Entrepreneurship is really hard. There are going to be lots of difficult times that will test your resolve. A common trait of most good startup founders is a deep personal belief that you can do it. Self-confidence is critical to success building a business from scratch. Knowing you can win will sustain you in the dark times when nothing is going right and will help you retain conviction when you make decisions based on limited information. To be fair, everyone has doubts about their own abilities some of the time. However, you need to believe in yourself at your core if you are going to build something special.
Let’s start by talking about what it really means to believe in yourself. It starts deep down in your bones. It usually comes from knowing that you have succeeded before and can do it again. Typically, it means you have won something in the past. This could be winning at sports as a youth or in high school or college. It could also be winning in any other type of activity like art competitions or debate events. Maybe you tried out for a school play and won a role, or maybe you were elected or picked for student government or other leadership position. You might have learned to win by challenging yourself to get good grades in high school or university, or by achieving high test scores. You might also have learned to believe in your abilities through your successes in business. You got that job you wanted, or landed a big new customer, or brought a new product to market.
Hopefully, you read the last paragraph and started to realize that you’ve won many times in your life, and this is empowering you to believe you can win with your new business too. You want to take the time to look inside and ensure that you are confident you can beat the odds and create a winning business. This should be something you feel deeply, that you are a winner and can do this. It will be critical when times get tough.
To be clear, belief in yourself does not mean you have to be free from doubts or concerns. Building a startup is going to put you in a lot of new and scary situations. It is perfectly OK to have concerns about how you will handle these new challenges. It is normal to have confidence in your ability to do parts of the job, but fears about other parts. For me, I know I can figure out the operational side of any new task, and I know I am great with the financials and spreadsheet work. I’ve done those types of tasks dozens of times over my 25-year career. However, I worry about finding new customers and selling, and I know I have no clue about digital marketing or advertising. Find strength in the areas that you know you can win and believe that your strengths will attract people to help you overcome obstacles in areas you are weaker.
If you are running a startup or think about jumping into entrepreneurship, spend a little time remembering that you have achieved success at many things in life and can do it with this new business too.