“Wow! You’re amazing! How do you know that? You know everything!”
This, from my eight-year old Millie.
If you’ve got kids, I bet yours think you know everything too.
To them, you’re an expert in everything and anything.
Quite rightly so. I’m sure like me, you’ll teach them everything you know – well, within reason!
But here’s the thing. Does it matter that you don’t know everything about everything?
Do you make a concerted effort NOT to teach your kids anything at all, in case they think you’re a fraud for pretending to be an expert?
Of course not.
Even if you don’t have an answer, I bet you do your best to find one.
Because you know that although there’s much they need to experience themselves, their minds are incredibly receptive.
There’s no limit to their learning potential and they can, after all, still benefit from your wisdom and experience.
So, when it comes to that other baby in your life, your business – whether you’re starting out for the first time, growing it, or simply trying to seek more visibility for yourself – is self-doubt holding you back?
Are you too nervous to put yourself out there, because you feel that others are doing it so much more better than you?
It was something that plagued me when I started my first business over 10 years ago, as a Virtual Assistant.
“Why on earth would anyone use my services,” I would think. “I’ve only been going for a few months.”
I was still telling myself that a year or so later.
“I’ve only been going for a year or so…”
Silly. But there you go!
Why you don’t need to know it all (or why you don’t need to be perfect)
Thankfully, in time and 3 businesses later, I learnt that you don’t need to know it all. And you certainly don’t need to be perfect.
The definition of an expert is:
“A person who is very knowledgeable about or skillful in a particular area.“
You don’t need to spend 5, 10, 15 years building your business to be an expert.
Nor do you need 50,000 Facebook followers, or 100,000 Twitter followers to prove it either.
If you are knowledgeable in a particular area (or niche), have a skill or set of skills …
You already have what someone out there needs in order to help them in their life or in their business.
There’s always someone out there who needs what you have to offer.
Someone who can’t do it as well as you. Can’t do it at all, for that matter.
Would much rather pay you to do it for them.
Would much rather buy yours than make it for themselves.
Would much rather come to you for advice, because you know more than they do. Have more experience than they do.
It’s a powerful motivator to keep going, don’t you think?
How to move forward when self-doubt creeps in
Of course, none of us are immune to self-doubt, however knowledgeable we are.
So if and when it does creep in, see if any of the strategies that have helped me, can help you too.
- Set smaller goals: Focus on just one small step that you can accomplish this hour, today or this week. You might need to break your goals down into tiny bite sized pieces, so instead of “Need to do some market research” try “research local suppliers”, or even “research 5 – 10 local suppliers”. Smaller goals will feel more achievable and will leave less room for self-doubt to wriggle in.
- Get a fresh perspective: When you stew over a challenge, doesn’t it eventually seem unbearable? Why not talk it through with someone you trust, or share it on one of your favourite forums. It will help bring a fresh perspective to the matter. Often, all you need in order to move forward is confirmation that you’re not nuts, that you were on the right track after all.
- Resist the urge to compare: Easier said than done, I know. But if constantly checking what your competitors are up to is making you feel like a lousy failure, then stop. Forget about your competitors altogether and have a blissfully blinkered, one-track mind.Just focus on what you’re offering. On your tribe (or on building it if you don’t already have one). On providing the very best of the best to the people who’ve expressed an interest in what you’re offering. On converting your followers/subscribers into paying customers. That’s what really matters. Not what everyone else around you is up to.
- Celebrate your successes: Celebrating is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you’re beating yourself up, or calling yourself a DORK for the umpteenth time. So why not nip out to your nearest stationery store and treat yourself to a journal. (Stretch the budget if you can and treat yourself to an expensive one. It will feel all the more important).Start charting your successes. Try to remember as many as you can in retrospect too. It doesn’t matter how small they are, get into the habit of making a note whenever you’ve achieved a goal. It’s easy to forget all those little milestones when you’re buried under the minutiae of everyday life. But when you’re able to check back on what you’ve achieved so far, it will improve your self-confidence and keep you moving forward.
Starting and running a business is hugely rewarding – it’s satisfying, liberating and profitable.
But it is also as maddening as hell and self-doubt will disrupt your momentum.
Just when you’ve figured out how to do something right, it will go wrong again.
Just when you think you’ve got it all sussed, someone or something will trip you up.
When that does happen, see whether any of these strategies can help you to keep moving forward.
Because giving up is not going to get you closer to your goal.