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Doubt Will Always Creep In. Here's How to Shut It Out. You have to accept that you may never find the perfect solution, and any action is better than inaction.

By Thomas Edwards, Jr. Edited by Jessica Thomas

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Doubt is a very, very powerful entity. It can consume your life and sabotage your success. Even during your highest of highs, you will have moments of questioning yourself. Imposter's Syndrome is commonplace for many entrepreneurs.

But over a decade of life coaching, I've observed three main ways that entrepreneurs allow doubt to hold them back from taking the necessary leaps in their businesses and personal lives. Here are three ways I've experienced doubt creeping in, and the solutions I've found for shutting it out, and moving forward.

The more you know, the less you know

Sometimes you just feel clueless. You don't know what the strategies or steps are that you need to accomplish to overcome the challenge in front of you, and you're not even sure where to look for the answers. That can feel truly paralyzing.

About a year ago, I was in a deep funk. I was feeling really down on myself, and I honestly wasn't sure if I was going to pull out of it. I knew I was depressed but didn't fully understand what was happening emotionally. Meanwhile, I was trying to balance all of my usual responsibilities, and it took a huge toll on me and my business.

The trouble was, I had no idea what I was supposed to do to get out of my head. "How does one break out of a depression?" I was asking myself. "What's the process? What's the strategy? How do I figure that out?" I began looking for answers, and then... I kept looking for answers. I told myself I was making progress by learning about all the possible answers, sequences, processes and outcomes. But in looking for the perfect solution or piece of advice--as opposed to just doing something, anything to actually move forward--I found another way of being stuck.

There is truth to the old saying, "the more you know, the less you know." It's always good to seek out knowledge and the wisdom of others, but if you're already in a state of paralysis, sometimes looking for the perfect answer can become an excuse not to take any real action.

The truth is, you probably already know more than enough to take that first step. And whatever action you take will result in experience that will help you grow and build momentum.

Courage keeps doubt on its heels

Like all of us, entrepreneurs deal with a lot of fear. They're afraid of faulture and rejection. And sometimes they're afraid of how long it could take to get real results they can show others, to prove their success. In a world of instant gratification, we don't want to do things that will take a lot of time –– or go through the "pain" of growth.

In my personal experience, when things looked OK on the surface, underneath things were chaotic and I was scared to ask for support. When I did begin to share publicly what was happening with me, there was still a lot of fear about not only admitting my faults, but also admitting I needed support.

But once I stepped into the experience of sharing, it got easier very quickly, and gave me an understanding –– with insights from people with knowledge and willingness to help — about what I needed to do to up level my personal life and business.

Destroy doubt by eliminating laziness

Most people are lazy. But laziness is a very deceiving experience. You're probably reading this and saying to yourself, "I'm not lazy. I work hard, you jerk." But laziness is not a measure of how hard you work. I'm sure many of you work hard, but feel you're in a place where you want to do something new, and you just can't seem to move toward getting it done.

Laziness is a byproduct of comfort. When you're doubting yourself, you get so comfortable with the pain you currently have or the fear you already know that you'd rather live with what you know than venture into what you don't. It can seem exhausting to make the effort to change things or take risks –– even if you know that success or a better life is on the other side.

You realize you need to lose weight, and you know the gym is right around the corner, but you're comfortable. The thing you're most avoiding doing is the one thing that will really help you. So what do you do instead? You'd do other things, like answering emails, or continuing tinkering with your slide deck. You can convince yourself that's productive, but it's actually a form of laziness.

Decisiveness forces doubt out

The first and most important step is simply taking ANY productive action. By making changes and standing firm in those decisions, you become an activist for your own life. Decisiveness forces out doubt.

Leadership is about taking a stand on how you want to show up in your business and life. When you take the lead by choosing action over doubt, massive change follows.

The quickest way to break the bonds of doubt is by taking immediate decisive action. Oftentimes that's all it takes: drafting that first email, asking for help on a new project, or stepping inside that gym. Building a business, like life, is a journey. As you continue to live, you come across new experiences, new challenges, new obstacles. You don't learn by having all the answers.

Thomas Edwards, Jr.

Performance and Transformational Coach

Thomas Edwards, Jr. is a transformational coach, trainer, guide and advisor for high-performing individuals and businesses.

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