Dear Brit: 'Self-Doubt Is Eating Me Up. What Tools Can I Use to Boost My Confidence?' In her advice column for 'Entrepreneur,' Brit Morin talks about how she keeps her self-esteem afloat (bring on the vision boards), and the top habits she credits for her success.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Brit Morin was 25 when she left Google to start Brit + Co, a lifestyle and education company aimed at helping women cultivate creative confidence. Now — 10 years, $50 million in funding and 1.2 billion pageviews later — Brit's passion is empowering more women to take the entrepreneurial leap. She's a managing partner at VC fund Offline Ventures, host of iHeartRadio podcast Teach Me Something New, creator of a 10-week start your own business course for women founders called "Selfmade," and, most recently — Entrepreneur advice columnist. Find her here twice a month on Thursdays, answering the most personal and pressing questions of women entrepreneurs. Have a question for Brit? Email it to Dearbrit@brit.co and she could answer it in an upcoming column!
Paint a picture of the future to channel your inner boss lady
Dear Brit: What are some practical tools I can use to boost my confidence?
As a lifelong over-achiever, I'm my own biggest critic. And judging from the thousands of entrepreneurs I work with, I can assume that you probably are, too. I remember when I was first starting Brit + Co, I kept refreshing the analytics page to see if our traffic was growing or if anyone was commenting or engaging in our content. In the beginning, the numbers were very up and down, never linear. Some days were great, others sucked. I blamed myself and kept telling myself that I wasn't good enough or experienced enough to figure out how to scale a company.
Be wary of this inner critic. Her negative energy can manifest itself in all different parts of your business — from the team you surround yourself with to the way you show up for your customers.
Instead, practice two things: painting the big picture and the small picture.
The Big Picture
Call me woo-woo, but I'm a big believer in manifesting and vision boards. You can't achieve what you can't believe. So whip out a sheet of paper and write down 3-5 things that you desire in the next 12 months. The key part is that they MUST be believable realities. I'm sure you ultimately want a $100M business, but for now, maybe a $100k or $1M business feels achievable. Write that number down. Once done, hang this somewhere that you can see every single day and remember to believe in yourself to get it done.
The Small Picture
One of my greatest mentors once told me: "Do one thing every day that pushes the ball forward." The reality is that we live in a culture where everyone wants to move very quickly. But if you have a narrow enough focus (pick one key metric for your business) and you do one thing every day to advance towards that goal, I bet you'll be more confident in both yourself and the possibility of what you're able to achieve each day. In addition, you'll be happier about how long term success turns out once these small efforts start to snowball into something bigger.
Staying in the focus zone while getting out of the comfort zone
Dear Brit: What are some habits you've developed over the years that contribute to your success?
As an entrepreneur, CEO and VC, I've learned a lot over the years and here are some of my top tips:
Determine what time of day you work best. For me, it's the mornings. Thus, I try to schedule at least 1-2 hours of "deep work" (e.g. no meetings) for the AM hours. I also try to end my meetings by 3pm as I'm usually quite tired of socializing by that time of day. Instead, I add on another couple of hours of deep work to catch up on email and anything else I missed before heading home to the fam.
Data, data, data. I start my day looking at our metrics every day. If something is wildly up (or down), I want to know why immediately. It's also a useful way to determine if we're working on things that are actually moving the needle.
Be a people person. This one can be tough if you're introverted, but so much of entrepreneurship is truly about your network. Everyone you meet is one more person who might be able to help you, so the more people you know (and the more authentic the relationships you build), the better chance you have at a unique opportunity or new introduction that could change everything.
Don't quit until it's really over. We've had some tough moments along the Brit + Co journey and I could have given up. But instead, I dug in my heels and worked twice as hard. It wasn't easy, but we ended up figuring out how to grow again little by little. As James Dyson once said, "The very point when most quit is the point you should try harder. That is what distinguishes every great entrepreneur."