If there’s one thing I have found the most powerful – both in a positive and negative way – during my journey with entrepreneurship, it’s that of self-doubt. Some days it’s so easy to find my confidence and groove with my work, while others I sit there and stare at a project wondering how to pursue something new.
Recently I read The Upside of Being Down by Jen Gotch, owner of Ban.do. When I say I have never read a book that I’ve connected to more, I am not being dramatic. Besides the point, at one point in her book, she says that “both the news media and social media have glorified the hustle (and the resulting success as if that’s always a guarantee) in ways that make most of us feel like we’re failing, even when we’re not.”
The self-doubt I have experienced throughout my journey is often a result of one of a few things: comparison, lack of background in a very specified area of marketing or branding, or, not seeing the results or success that seemed to be an obvious if I did my business “the right way.”
I think it’s important to share every part of the journey, both the good and the bad. And while I might have a seemingly confident spirit, there are still times I experience self-reflection and questioning. I don’t think I would be a true entrepreneur if I didn’t. My self-doubt has in turn fueled my passion and desire for my work and the urge to connect with like-minded individuals and share our experiences. The most important takeaways I have found from self-doubt are seemingly positive – and have helped me grow and evolve in ways I didn’t think possible.
- It has pushed me out of my comfort zone – if there’s an area I feel less confident in, I have been able to go out and learn more about it. For example, I kept getting asks in graphic design, so I researched courses and got a certificate in graphic design.
- It has taught me to reach out to other creatives, as well as people in my circle, just to run ideas past, bounce off input and get good feedback. My Mom, truth be told, has been a huge business advisor to me, and has given me loads of ideas and reflective statements that have assisted with my self-confidence. Take advantage of both those close to you with business experience, as well as those weaker ties that can provide fresh insight or connections.
- It has shown me that success looks different for everyone and every business, and the important factor is that you feel capable and achieved within the boundaries of what you want your success to be – and that those boundaries aren’t always a straight line and can evolve to.
- I have found that failing has helped develop a stronger sense of the areas I want to push myself or learn more, rather than simply viewing them as a failure. They have motivated me and provided me with skills I hadn’t previously experienced.
- It has helped me pull in new hobbies, interests and motivation for these activities I hadn’t been participating in before. I have far more interest in reading everything and anything I can get my hands on, I love spending time meditating or reflecting on my days and experiences.
- It has helped me feel comfortable with feelings of self-doubt and encouraged me to take a moment to reflect on why I am feeling that way – which has helped me to understand areas I can reflect on and spend more time on.