization for success? My book has a whole chapter about it!
Write Out Your Why
Chances are, you chose the entrepreneurial path for good reason. It aligns with your values, helps you solve a problem in a meaningful way, or lets you unlock the lifestyle you dream of.
It can be easy to forget our “why” or our purpose. Life gets busy and our broader vision can get buried in the day-to-day. But keeping it top of mind can reinvigorate our drive and motivate us.
Spend some time writing out your why. This could be a journaling exercise, some rough notes on a piece of paper, or even a Bhavana (a great tool my life coach taught me!) You may be pleasantly surprised at the results.
Look at Your Comfort Zone Differently
As I mentioned above, taking an entrepreneurial path puts us squarely outside our comfort zone which can lead to challenges including alienation and loneliness. But what about all the positives associated with doing something different? And the magic that can happen when we stretch and push ourselves?
I’ve written an entire post about how to work through doubts when leaving your comfort zone, so check that out to uncover the specific strategies you can use.
As I share in my post about how to celebrate your success, there are numerous ways we can take stock of how far we’ve come and truly revel in this achievement. Make sure to take time to stop, reflect, and treat yo’self for the progress made. It will give you that positive reinforcement needed to continue.
Looking for more motivation? My post 6 Simple Truths to Help You Conquer the Monday Blues shares some inspirational quotes that can give you an injection of positivity and reassurance. In fact, I remind myself of those truths when I get disheartened myself.
What advice do you have for entrepreneurs dealing with doubt and mindset challenges? Leave a comment and let us know!
P.S. What is your work personality? Take this quiz to find out!