Five self-doubt gremlins that are holding your business back

Is self-doubt holding your business back? Here are five of the most common gremlins mums grapple with – and how to outsmart them.

If you’re a mum in business you will have probably come across self-doubt at some time or other. It creeps up on us and before we know it, we are questioning the sanity in our life and career choices.

Starting out on your own is not a path for the faint-hearted. Usually we are driven by a deep passion that cannot be ignored. It starts as a niggle, then a nudge and before long we feel at odds, if we are not pursuing our calling.

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But pursuing a business or career is never all plain sailing; life has a way of throwing a spanner (or two) in the works:

  • We may not get the client we wanted.
  • A technical glitch may wipe our database.
  • A bout of flu might hit you the day before an important presentation.

And at our lowest point we find ourselves asking ‘Why am I doing this?’ or ‘Maybe I’m not cut out for this after all’ and the self-doubt creeps in.

Five self-doubt gremlins that are holding your business back

To help you spot (and outsmart) your own self-doubt gremlins, here are five of the most common.

1) I’m too old

For this one I use Louise Hay as my inspiration. In the world of self-development books, being published by Hay House is as good as it gets. And yet Louise Hay founded Hay House Publishing at the age of 60.

You are never too old to start doing what you love and it’s never too late to become a roaring success. And remember age means wisdom and experience too.

2) I don’t know enough yet

Always think you need to do just one more course before you’re ready? Often we can be fooled into thinking we are not experienced enough to be of service.

As an employee, your boss will tell you when you have earned a promotion However as an entrepreneur you have to tell yourself when you’ve progressed or are good enough. This can be tough, particularly as women, because we’re not very good at bragging about our achievements.

In order to overcome this feeling of not knowing enough, use a school analogy. As someone in year five, all the year three kids will look up to you, you will have vastly more experience than them.

You don’t have to be an undergraduate to make a difference to a year three. You only need to be a couple of steps ahead.

3) Nobody wants what I’m selling

If you are offering a service or product that has been created out of your own need, then it’s a fair assumption that someone else will need or want it too.

However it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Not everyone will want what you’re selling, but if you find your target audience and give them what they want, they will love you for it.

4) She’s doing it better than me

The idea of competition is a particularly persistent gremlin. You may see other people in the same line of business doing videos or blogs and think ‘Who am I to compete with her?’ However when we come from a place of competition we are undone.

I often use the analogy of coffee shops to combat this particular self-doubt. Where I live in Chichester, we have two Costas, a Starbucks, a Café Nero, a Bills and a Prêt a Manger.

They all thrive in our small city because they each have a different appeal. Some people will prefer the coffee blend at Costa, some may prefer Pret’s snacks, and others may like the décor in Neros.

The reason they all stay busy is because they are all different, and so are we. In business, all you have to do is BE YOURSELF, because no one else can do a better job of being you than you can. The more you can shine your authentic light, the brighter you will shine.

So find your USP, your way of doing things, and the people who love you will be able to find you.

5) I’ll never make any money

Well this is probably our biggest doubt. There is no certainty when you start up your own business, no career progression or salary point scale. But if you persist success will come. The trick is to keep faith in your own ability and your dream, even when there is no evidence of success.

Every success story you read includes a huge amount of dogged determination, resilience and persistence.

In Napoleon Hill’s classic Think and Grow Rich he tells the story of Darby Harby who went looking for gold and after many months gave up and sold all his equipment to a junk man for a few hundred dollars.

He later found out that he had stopped three feet short and the junk man he had sold to had become a millionaire. This story has a happy ending though, because Darby learned the valuable lesson of persistence and not giving up too soon. He went on to become a phenomenally successful insurance salesman.

So have a plan, take action every day and NEVER give up on your dream. The money will come.

Self-doubt comes when we stretch ourselves

To conclude, as a business owner myself, I have found that self-doubt is usually the result of stretching ourselves out of our comfort zone – rather like standing on the next highest diving board at the pool. And it’s completely normal to ask ‘Can I do this?’

However in order to be able to jump, we must recognise it for what it is and have the faith to leap.

Emily Thorpe from Happy Working Mum is a qualified and dedicated coach and an inspirational speaker, who is passionate about transforming the lives of working women.

She’s author of The working Mums 5-step Solution To Having It All and offers talks, transformational workshops, online programmes and one-to-one coaching. She also runs programmes and workshops for companies, helping them to nurture and retain female staff with families, within their organisation.