Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we might oft win by fearing to attempt.~ William Shakespeare
There are many different compelling reasons why entrepreneurs decide to start their businesses.
Most of them are motivated by the liberating and empowering experience of being their own boss.
Many are motivated by the idea of having no income limit.
While some may be entirely driven by their desire to pursue a passion and profiting from it is merely icing on the cake.
But all entrepreneurs, regardless of their personal goals, share a common desire for change. This genuine, burning desire to make the world a better place is the creative spark that sets everything in motion and makes miracles happen.
It is in these beginning stages that entrepreneurs are filled with so much hope and optimism and happy to try new ideas. They courageously take huge steps toward their dreams:
- They decide to start a blog,
- Write the first chapter of their book,
- Apply for a business loan, or
- Quit their day job
But what many entrepreneurs are not prepared for are the many roadblocks along the way. This is when they realize that entrepreneurship also requires some serious elbow grease after all.
But hard work alone is not enough. To succeed as an entrepreneur, adopting the right mindset is even more crucial. Carol Dweck, the woman behind the Growth Mindset breakthrough, says that “success is 90% attitude and 10% hard work.”
Psychologists define attitude as a learned tendency to evaluate things in a certain way which, obviously, is heavily influenced by your state of mind.
Mindset is 90% of the game.
One of the most common reasons that many entrepreneurs give up on their dreams far too early is what I call the A.G.E. Syndrome — which is a condition characterized by the belief that you Ain’t Good Enough.
This is when an entrepreneur starts questioning his abilities and asks questions like,
Can I really do this?
Do I really have what it takes to succeed?
What if I fail?
Who would care to listen to me?
Who would read my blog posts?
Who would buy from me?
And even worse questions like,
Who am I to want this?
Who am I to dream big?
Who am I to even think that I am worthy of this?
There are 3 Things You Can Do To Overcome The A.G.E. Syndrome:
1. Practice Self-Compassion.
When the thought of not being good enough arises, acknowledge them and the emotions that might come up (i.e. disappointment, discouragement, frustration, etc.). Give yourself permission to feel them but don’t dwell on them. Then reassure yourself that it’s safe to move forward.
At the center of working with the inner critic is the idea of self-compassion. Self-compassion means being gentle, kind and understanding with yourself. Accepting that you are not perfect but there is potential for learning and growth in every mistake you make.
If you can find a way to lovingly accept and honor who you are now, then you’ll be able to effectively and powerfully support you in your entrepreneurial efforts.
2. Ask Empowering Questions
When you ask yourself questions like “Who am I to call myself an expert?” or “How can I even compete with her/him?”, the universe will give you more of what you’re looking for. Therefore, all that you’ll find is more evidence that seems to support your thoughts of not being good enough.
Instead, ask yourself empowering questions:
“Do these thoughts help me move forward? If not, what questions should I ask myself instead that would be more empowering?”
Here are a few examples:
Disempowering Question: “What if nobody listens to me?”
Empowering Question: “What can I say to encourage or inspire people today?”
Disempowering Question: “What if no one buys my product?”
Empowering Question: “How can I effectively communicate the many benefits of my product so that it can serve its purpose and truly help improve lives?”
3. Ninja-Kick Comparisonitis
Another destructive habit that contributes to your feeling unqualified, undeserving and unworthy is the incessant need to compare yourself with others.
As human beings, we have a fundamental need to constantly evaluate ourselves. This innate need to asses ourselves constantly is how we gauge whether we are making wise choices or going in the right direction.
Unfortunately, this assessment usually is in reference to someone else’s performance and achievements. We create narratives about our own sense of worthiness and whether we are qualified or not based on how we think we stack up against other people.
This is very dangerous if you’re not cultivating a healthy mindset.
With the right mindset, someone else’s success could be a source of inspiration for you. But if you’re not careful, it could lead to envy, then you start viewing them as competition. The problem is when you start feeling like you can’t stack up against the competition no matter what you do.
The call to contribute something of value to the world is not a competition. Each one of us is called to do our part in making this world a better place.
And we have a very limited time here on earth, you and I. So instead of spending another minute dwelling on disempowering thoughts that aren’t really doing you or the people around you any good, why don’t you redirect your focus on what you can do right now—in your own simple ways—to help others believe in themselves more?
After all, whatever you send out into the universe comes back to you, oftentimes a hundredfold.
As an entrepreneur, you have within you the power to significantly change the world, but as Marvel Master, Stan Lee, once wrote: “With great power comes great responsibility”.
So focus on being productive, instead of being busy, and offer your best work regardless of other people.
Stop turning to someone else other than your own self for that seal of approval that says, “Good Enough”.
At the end of the day, when you look at yourself in the mirror and you can honestly say, “I’ve done my absolute best today”, that’s the only seal of approval that you will ever need.
“Your alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.”~ Maya Angelou
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