I tweeted today that I was fighting off the “self-doubt monsters.” I was winning, but they currently had exceptionally loud voices. An awesome online Twitter friend, @steadyrock, asked what I was doing to fight them. I figured a blog post was as good as a place as any to answer that question.
Self-doubt is a very powerful feeling. The key is to combating self-doubt is to remember it is just that, a feeling, not a fact. It is never appropriate in business, or in life, to base decisions off of a feeling alone. Feelings are a part of the information gathered in making a decision, but only a part. Self-doubt is a feeling that when allowed to run rampant, can stop you in your tracks and hold you down. It can even cause backward movement.
When I feel self-doubt creeping in, as I did today, I identify the feeling for what it is and go directly to what I know to be true. Feelings, by themselves are not right or wrong, but powerful feelings can tell us lies about ourselves or that which we are pursuing. For an example, I had an unfortunate opportunity to realize how little I knew about a particular, but very important, aspect of my business. I felt dumb and unprepared for the road ahead, and self-doubt told me there was nothing I could do about it.
The moment I felt those negative feelings come up, I had two choices; believe what that feeling was telling me, or question it’s truth by stepping back and assessing what I knew to be true. I often asses the situation, as I did today, through a conversation with a friend whom I trust and has prowess in that particular area. Today, that person happened to be my assistant because it related to our business. If an issue dealing with parenting comes up, I have a person for that in my circle of support as well. I talk extensively about seeking out mentors in all aspects in your life in the “Actively Create Your Own Wisdom” chapter in ONO.
After a short conversation with that significant person in my life, I can give the feeling a voice and that allows me to process it through conversation. I can then find the truth in the matter and easily come up with a move forward solution. I acknowledge and deal with the feeling, but I separate the truth from the lie and create a solution. It is only in the move forward solution where I feel the impact of the self-doubt begin to die down.
If that doesn’t quiet those voices, I turn to faith. I ask God to take care of the unknown. My strong faith and conscious contact with God assures me that there is no feeling that can’t be overcome. Remember to always tell yourself, when you are dealing with intense feelings, that it is inappropriate to base decisions off of them. Find a mentor, friend or higher power and talk about it. Deescalate the feeling and the truth and solution will present itself.
Successful people battle self doubt just like the rest of us, the difference is that they know how to overcome it.
A short video clip talking about what it means to be a Family First Entrepreneur and how that title can be used as a filter to run your buisness decisions through.
My son, Jaken, is a source of a lot of blog fodder for me. Though he does it unintentionally, he constantly shows me things about myself, in his own special childlike way. It’s like he packs a little mirror around with him and reflects my idiosyncrasies back at me. Kids are a gift in that way because they give us reminders of our own personal work that is left undone.
Jaken told me the other day that the kids at his new school would like him if he brought cool things in for show and tell. I had a “clunk” moment while I remembered my lonely childhood. My childhood loneliness came as a result of believing the lie that people genuinely like you for the talents you possess, or for the “things” you have. I truly believed that my value came from exterior attributes, rather than simply who I was as a person, which I struggled with as well. As a teenager, I believed that I was pretty much a bag of garbage without looks, athleticism, and intelligence.
It took years of work and diligence to overwrite the “you’re a bag of crap” messages I sent myself. Sadly, my work is still not done and probably will never be complete. I’ll always have that negative voice in my head saying, “if people really knew me, they wouldn’t like me.” The good news is that the voice is much quieter, shows up less, and has become easy to ignore. The bigger problem is the habits I learned to inappropriately compensate for my mistaken belief. I still fight them, mainly when I meet new people and when I’m nervous. I constantly turn to, “Let me tell you how great I am so you won’t assume otherwise from the get go.” Man, I battle that!
That brings us back around to where I began. I wonder where my son learned it? Despite how much better I am today at the skill of relating to people and building solid relationships based on healthy ideals, I still show my son an example of how to do it wrong on occasion. I feel blessed to have the reminder. I shoulder no shame in the man I am. My duty to Jaken is to be the best example I can be to him, and to discuss this issue with him, which I have done. I continue to remind him that people will like him for who he is—not for what he has. However, I know that I will be a far better father to recognize that the real way to teach him this lesson is to live it in my own life. Take in the lessons that kids are here to teach us and learn from them. That is their gift to us.
Here is a short clip from a recent speaking event I did. In this clip I talk about Sam Walton's last words, and how those three words can have a great affect on how we all should focus our lives.
No one would dispute that life affects business and business affects life. They are complimentary to one another in a positive or a negative direction. So, finding a system where these two things remain supportive of one another, at all times, is the key. By calling yourself a Family First Entrepreneur, a distinct master is designated and decisions can be filtered through a calling that is greater than yourself.
There are two distinct facts, as a part of this, that deserve more attention. One, is the fact that EVERY successful system is led by a core or foundational ideology. It acts as a trump card in the decision making process that keeps you on track. By calling yourself a Family First Entrepreneur, you create a natural filter that can guide you as you make key directional, long term decisions in your business. Day to day decisions also become easier as all decisions will serve a greater calling—family.
It’s important to remember how easy it is to have a financial decision lead you down a path that does not support your ideas of what life should be like. One bad decision can lead to years of effort, only to find that you were shooting off the mark and you unintentionally landed somewhere else. (Please refer to the Ready, Aim, Fire decision making process in “ONO”) This is why it is so key to keep a candle lit concerning your core intention—being a Family First Entrepreneur. By owning this simple idea, you adopt a core level philosophy that will become your guiding light.
The second distinct fact, stated in the introduction to this post, was that by calling yourself a Family First Entrepreneur you serve a purpose greater than yourself. This is a key motivational piece. As parents, we can all identify with that place where we would put our own lives at risk to protect our children.
The human instinct of self preservation is arguably the most powerful instinct we have, yet, we can override it with the love of our children. The human fear of change is also very powerful, but it takes a back seat to self preservation. We can use that same powerful love of our children to overcome the fear of change. Overcoming fear of change is a necessary step to create growth in all facets of our lives. When we stretch and grow in our business life, with the right core focus (family first), we get to have it all.
Capture the power of calling yourself a Family First Entrepreneur. Let people you do business with know where you stand with this one simple statement. We only need to look into the eyes of our children to find the strength to implement change in our financial life to support our family life. Join us at www.familyfirstentrepreneur.com, where we gather and support one another.