3 Ways to Overcome Stress and Doubt as an Entrepreneur
Experiencing stress and self-doubt as an entrepreneur is inevitable. Here's how you can overcome it.
Discussions on stress and doubt are widespread because we all deal with them daily. Both come and go in waves. They ebb and flow through our subconscious thoughts. They are part of the reality of being an entrepreneur.
Most people think there will be a point in their entrepreneurial journey where they'll stop experiencing stress and self-doubt, but they couldn't be further from the truth. There will never be a point in your life as an entrepreneur where you will stop experiencing stress or self-doubt.
Do highly successful entrepreneurs experience stress and self-doubt just like you and me? Absolutely. But successful entrepreneurs build themselves into someone proficient in overcoming stress and self-doubt.
Before I give you the three ways to overcome stress and self-doubt, you must understand that stress and self-doubt are rooted in the same thought process. It's a mental head game of, "What if?"
- What if I spend every second building this company from scratch, and it flops?
- What if I build a great product and no one buys it?
- What if I go all in and end up going broke?
- What if this is harder than I thought and I have to get a job and move in with my parents?
- What if it doesn't work and I look foolish to my friends and family?
The "What if?" mental game is focused on the future and the hypothetical adverse events created in your mind. This mental game is worthless and counterproductive to achieving your goals. The answers to your mental "What if?" questions are out of your control and are unknown. Focusing on things that are out of your control and unknown is causing you to stress and doubt yourself. Expecting yourself to handle things that have not happened yet and may never occur undermines your self-confidence and creates uneasy feelings. To become successful, you'll need to learn to eliminate the negative "What if?" question from your mental dialogue and replace it with questions like: "what if I pull this off?", "what if this works?" or "what if people love my product or service too much?"
To achieve this, you'll need to be productive. The cure for stress and self-doubt is always productive actions. Productive, not busy. It would help if you focused on what you can control and what you can do to create a situation where you're not feeling as bad as you would.
There are three ways to overcome stress and self-doubt: expectations, tools and motive. Understanding how to operate these three tools will significantly reduce your stress and self-doubt.
So many entrepreneurs struggle with stress and self-doubt because their expectations for business and life are misaligned with reality — thinking that you can build a 9-figure business quickly and efficiently is impractical. Building a successful business is a 24-hour, 7-day, 365 days a year job. It's all-encompassing, draining, exhausting, humiliating and demanding. It could be that way for the next 10 to 20 years.
Chances are, you haven't come to terms with the amount of effort it takes to live at that level for the rest of your life. You're trying to give temporary effort to ease and comfort later. That is not how success works.
Remind yourself that it's supposed to be complicated. It's hard for the most experienced and skilled entrepreneurs. You have to come to an understanding of the difficulty of an exceptional life and business. Instead of focusing on how hard things will be, focus on overcoming them.
You will be more confident if you are equipped with the right tools. Most elite performers are not more intelligent or talented than you. They have the proper expectations and understand the value of their tools. They find the tools that help them succeed and develop the tools needed to succeed. They're loyal to those tools and rely on those tools over and over again.
Going to your tools and getting results will cure your stress and self-doubt. When you feel like you're off track, you can go back to your tools, and they can quickly get you back on track. Your tools can be both mental and physical. Working out, fasting, reading, journaling, a vision board, consulting with your coach, mentor, or mastermind group, taking a vacation or traveling are all tools you may use. These are all tools I use to keep myself on track. The tools you use should cure your stress and self-doubt consistently.
This tool is simple but fundamental to your success. Change your perspective from trying to sell to people to serve them. When you put your customer's interest ahead of yours, you come to a place of business understanding.
Business is not all about making money. It's about solving people's problems. You must want to help people, serve them and improve their lives with your product or service. You have to be driven by wanting to provide value to the customer or client. When you do that, you get value in return through loyalty, sales and excellent relationships.
To summarize, elite performers overcome stress and self-doubt in three different ways. They set the expectation that success is hard and it involves real struggle and failure. It's not going to be easy. You'll need to discover and develop the tools you can use and trust to overcome obstacles. And lastly, people who prioritize helping others will see long-term success.
Related: Starting a Business That People Need
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