I remember very clearly these 2 years where self-doubt attacked me. Back in 2012, I started to have the idea to quit my job and start my own business.
At that time, I was so much into spa and massages that I wanted to open a hammam (a Turkish steam bath) and even met with the owner of “Zein”, the leading franchise of hammams in Europe.
While that idea didn’t work out, I kept day-dreaming about being an Entrepreneur.
I wanted to be free to work from wherever I wanted to spend more time with my family back in France and see my nieces grow up. But most importantly, being an Entrepreneur for me also meant having a bigger impact on people’s lives.
It took me 2 years to finally quit my job and start redesigning my Life.
What took me so long?
I’m not an expert in anything,
I have so many ideas but I don’t know which one to choose,
I won’t be able to succeed,
Why would people trust me?
I’m not capable of doing it aka I will fail,
People who succeed have something special or they are lucky but I am nobody.
Those self-doubts paralyzed into me for 2 years. Sometimes, it was only one at a time (lucky me!) but in the bad days, they were 3 or 4 pushing me down.
Self-doubt prevented me from getting clear and trusting myself. It always kept me further away from following my heart and having success doing what I love.
But I was so determined… In the process of redesigning my Life, I found 3 simple steps that help me overcome self-doubts as they come.
Yes, I am now living my life on my own terms, traveling the world, and running my own business. But self-doubts still visit me. As often as I stretch myself and grow past my comfort zone, we meet again.
So those 3 steps I am about to share with you, will be tools for a lifetime. That is if you are committed to starting your own business and signing up for a life long stretch of yourself and your comfort zone.
STEP 1: UNLOAD YOUR BRAIN
Before we start talking about your self-doubts, let’s take the pressure off of you.
Take a piece of paper or your journal and write down all the doubts you have about your idea of starting your own business.
All of them. If you don’t have silly ones in there, that means you didn’t go all the way down to the bottom of it.
Now, this allows your brain to breathe a little bit better and feel lighter, and most importantly, this allows us to really have a good look at it:
Are some doubts twins or part of the same family? How many are we really looking at?
STEP 2: UNMASK THE STORY BEHIND YOUR SELF-DOUBT
- What is the belief behind this self-doubt?
- What do I get from choosing that thought?
- What is the false story behind? (For example, I am not enough, I am alone, I am not loved…)
- What do I do that reinforces this story and keeps me in self-doubt?
For the sake of simplicity, let’s take as an example the true story of: I’m not capable of doing it aka I will fail.
The belief behind was: I am lazy and never finish what I start.
What I got from choosing that thought was that I could play the role of victim (and relax into my powerless attitude). It also lets me stay in this very secure zone of comfort: I can’t do it. Because if I don’t do it there are zero risks to fail at it.
Deep down, the false story I was telling myself was: I am not enough.
I always felt like I am never doing enough, over-committing to do things for others, and taking on way more than I could possibly do.
Knowledge WITHOUT application is WORTHLESS!
STEP 3: ASSIGN A NAME TO IT
In step 3, we will look into where this belief is coming from.
For that, you will need to name the feeling (in this case we will give a name to the feeling of doubt we are studying).
Then, you will draw this “person” on a piece of paper and start “talking to her” (I promise, as soon as you will start asking a question, you will hear an answer into your head, you’re not crazy, just keep going with it)
Identify the triggers that make this person come up into your brain. Is there anything that justifies those doubts? Is this negative voice coming from your past? Did someone tell you something similar? Did they do that based on their own experience or based on observations directly related to you?
Moving back to the example, as we are specifically talking about doubt, I will call my feeling Doubting Deborah.
Yes, I know, my name is Gaelle. The goal here is to dissociate yourself from it though. That’s why we call the different feelings like Vanessa the Victim, Rebellious Rebecca, Pleasing Pamela …
Doubting Deborah is full of worry and mistrust
She incessantly questions everything:
What if I fail?
Should I do it this way or that way?
What will they think?
What do I think?
I should have…
I shouldn’t have…
She second-guesses so much that you are paralyzed to take any action.
Doubting Deborah was thinking I am never doing enough and was over-committing to do things for others and taking on way more than she could possibly do.
Of course, others started judging her untrustworthy as she failed to fulfill her promises, and running herself in exhaustion.
As I “talk” to Doubting Deborah, a story comes to my mind. In school, one day a teacher advised Deborah to take on this path of studies instead of another one because sometimes you don’t finish what you start and this one is shorter, it’s only 2 years.
That was it. That was enough data for Deborah to imprint the belief that she is lazy and never finishes what she starts.
Now you understand Deborah is just a part of me but that for the exercise, it is better to dissociate myself from the emotion to better have a look at it.
When that story happened with the teacher, I could have chosen to see the ton of things I was already doing (and also legitimately wonder if he really knew me that well to start with). I could have chosen to see the self-sabotage that was going on and how overloaded my plate was when I was committing to add more stuff onto it.
But the belief got imprinted already. And that is how I inherited this false story, this belief, and this doubt about myself.
As I put some light onto this, my adult brain clearly realized that this was a shortcut that was false, that I had on the other side of the balance many other stories of completing far harder tasks.
As soon as this doubt about being lazy tries to come in, I am reminding myself immediately of the list of things I accomplished. I thank this doubt for showing up and trying to protect me from failure.
I remind it that I’ve got very good reasons why I want to start my own business and that even if I fail, I will have learned and stretched myself so much that I will be closer to success than when I started.
Beliefs run deep, but the good news is that limiting beliefs can be easily changed and you’ll be amazed by the positive changes that happen when you do.