We all live through story. Storytelling has been around for ages as a means of communication and as a tool to get others to take action. Entrepreneurship can lead to self-doubt, anxiety, and depression. One of the best ways to build momentum, boost confidence, and push out self-doubt is to tell your story.
Let’s be honest, being an entrepreneur, small business owner, or freelancer is incredibly hard. The emotional reality of the ups and downs, the highs and lows can be overwhelming. When working solo, you feel all of the burden of getting the next client, signing the next contract, and figuring out how to get there. Then, you have to roll up your sleeves, follow your plan, and execute. When you have a small team, you not only have to believe in your ideas and plan, you must empower your team to believe in you and your plan in order to help propel you forward.
Jessica Bruder penned an award-winning article for Inc. magazine entitled The Psychological Price of Entrepreneurship. In it, she pulls back the curtain that masks the secret lives of so many charismatic CEOs and founders. One of the biggest takeaways from the article was in how you personally view losses or failure. She writes
The ability to reframe failure and loss can also help leaders maintain good mental health. “Instead of telling yourself, ‘I failed, the business failed, I’m a loser,’ ” says Freeman, “look at the data from a different perspective: Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Life is a constant process of trial and error. Don’t exaggerate the experience.”
Being able to reframe failure and loss and retell the story to yourself in a way that keeps you moving forward is especially important if your company is to survive. The truth is, all companies face rejection and loss. It’s how they react to it that determines their success.
Telling your Story builds Confidence and Momentum
Self-doubt can be a constant. Your mind is constantly racing, formulating ideas, analyzing concepts, determining if an idea is valuable and how it can be executed. Through all of this, self-doubt can creep in. You start to second-guess yourself. You begin negating the very idea that you were first so excited about. Self-doubt grows.
Now with your self-doubt looming, you no longer take coffee meetings, you limit your interactions with others, and you feel opportunities begin to dry up. Self-doubt gets louder.
See the vicious cycle? If you do not force yourself to break free of this self-doubt cycle, you can get stuck in it very quickly.
Building your Confidence Bank Account
We all have a bank of confidence stored within in us. As we face failure and loss, confidence often becomes less. When we let our confidence get below a certain point, it can be incredibly hard to keep going.
Telling your story boosts your confidence. It shows not only the person or people you are talking to your passion, purpose, and skills, you show yourself those same things. When you value what you know and how you can help others, your confidence soars. Momentum builds. Your confidence grows.
Get out of your comfort zone Self-doubt tends to live in comfort. When you step out of your comfort zone, you are in brand new territory. You are in survival mode. Putting yourself in these situations forces you to make quick decisions, take action, and get results quickly.
There have been many times when I have been in a foreign country trying to navigate by train to get to my destination. Those moments have proven to myself that I can problem solve, that I can figure out a train system without speaking the language and that I can connect with locals to ensure I am headed in the right direction.
Find Ways to tell your Story Your story is unique. Your experiences are unique to you. No one else has a story like yours. When you get the courage to tell your story, you start to open up. People start to connect with you more because you are your more authentic self. The same is true in business. When you connect with others who can relate to you, they are more likely to do business with you. So get real. Get authentic. And tell your story.
Be Open to Networking and Meeting New People Along the lines of stepping out of your comfort zone and finding ways to tell your story, being open to meeting new people is a prerequisite. When you allow yourself to meet a new person, anyone really, you are expanding your mind. You never know who they know, who they may become, or how you can help each other. I’ve written on the Shapr app before, but it is by far, one of the best networking tools I have come across.
Stick to a Schedule This may seem a little out of the ordinary, however when you have a schedule and you stick to it, you tend to stay more on track than not. I use my calendar to schedule anything and everything. It then reminds me of my appointments, content creation time blocks, family time, and important milestones. I have found that when I load my calendar up, I get more focused and become more productive.
How do you deal with self-doubt as an entrepreneur, freelancer, or business owner? Leave a comment below and join the conversation.