Nobody's going to listen to a word you have to say. I mean, what do you even know?
You're a nobody and everything you do sucks!
That's your inner-critic speaking.
Your inner-critic is always there, tapping on your shoulder, whispering in your ear that you're not good enough. You'll never amount to anything.
If this sounds all too familiar, you're not alone.
It's the biggest hurdle for Micropreneurs, or anyone trying to make a difference for that matter to overcome. So much so that most people talk themselves out of ever trying in the first place!
But it doesn't have to be that way.
I don't have the magic pill to stop your self-doubt altogether, but, I am going to show you techniques that can be used to silence it, and give you the confidence to push on with your entrepreneurial quest.
"It's always darkest before the dawn."
Florence and the Machine.
What is your inner-critic?
Your inner critic is your self-doubt, insecurities, and lack of self-worth all working together to protect your ego.
The biggest thing your ego must do is protect itself from ridicule and physical harm.
Evolutionary wise this made a lot of sense.
Don't stand out from the crowd as you'll draw attention to yourself which could lead to a physical altercation or worse still, being ostracised from the group. Both of which would have been severe consequences for our ancestors.
So, the inner critic is the voice of self-preservation.
Why you've seriously got to crush that thing...
Granted, your inner-critic may have served you well 10,000 years ago, maybe even 100 years ago, but in this day and age it's your worst enemy.
It will literally hold you back from any success in your life.
If you want to succeed in this world you have to step out of your comfort zone, tell your inner-critic to go fuck itself and push through all the self-doubt barriers you've set for yourself.
On one side is fear, mediocrity, and obedience. On the other are excitement, exhilaration, and exuberance.
"Everything you've ever wanted is sitting on the other side of fear" - George Addair.
That's why you must crush your inner critic, and that's why you must grow a big fuck-off set of ovaries and lean into your fears and doubts rather than running away.
It's not going to be easy (nothing good ever is), and you'll have to eat a few shit sandwiches along the way.
But God damn is it worth it.
Nobody is an expert
It's stifling to start anything of any value because you don't feel worthy. You don't believe you are an expert/authority in anything.
Whenever we hop on the internet or read a book we're constantly soaking up the words of wisdom from experts in their industries.
But what gives them expert status?
Does simply having a certain qualification make you an expert? Not in my opinion.
So what is it then?
You become an expert when you teach others.
But, what gives you the right to teach others when nobody gives a shit what you have to say and you're not an expert yet?
However, this is what you absolutely have to let go of.
You have to make the leap of faith, eat the shit sandwich and put your ego up for ridicule and just start. What gave me the confidence to take the first steps was a quote from a guy named Jeff Walker, he simply said:
"You don't have to teach something totally groundbreaking, that only you know. You just have to teach stuff that most people don't know." - Jeff Walker
90% of the people looking to learn about your topic will be absolute beginners!
In fact, actually being an "expert" can be a hindrance as much as a help. As too much knowledge can make you overlook the needs of the beginner.
So, don't listen to your inner critic, stop questioning your ability, and go fucking crush it.
14 Ways to crush self-doubt; For good!
1. Create separation
Self-doubt and the inner-critic stems from your ego, and your ego is not you! Your ego is merely an identity of your own construction, which is totally false.
Knowing this helps to create a degree of separation between you and your self-doubt. This separation stops fuelling the fire of self-doubt and allows you to become more of a passive observer rather than an active participant.
Over time as you practice this separation you'll be able to catch the self-sabotaging inner-critic as soon as it plays out in your head. Meditation is an epic practice for this.
Even a simple 10 minutes a day will see great results.
2. Do yourself a favour, quit with the comparisons
Your inner-critic absolutely loves to compare you with others around you. In fact, the ego absolutely loves to make these comparisons.
Let me explain.
When I started out blogging I'd look at guys like Neil Patel and how good their content was and I'd feel like a piece of shit. I still do.
But what we fail to see is the fact that guys like Neil have all been in our shoes before.
Everybody has to start at zero.
Zero subscribers. Zero traffic. Zero Confidence.
We all must start from there.
So it doesn't make sense to compare yourself to others.
3. Nobody cares what you have to say
Not in a bad way, in a good way :)
Nobody really cares what you do or say. In fact, most people are too busy, too self-absorbed in their own lives to care.
And that's a good thing.
When you're just starting out and most of what you're producing is shit (remember, everyone is shit when they're newbies), so don't worry about it. You literally have to be shit before you can be good remember.
I've learned to love this phase, as it offers yet another chance to take on the doubt monkey and grow.
So, rather than fight it, or run away from it, learn to embrace it. You'll thank me for it in the long run I promise.
4. Setbacks are a good thing!
If you're getting setbacks that means that you're actually doing something. It means your actually having a go and taking action.
The trick is to use these setbacks as learning experiences and as stepping stones on your path to success, rather than failures.
It's literally impossible to fail when you view life in this way.
There's only success, or the opportunity to learn.
Setbacks are part of the feedback loop of growth.
5. Learn more
If you want to keep the doubt monkey at bay, how about honing in your skills?
As you expand your knowledge base and skill set, you'll naturally feel more confident within yourself.
There are so many great ways to learn nowadays from Podcasts, Audiobooks, Online Courses etc. it's insane.
"If you're not growing, you're dying"
William S. Burroughs
6. Failure ain't all bad
Don't aim to fail (obviously), but don't be afraid of it either.
If you're failing often it means your pushing yourself to your limits. And that's where life is at it's best.
I think that life should be lived in that sweet little place between comfort and discomfort. In a place where you're constantly just out of your comfort zone.
It's in this zone that you feel challenged and truly alive.
I suggest you give it a go.
7. Celebrate the small wins
Set yourself realistic simple goals, and complete them. Each small goal that's completed is a win. And when you're just starting out, each small win means a lot.
So celebrate them.
Each small win will give you a confidence boost and a dopamine spike, which you'll need to keep your momentum going.
Tip: If you're getting overwhelmed by your goals, they're too big. Break them down into their smallest possible parts, and convert them into small wins.
"The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step"
8. Course correction
Nobody is holding you to your decisions and your path, and you're free to change course at any time you choose.
One of the biggest things that hold people back is the fear of judgment. So much so, that people would rather preserve their pride by holding onto a sinking ship (crappy business), than course correcting and pivoting into a new direction.
Don't let your ego get the best of you.
Be light, be nimble, and do what's right. Fuck what anyone else thinks.
9. The positivity sponge
Becoming an entrepreneur is a lonely road. Nobody will see your vision or share your excitement.
Your family won't get it, and your work colleagues will probably resent you for it.
To stay upbeat, become a 'Positivity Sponge'!
Positivity Sponge tips:
Don't let other peoples crap bring you down and detract you from your ultimate goals. And remember, there literally isn't anyone out there who's looking out for you to make sure you achieve your goals.
So, fill your brain with positivity and go be the person you were meant to be.
“Your Mind is a Garden, Your Thoughts are the Seeds. You can either grow Flowers or weeds...”
10. Surround yourself with like-minded people
As mentioned above, it's likely the people around you just don't get it, and many of them don't have your best interests at heart. That's just how life is.
On your entrepreneurial journey, you may have to shed a few friends along the way.
It's not easy, but it's often necessary.
This doesn't have to be permanent.
But, in these times when you're having to grow new skin and flower into the new you, you don't need people confining you to your old identity.
This is your time to grow, and you can't let those around you hinder that.
11. Focus on the system not the goal
Goals are like the finish line, but good habits are the system to get you there.
Sometimes focusing on your goals can be a bit overwhelming which causes the doubt monkey to creep back in. This is where good habits come in.
Good habits act like a road map to get you to over the finish line.
Habits remove the focus on the end goal, and instead, help you to focus just on the task at hand.
For example, I've set myself the goal of writing 182,000 words for this blog by January 2020. The habit that's going to get me there is simply writing 500 words per day, every day.
I don't focus on the goal of 182,000 words as that number just seems totally absurd and unachievable. However, 500 words a day is actually pretty easy. It usually takes about 30 mins.
By focusing on good habits instead of your goals, you remain present and avoid becoming overwhelmed at the task at hand.
12. You're not alone
Everything that you are trying to achieve has been done before.
Probably by someone much less able, much poorer, shorter, uglier and with an even smaller penis.
You are not alone.
Take solace in this.
When the times are tough (which they'll get from time to time), take comfort in the fact that someone else has 'been there, done that' many times before.
13. Have a 'laff'
Don't take all of this shit too seriously. You're literally going to be dead soon.
It's so easy to get carried away with things when you're in the thick of it, that you think the world will come tumbling down if it fails.
Taking things this seriously will inevitably stifle you from making the right decisions and turn you into a bell-end.
By taking a step back and laughing at yourself and your problems you diffuse their impact, and you'll also be a lot more fun to be around.
14. Don't get hung up on your successes or failures
Don't align your identity with your successes or your failures.
Sure, it feels epic to win and it failing sucks. Either way, it doesn't affect the person you are.
Distancing yourself from your achievements (or lack of), will enable you to take the rough with the smooth and just enjoy the ride.
If you're experiencing the doubt monkey it means that you are pushing yourself, and you're out of your comfort zone.
And that's epic!
Literally, nothing good comes from staying in your comfort zone day in day out. So give yourself a pat on the back.
You're challenging yourself, and the world needs people like you.
So, next time self-doubt creeps back in (which it inevitably will, it always does), use these 14 steps to help diffuse it before it takes over.
How have you overcome self-doubt? What methods do you use?
Leave a message in the comments and get the conversation started.