According to Forbes, it’s the perfect time to start the business of your dreams. I did, and it’s been one of the most rewarding and challenging years of my life.
Take note that starting a business of your own means that you are emotionally tying yourself to every decision, success, and failure along the way – at least that’s how it’s been for me. Eleven months ago I launched the non-profit organization My Favorite Outfit, and within this short time span I’ve done everything from cry tears of joy, to feel recharged with a new and inexplicable energy, to want to pull my hair out.
The fun and successful points of running a business are easy to get through. You’re excited to tell the world how you made that new door-opening connection, or how you found the perfect POS system, or how awesome you looked in that new magazine feature. I would be lying if I said that starting a business is one revelation after the next. At some point you will hit a roadblock. It may not be life changing, but it may feel like it. The first setback is usually the hardest to get through because it’s uncharted territory. How are you supposed to know what to do? You’ve never done this before!! You may feel like the stress of the situation is starting to eat at you from the inside. Perhaps you’re facing a legal hiccup, or your genius and innovative marketing plan didn’t go as expected, or no one showed up to your event of the year. So now what?
What you need is a pre-planned way to emotionally deal with setbacks to prevent you from veering off the path towards achieving your goals. It all comes down to developing a confidence within yourself so you don’t begin to doubt your ideas and your company. This development is crucial. If you don’t believe in yourself then no one else will. The five tips outlined below will help you find the confidence to succeed in moments of doubt. However, some of these tactics, like finding and talking to a mentor, should not be limited to use during stressful times. In fact, a mentor can help you avoid stressful situations by talking though your business plans and strategy ahead of implementation.
5 Tips to Find the Confidence to Succeed in Moments of Doubt
Keep a happy memento at arms reach.
Look for a trinket that reminds you of a high point along the way. It can be anything from a ticket stub, to an article of clothing, or even a song. I like to look at pictures from past events and see the many faces of students whose lives I am lucky enough to impact. Whatever it is, it should bring back positive memories for you and make you strive to find that drive to achieve your mission once again.
Talk to a mentor.
No one expects you to be perfect, so stop expecting that of yourself. Instead of keeping the struggle and doubt inside, talk to someone who has been in a similar position before you. Finding a good mentor is like getting advice from yourself 10 or 20 years down the road. When you find the right mentor you’ll feel that click. A great mentor will be able to put you at ease by painting a picture of a similar experience and explain how he or she overcame the obstacle.
Confide in your friends.
Sometimes talking to a mentor is not enough, and all you need is a friendly and non-judgmental ear to vent to. Make sure whichever friend you choose to let it out to is trustworthy. Nothing can make a bad situation worse than piling gossip on top of it.
Look back at your mission and vision.
Remind yourself why you started on this brave and crazy journey to begin with. If you started a non-profit like I did, remember who is really effected at the end of the day. I work with 2nd – 12th grade girls in low-income communities to help them on the path to a successful future. If I gave up, I would be giving up on more than just my organization. Think about who else is effected by your decisions.
Take a break.
It’s ok to breathe. As business owners, some of our most heart-pounding feelings of doubt are not associated with large setbacks at all. Instead, we tend to get so wrapped up and overwhelmed with our day-to-day work that we forget to sit back and acknowledge all that we’ve accomplished. When’s the last time you told yourself ‘good job’? Just look at you you’ve created something from nothing. Take a step back, congratulate yourself, and know that you have it in you to keep going. Mistakes and doubts don’t have the power to stop you girl.
Why Confidence is Key to Running Your Business
Business owners take on a leadership role by default, but this does not mean that every business owner is a great leader. A great leader inspires others through a shared mission and goal. She is able to paint a picture of her vision and inspire others to take an active role in her company. This takes guts, clarity, and above all, confidence.
Being confident means knowing your business inside and out, believing in its mission to the core, and being smart enough to ask for help when you need it. When you exude confidence it signifies to other people that they can trust you and your business decisions. The support of employees, peers, and the community is invaluable. Without the support of others, you may end up working in a silo and become overworked and burnt-out in a matter of no time. ‘One is the loneliest number’ also rings true in the business world.
Take a look at it from another perspective as well: doubt breads doubt. If you don’t believe wholeheartedly in your abilities, ideas, and mission then others will begin to doubt you as well. Don’t fall victim to this. Instead, default to one of the five tips above and adhere to my new favorite quote: ‘Drink some coffee, put on gangster-rap, and handle it.