A successful serial entrepreneur once told me that he often has strong feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt when he begins a new project. However, he never lets those feelings stop him. He believes the jitters are a manifestation of passion, and he uses the energy they generate to keep moving forward.
A person isn't born with confidence. It's a trait you must nurture by taking daily steps to confront your own fears. Self-esteem and personal fortitude are characteristics you must decide to sharpen. Rather than allowing the fear of the unknown to lessen your personal power, draw on your strengths and trust in your entrepreneurial instinct, and you will propel your startup to amazing heights.
- Acknowledge self-doubt when it appears. "What ifs" can shake your self-belief. Separate your compunction from your confidence. Rather than beating yourself up for feeling doubtful, acknowledge it and let it pass. Your goal is not to rid yourself of negative feelings, but to empower yourself to take action even when you feel inadequate.
- Educate yourself with real-world experiences. Familiarity builds confidence and limits feelings of self-doubt. Investigate what other successful people have done to begin new projects and overcome roadblocks along the way. If you're launching a new product, research your marketplace by visiting stores and speaking to clerks and customers. Knowledge is power. It's your shield when someone disagrees with a business idea, and it's a sword to cut to the heart of what really matters. Learn workable strategies by connecting with experts, visiting a Small Business Development Center or researching at the library.
- Break out of your comfort zone by trying something new. Decision making and follow-through expand your confidence. By trying something new on a regular basis, you lessen your fear and learn you can manage and recover from any consequence.
Start with a small undertaking and then build upon it. It can be an activity you've been afraid to try, such as karate or scuba diving. Accomplishing goals provides concrete proof that you can achieve success.
- When you get stuck, develop a question of the day. You can overcome barriers to success by gathering the right information. When you become stuck, realize someone has been in your same situation. Form your obstacle into a question and ask colleagues and friends how to overcome it. Even if they don't know the answer, someone they know may give you insight that leads to an answer. Keep asking the question even after you get your first answer-you can use the information to create a workable solution.
As a friend of mine likes to say, "Get out of the way of you." Be comfortable with who you are and boost your confidence rather than be fearful. When you respect yourself, you'll be amazed at the opportunities the world presents you.
Romanus Wolter, aka "The Kick Start Guy," is author of Kick Start Your Success and Kick Start Your Dream Business. Write to him firstname.lastname@example.org.