It is a fact of life – there are many people who will doubt you. I hate to say it, but it is true. This isn’t necessarily unfortunate though! I actually believe that people expressing doubt in your abilities could be a gift. Let me explain.
I came across this Taraji P. Henson quote the other day in an article I was reading: “If you…allow people to project their fears onto you, you won’t live.” Pretty strong statement. Pretty serious consequences.
There are countless entrepreneurial examples of people who have used the words of doubters as fuel to expand, grow, and accomplish bigger things. I think we can all learn from this, no matter the stage we are at in our businesses. When I first started my business 11 years ago, I had my share of doubters and some of them were immediate family and very close friends. I couldn’t let it stop me so instead I used that as pure motivation to succeed.
But who are YOUR doubters, and how can you deal with them successfully?
Friends and Family:
Sometimes your doubters come in the form of loving friends and family.
Who here has heard the following:
“You want to start your own business? Selling what?”
“That’s going to be a ton of work, Can you really afford to spend time on it, and still be a good mom to the kids?”
“Nobody makes any money in those things.”
“Shouldn’t you get a real job?”
“You’ll never really be able to make a full time living from this.”
“Working for yourself is so hard. What about dental?”
These questions often come from a well-meaning, but fearful place. Fear is not a place that we, as entrepreneurs, can afford to run our lives from. So, take these questions for what they are – loving, and yes misdirected statements from people who are used to playing it safe— or at best just don’t understand what you are about.
Instead of letting these doubts stop us in our tracks, how about we use them as evidence that we’re doing something really exciting and innovative with our time? We are choosing to take a risk, but we’re smart, driven, and itching to try something new in life.
One reply that I like to use is: “Yes, it’s scary, but I’m so much happier living up to my full potential than I ever could be playing it safe.”
The people we work with and those who have spent their entire careers working for someone else, really are not the people we want to bring our entrepreneurial business plans to.
There is nothing wrong with working for someone else, but people without the entrepreneurial bug, are just that —people without the entrepreneurial bug. It will be hard for them to understand why you would want to take on the extra load of self-employment.
To combat these negative influences, write down your own very solid reasons for choosing to build your own business. Answer this question: Why is this path worth it for me? It was so clear to me why this was worth it – I wanted to create time freedom and financial freedom. I wanted to say when I worked, where I worked and with whom I worked. And believe me, it has been worth every step of the way!
Your answers might even inspire some of your colleagues to think outside the box and bring a little something new to their current positions!
There are so many wonderful resources online, but the internet can also be a fairly negative place. If you spend too much time reading online, or listen to the opinions of people who go online just to complain, then you are going to have a hard time finding the motivation to continue.
My advice is to find industry-specific experts and follow them. Don’t clutter your feed with too many differing opinions. Choose people who are really good at what they do, and who offer positive, constructive advice.
Also, remember that your path is unique, all the doubters in the world don’t have your combination of talents, abilities, and drive.
Pessimistic Business Owners:
Sometimes we go to entrepreneurial meetups or local small business groups, and find that the attitude is less than stellar. This is unfortunate, but don’t feel like you have to listen to a negative-nelly just because they’ve been in business for a long time.
People get stuck in unproductive patterns, and it’s not a trap you have to follow. A positive mind, set on success is something you can cultivate and keep. These “seasoned business owners” who have a negative spin on everything are people who have forgotten their own power over the years. Don’t ever let anyone take away your power or your dreams!
Instead, surround yourself with business owners who are real about their struggles, but always looking for a solution. Those are the people you can learn from.
Doubt and Fear go hand-in-hand. But the antidotes are clear and simple:
- Good company
- Solution-oriented thinking
- Solid personal reasons for your chosen path
I love this passage by Marianne Williamson:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
You are doing something great by moving ahead despite the fear, despite the doubters. It is worth it! It may be time to armor up. Next time a doubter comes knocking, flip it around as a powerful reason to continue building the business of your dreams. I am cheering for you!