How to Overcome Doubt When Building a Business

Falling in love with a dream is like falling in love with a person. In the beginning, it’s as if you have the heart eyes emoji stamped to your face at all times. You even sort of stalk your dream like you do the new person you’re dating, but instead of Facebook, your tool of choice is Google. You find out everything there is to know about this dream and your excitement level is through the roof. However, there comes a time when you start to experience cycles of doubt. You begin to wonder if this thing is really going to work out and if your over-opinionated sister-in-law, Carol, was right about this business idea being a flop. It's totally okay to feel this way, but it's important that you don't let this doubt stand in the way of pursuing your dream business.

Here are six simple but practical tips for showing doubt the door:

1. Enjoy figuring out the process

Maybe where you’re at right now isn't ideal, but there is something to be said for finding joy in the journey of it all. Once we make the decision to follow our dreams and start a business, we must trust that we will eventually figure it out. So instead of letting this time period where you are figuring it out frustrate you, embrace it. Oftentimes in the beginning stages of building a business, the reason we go into research overdrive is because we want to avoid messing up. However, there really is no such thing as messing up, it’s all just trial and error.

This can be easier said than done, so I want to invite you to take a little journey back to 7th grade science class. I’m sure you remember that for every experiment, your teacher asked you to form a hypothesis. This is because scientists never assume that every experiment they do is going to work out. However, they don’t let this doubt stand in their way. If something doesn’t work out, they simply tweak and repeat and they seem to enjoy this process because it’s part of the fun for them. Can you imagine if everything always worked out on the first try? How boring would that be? Part of the fun is testing out a bunch of things and doing an awkward happy dance when one of them finally works. Embrace your journey, boss babe.

2. Create a vision board

Feelings of doubt typically come from an inability to see the future clearly. Human problems, am I right? Well, unfortunately, I have no tips for how to actually see the future, but a vision board is the next best thing. Simply cut out pictures, words, and phrases that represent your ideal life and glue them to a giant piece of paper. Then, put this vision board somewhere that you will see it every day. Lastly, commit to spending 3-5 minutes each morning looking at the board and visualizing everything on there coming to life. The more you can see these things becoming a reality, the less doubt you will have.

3. Keep a record of your progress

As entrepreneurs, we tend to set these huge goals for ourselves and we don’t allow ourselves to be happy until we achieve them. The problem with that is, big goals take time and if we wait months or even years in between celebrations, we are going to get discouraged and give up. So make sure to celebrate the small wins as well as the big ones. Did you wake up an hour early to work on your side hustle before going to your 9–5? That’s a win. Did you receive a thoughtful, kind comment on your most recent Instagram post? That’s a win too. Wins do not always have to be tied to money. A fun way to add these little celebrations into your routine is to start a gratitude journal. Write down 1 small win at the end of each day and when you’re starting to feel doubtful, open that baby up and remind yourself of all the amazing things you’ve achieved so far.

4. Identify when your doubt shows up

Practice a little business mindfulness and be conscious about when doubt shows up in your life. Is it always after a family dinner or a shopping trip with a certain group of friends? Doubt is highly contagious. Or maybe its when you are scrolling through Instagram and see that someone in your field just received an amazing opportunity that you wish you had. Comparison is the Hunger Games of dreams. It’s important to figure out the exact moments that doubt shows up in your life, so when it happens again, you can say to yourself, “This is just one of my triggers” and keep pushing through. Over the next two weeks, write down what is going on every time you feel doubtful. At the end of the two weeks, circle the common themes, and there you go — those are your triggers. Now that you are aware of them, you can overcome them.

5. Interrupt your worry with a boost of positivity

Spend 15–30 minutes with a podcast or book that pumps you up. Doubt may be contagious, but so is optimism. Taking this short amount of time to yourself to get inspired, is sure to boost your confidence in your business and in yourself. If you are in need of a few suggestions, check these out:

  • How I Built This Podcast 

  • The Goal Digger Podcast by Jenna Kutcher

  • You Are a Badass book by Jen Sincero.

  • Anxiety Is A Freakin' Bitch by Heather Rae Blue (Shameless self promotion, duh).

6. Find a Mentor

Sometimes all we really need is for someone to tell us that we can do it. A mentor has often been in your exact shoes, so they know everything is going to work out and they can also offer amazing advice. It's basically like having your own personal Oprah on speed dial. If their schedule allows for it, set up a standing meeting with your mentor at least once a quarter. This way, in your moments of extreme doubt, you can remember that you will be able to talk your mentor about whatever is worrying you on a specific date. If you need help finding a mentor, start here:  

  • Local women’s networking groups and events in your city such as Creative Buffet Conference

  • Facebook Groups related to your industry

  • LinkedIn

You’ve got this, without a doubt!

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