These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.
1. Remember That Self-Doubt Is Natural and Healthy
Here is a secret: Everyone doubts themselves at some point. Doubt is natural and healthy, especially when you first begin dipping your toes into new waters. You have the choice: You can tiptoe into entrepreneurship or jump headfirst. Risk will surround you either way, but what you can control is your own energy and response to hardships. Just don’t let doubt keep you on the sidelines forever.
2. Find a Trusted Mentor
Find a mentor or a like-minded community. You’ll often come across naysayers while on your entrepreneurial journey, which can lead to self-doubt. The best way to overcome this is by finding someone who’s already achieved what you’re after, or to surround yourself with other people who are on a similar journey (i.e. starting their own companies). Having a supportive community is key to success.
3. Write a Desire Statement
Assuage self-doubt by writing a desire statement. This is the goal and reason for why you show up to work every day. Write down what you want to attain and, more importantly, why this is important to you. Read that statement every morning before starting work and at the end of your day to serve as a powerful reminder of your purpose for being an entrepreneur and the importance of your work!
4. Change Your Mindset
Learn to productively process the criticism, failures and setbacks. This helps you to frame situations with more of a positive mindset since it’s easy to feel down when things aren’t going your way. However, accepting that growth doesn’t happen in a straight line and then using each road bump as a learning opportunity can enable you to overcome doubt and embrace the learning process.
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5. Take a Break
Take a break from your work and do something else. It doesn’t matter what you do, but it will give you a chance to clear your head and get perspective on your work. Some entrepreneurs find it hard to build their confidence because they feel like they need to work all the time. But that’s not the case. Taking breaks can be beneficial for you and help you feel better about yourself.
6. Gradually Challenge Yourself
At a certain point, the only way to properly build your confidence is to go out into the world on your own and make things happen. Try to get small wins under your belt and gradually challenge yourself and your abilities in small ways, increasing the stakes as your abilities and confidence grows.
7. Track Your Progress
Writing out your daily progress reminds you that you are progressing. Having monthly check-ins allows you to reflect on where you were and where you are against where you planned to be. This is effective because it ensures you are on track and mentally assures you that you are progressing.
8. Build a Support System
Surround yourself with like-minded people. When you have a support system of entrepreneurs, it becomes more difficult to let self-doubt get in your way. Learn from those who have the success you’re after. Connect with mentors and consultants. It’s this personal growth that will help you build your confidence as an entrepreneur.
9. Develop Your Whole Self
If you derive your personal value only from entrepreneurship, you will have a rough time — especially early on. The best way I learned to develop self-confidence was to grow as a whole person. If you continually focus on improving your leadership, skill set, mindset and physical and spiritual health, the areas you have doubts in will be drowned out by the competence and confidence developed all around.
10. Think About Your Past Achievements
We all have our bad days when we start doubting our capabilities. At such times, think about your past achievements. This trick works because it helps you remember what you’re capable of and motivates you to continue working harder to achieve your goals.
11. Trust in Your Reason
As entrepreneurs, we don’t always understand the path or how to get the results we want. We do understand that we will do whatever it takes to get there because there is an internal factor that causes us to push on when we don’t have all the answers. Focus on that internal push and trust in your reason for pursuing your purpose. The rest will fall into place.
12. Remember Your ‘Why’
Recognize that doubt is OK. You need to be willing to take a risk and give your all while doubting yourself. If you start feeling self-doubt, remember why you are in the business. You started your business for a reason. Don’t ever forget that reason. That will help you feel your doubt and then turn it into a strength. Appreciate yourself and all of your talents!