Everyone doubts themselves at some points of their business journey. Sometimes feelings of fear and doubt can come from nowhere; one day you’re feeling great about your growth plans and then suddenly you’re reminded of an idea or a decision you haven’t taken action on, and you feel cross with yourself.
It’s easy to get triggered by what you see on social media. You’re scrolling down your Facebook news feed and up pops someone pictured holding their new book. Now you may not have *really* wanted to write a book, but suddenly you feel inadequate.
‘How did she manage to achieve all that AND find the time to write a book?’
Everything you have achieved so far gets forgotten. You get frustrated with your progress. You berate yourself for having not worked harder or taken bigger action.
You pull back.
Maybe all that you need is to feel more motivated; to be braver, to do something to feel stronger.
But the truth about using motivation to get back on track is that it is a short-lived tactic.
Getting motivated to combat your fears and doubts and shake yourself into action is like trying to mix oil and water. At first, it mixes. But, in no time at all, the molecules separate and the two layers of fear and motivation can be clearly seen again.
Motivation is a short term fix.
It’s your high energy workshop or weekend retreat. It’s listening to an inspiring podcast. Or seeing the latest Helen Mirren ‘%&*$ Off’ quote pop up in your Insta feed.
They can all give you a boost but it’s short-lived unless you keep giving yourself repeated hits, similar to drinking more cups of coffee to keep you awake; at some point, you’re going to give yourself the caffeine shakes and then feel even shittier the next day.
I have had my fair share of fears and doubts.
They’ve shown up in bucket loads over the years and have often appeared as a gentle tight grip on the inside of my throat; almost like a child’s hand trying to silence me.
I used to let this feeling in my throat silence me and pull me back, like a bungee cord. I’d come up with an idea that initially excited me; I would let my motivation play with the idea for a short while, maybe for a few days or even a few weeks. But as soon as the motivation wore off, the bungee cord of fear and doubt would snap me back.
Each time this happened I’d either dilute the idea to end up with a smaller, simpler version of it or would decide not to do it at all.
Yes, these bungee cord moments have been frustrating phrases in my business. But these moments have provided valuable lessons to help me learn how to feel into my uncomfortableness; the feeling of vulnerability, shame, guilt and whatever else my inner shit throws up at me every time I’ve wanted to step up and play a bigger game.
What I’ve learnt over the years is to see that gentle tight grip on my throat as my sign that, whatever I was thinking when I felt it, it was actually the right thing for me to do.
The fear and doubts I felt were actually all signs of my potential stretching as I started to feel uncomfortable with playing bigger and thus help me see where I needed to take a risk and step up.
Much of what I teach on business growth focuses on the practicalities of business structure, systems and processes. But in order for you to move forward and grow, you also need to go within and feel into when your fears and doubts appear to realise the power of your potential to play bigger.
Yes, fear is a helpful emotion to help keep you safe at times. If you were to find yourself wanting to take a short cut home, down a dark alley late at night, fear and doubt would probably reason with you that it would be safer to stay to the lit roads. But if you let your fear and doubt help you take only the safe roads when you go about your day to day business, then what potential growth are you missing out on?
Fears and doubts are actually your strengths.
They are reminders that you have the potential to stretch and even though you feel you don’t have the answers, it’s a sign that your heart, body and soul wants to grow.
So if you’ve been using bursts of motivation to try to give you the courage and bravery to step up and grow and wondering why it hasn’t been working, maybe it’s time to open yourself to feeling into your fears and doubts.
Thank you for reading. Until next time, do less, be more, play bigger.
About the author
Karen Skidmore is a business mentor with 25+ years of experience, specialising in True Profit™; the design & growth of purposeful, profitable businesses. Business Books Awards finalist 2020 & podcaster, Karen uniquely combines the being-ness and doing-ness of business to help scale up, without burning out.
The first step in discovering the True Profit in your business is to take the True Profit Test.