I was pouring through some old notebooks from years past earlier this month chock full of scribbles and scratches, half-written articles, completed to-do lists, and loosely developed ideas. I came across this that I had written in 2012:
“I’ve started to believe that what I do for a living is my life’s work. My role as an entrepreneur is something I’ve finally embraced as a reality and long-term journey, not a short-term idea.”
We work with businesses big and small here at Proof. From a Fortune 500 company in Chicago to the coffee shop down the street. Organizations with 50+ year legacies and brand-new startups. With each of them, the self-doubt and fear of “is this thing really going to work?” never, ever goes away. It certainly evolves and those doubts develop, but that feeling in the back of your head that tells you, “you’re kidding yourself, give up!” persists.
It’s not about putting those fears and doubts aside, but instead, tapping into why they’re there and using them to keep you humble, focused, and motivated. But when you do feel like you’re wandering or that things are spiraling, remember a few things:
- People believe in you and your ideas. If they didn’t, you wouldn’t have any employees and you certainly wouldn’t have any customers.
- Keep moving. I’m unsettled when I’m sitting at home working in my PJ’s, and undoubtedly, the best things have come when I’ve been out and about – in meetings, traveling, having conversations, writing proposals, and pursuing ideas. Stay active and keep building momentum, even when (especially when) things feel like they’re not going your way. Momentum is a powerful thing.
- Shift. Don’t be stubborn. If something isn’t working, pivot and do something different. These could be big decisions like letting someone go or adding a new product line to changing your morning routine or wearing a new shirt.
- Let it ride. The hardest thing to do as a business owner is to be “ok” with where things are. It’s uncomfortable being comfortable. Running a business is hard work, but don’t make it exhausting, debilitating work. Give yourself some credit, and take time to celebrate success and pace yourself.
Believing in yourself, your ideas, and your business may seem easy today and impossible tomorrow. The ebb and flow you’ll feel when things are going well and when times are tough is inevitable. But you’re here, where you are, for a reason. Most importantly, because you believe in yourself. Hold on to that feelin’….