Starting and running your own business is hard work filled with challenges, setbacks, and self-doubt. As a female entrepreneur, you may face even more hurdles than your male counterparts. It's easy to let impostor syndrome, fear of failure, and comparisons impact your confidence. However, there are effective ways to overcome self-doubt so you can thrive as an entrepreneur.
Overcoming Self-Doubt as a Female Entrepreneur
Address the Root Causes of Self-Doubt
The first step is examining where your self-doubt stems from. Recognizing the origin of these negative thoughts and feelings allows you to start addressing them directly. Here are some common root causes of self-doubt among female business owners:
Impostor syndrome - Feeling like a fraud and waiting to be "found out." This often stems from struggling to internalize your accomplishments.
Fear of failure - Worrying about potential failure or embarrassment if your business struggles. Our society harshly judges female entrepreneurs when they fail.
Comparisons - Constantly comparing yourself to other entrepreneurs who seem more confident and successful. Social media exacerbates this.
Lack of support - Doubting your abilities without a strong support system believing in you and your vision.
Once you pinpoint the source of your self-doubt, you can use tailored techniques to begin overcoming it.
Actively Counter Those Critical Inner Voices
That inner critic inside your head planting seeds of doubt needs to be shut down. Actively counter those negative thoughts with positive ones:
"I'm just faking it!" becomes "I earned my success through hard work and talent."
"My business is going to fail" becomes "My business has what it takes to thrive, and if there are setbacks I have the resilience to learn from them."
"She seems so much more confident than me" becomes "Everyone has struggles with self-doubt sometimes, and comparing myself to others helps no one."
It feels unnatural at first, but the more you practice talking back to your inner critic with compassionate responses, the more those positive voices will grow louder and stronger.
Celebrate Small Wins
When you only focus on the big goals, it's easy to feel discouraged by all the progress left to make. Celebrating small wins boosts motivation and confidence. Take time to acknowledge and appreciate any forward progress, no matter how minor it may seem. Did you hit a monthly revenue goal? Get featured in a magazine? Implement a new marketing strategy? Make it a point to celebrate the small wins along the journey.
Visualize Future Success
Envisioning future success can make self-doubt seem surmountable. Set aside time each day to close your eyes and imagine your business accomplishing goals and thriving. Picture yourself confidently pitching potential clients, speaking on panels, or interviewing for media features. Neuroscience shows visualization stimulates the same parts of the brain as if you were actually completing the action. It boosts motivation, goals, and self-belief.
Find a Community of Female Entrepreneurs
Know that you are not alone in your self-doubt. Other female entrepreneurs have been there too. Seek out communities of like-minded women through local meetup groups, mastermind groups, conferences, or online forums. Share your struggles and celebrate your victories together. Find mentors willing to share their own experiences overcoming self-doubt. Hearing fellow entrepreneurs' stories can normalize your feelings while learning how they pushed past it.
Make Self-Care a Priority
Running on empty will exacerbate negative thoughts and inner critics. Be intentional about making self-care a priority as a busy entrepreneur. Get enough sleep, eat nutritious foods, exercise, and build relaxing activities into your routine. When you care for your whole self - mind, body and spirit - you are better equipped to silence self-doubt and take on each day with renewed purpose.
While self-doubt may never completely disappear, it does not have to define you as an entrepreneur. Implementing daily habits to counter those negative inner voices, celebrating small wins, visualizing future success, joining a community, and making self-care a priority will all help strengthen your self-confidence muscle. By regularly flexing that muscle, you can move forward as an entrepreneur ready to tackle new challenges with poise and determination. The path will not always be easy, but you have what it takes to thrive.
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