How to Break Through Fear and Self-Doubt
A Note From The Editor
Think your company has what it takes to make our Top Company Cultures list? Apply now.Apply now »
Fear and self-doubt plague all of us. To the degree you can overcome your insecurities, you will experience freedom to be yourself and reach your full potential as an entrepreneur. The most important thing to understand is that everyone experiences these scary emotions to some degree, regardless of how confident and self-assured people may seem.
After I made a recent presentation at Google's New York office, an audience member asked me, "How do you become so self-assured and confident?" I responded: "How do you know I am self-confident? The truth is you don't know what I am experiencing inside, only I know that. You have the impression that I am self-assured and confident, but you don't know that for sure."
We continued to talk about the importance of confidence versus fear, and I left the presentation alarmed over how big this issue is. Because I have witnessed so many individuals who stop themselves from ever getting started because of that tormenting self-doubt, I decided to write down the things I do to handle it. Follow these five tips when fear and insecurity strike:
1. Don't forget that it's normal. When you are fearful or insecure, remind yourself that you're simply feeling what most other people experience. You are probably doing something that is new for you or that you are excited about. Fear is a normal feeling, and I would be more concerned if you didn't experience it.
2. Fill your calendar. The busier I stay, the more confident I am. Never allow too much white space on your calendar and you will not experience fear. I tell people, "If you want to meet the devil, just have too much free time on your hands." Doubt loves the person with lots of time for thinking about himself and stirring up negative feelings.
3. Embrace fear. For me, fear has become the indicator of the things I actually need to and must do--and that have had the greatest payoff. Do what you are scared to do and watch your confidence grow. I am not suggesting you need to take physical risks, but that you should make the call you are most scared of. Regardless of the results, you will walk away inspired that you did it rather than thinking less of yourself for not taking action.
4. Go beyond your comfort zones. Very successful people don't seek comfort; they seek success and are willing to do what is most uncomfortable. But most of the world is seeking comfort and familiarity, which are traps that cause you to settle for the mediocre. If you want to get to the next level of your business, you've got to be comfortable being uncomfortable.
5. Take '10X' Actions. Albert Einstein said imagination is more important than knowledge, but I will take massive action over either. I am not the smartest guy or the most creative, but I assure you that if I operate at activity levels 10 times my competition, I will dominate. I never use the word "action" in the singular because I have never found one action to be effective enough that it didn't require a follow up. Multiply whatever you think is required by 10 and become a machine of action. If you do that, I assure you that your fear will subside.