Being your own boss is often sold as the exciting journey of shaping a life of your own making, but being your own boss can be terrifying, sometimes to the crippling point. That’s where a common foe comes in, self-doubt, the culprit of many stuck creatives and budding entrepreneurs.
‘Being your own boss’ evokes images of a confident successful badass, but fear is a natural emotion which even the most confident people will feel. In reality, we’re victims of compulsive comparisonitis, we don’t have external validation that we’re on the correct course and our work is hugely attached to our own self-worth. These three attributes make the self-employed perfectly positioned for self-doubt.
Our brains feed us illogical future possibilities and they cling to our doubt like evidence, while collecting any and every failing and mistake in our past as further proof. So we seek security from that doubt, ways to find safety from these fearful visions of the future.
And this is where our reaction to that fear comes in, our behaviour, our choice. We are the conscious observer of our thoughts, but how we respond to that doubt is powerful, we can either choose to feel stuck, sabotage our progress and withdraw from that fear, or we can accept and embrace it.
Working unrelenting through that doubt isn’t easy but it gets easier every time you push through. And that feeling of achievement from just working through doubt is rewarding and empowering in itself, regardless of what achievements you make along the way.
Five Practical Ways to Combat Self-Doubt
1. Emergency Self-Care Box
Take some time to prioritise taking care of yourself and you will feel more prepared to push on through self-doubt. This is not an opportunity for you to ignore the doubt or give in to it, but simply to be kind to yourself. Increasing your self-compassion can help boost your confidence and belief in your own ability and help you feel more prepared to take action.
2. Positive Psychology Journaling
Give yourself a few minutes to reflect on your achievements, how far you’ve come, celebrate recent personal and professional wins but acknowledging them and appreciating your on ability. This is partly to boost your perceived self-worth but also to build evidence of your capability.
3. Reflect on Your Purpose
What is the purpose behind what you’re doing, your personal motivations to achieving it and why it’s important to you? Be intrinsically motivated by your own determination, you started down this journey for a reason.
4. Refresh Your Goals
Goals are not as fixed as people often consider them, they are markers of your own choosing, you have the ability to change your target. Re-evaluating goals can be a great way to renew motivation and gain a better perspective and sometimes our existing goals just weren’t suited to your core purpose and that in itself can cause doubt through lack of clarity.
5. Take One Step
Doubt often creeps in when we think too much about the big picture. We can begin to feel anxious about a task further in the future, rather than focussing on the present moment. Allow yourself to reframe your focus to simply the next task and take each step at a time, each step is a win in itself.