I did a little poll the other day because I was curious what the most common reason for new entrepreneurs is that is holding them back from reaching their goals. First let me say, I was really surprised by the amount of responses I got. It seems every single person has something that they see as an obstacle on their way to business success.
Can you guess which answer ranked number one though?
Right, "I'm not good enough" was the number one answer I got. To be fair I should mention that most of the people I asked were women but I can imagine this self-doubt is nagging on the guys too once in a while.
It's sad to see that so many of us (women) seem to have tremendous self-worth and confidence issues. There is this beautiful quote by Erin Hansen, a young Australian writer and poet:
"What if I Fall? Oh, but my darling what if you fly?"
So what if you could fly? What if you left all your worries, doubts, and fears behind and only concentrated on what you want to achieve, on the positive? First of all, can you imagine how much more time you had in your day if you stopped this entire negative self-talk?! You would have a lot of empty space to fill!
How can one make the switch from negative to positive though? How can one get from "I can't", "I'm not good enough", "Nobody will like what I want to offer" to "I can and I will"?
The first step is awareness.
Step 1: Awareness
Once you are aware of your low self-esteem and negative self-talk, you can address it and change it. An easy yet effective exercise to become aware of all those "evil voices" in your head is to simply listen. Sit down in a quiet room and listen. What are the voices telling you? Write down everything you hear, everything that comes to mind.
Now that you are aware you have this awesome ability to stop the voices.
Step 2: Stop the voices
Whenever doubt is creeping up on you, whenever you hear yourself saying or thinking "I am not good enough" stop the voices. I mean literally hold your hand out and yell STOP!
(Side note: You might not want to do that on a crowded bus, in the subway, or when you are in line for lunch tough. Here it would be enough if you yell silently in your head. After all you don't want people to think you're nuts!)
This is a very effective way to interrupt the pattern because that's all it really is, a pattern that repeats itself over and over again; a broken record if you will.
To not be left with an empty space you should replace your negative self-talk with positive self-talk.
Step 3: Be kind to yourself
Start being kind to yourself. How about you announce the exact opposite of your negative thoughts? "I am good enough, in fact I am AWESOME! I am super good at what I am doing and I will be successful!" Choose whatever sentences work for you, whatever feels right and has a good vibe to it. When you are repeating these new sentences say them with love, with passion, with confidence. The more you can feel the words the more convinced you become of their truth.
Even though this exercise is not an all-round healing method for low self-esteem, it is definitely a first step in the direction of more confidence. Consciously repeat the steps above whenever your inner voices are telling you, you are not good enough and you are well on your way to more happiness and business success.