Have you ever told yourself any of the following phrases?
I suck at this.
I don't have time for that.
I just can't do x, y, or z.
Working with entrepreneurs at various stages of their business growth and development, I hear these statements a lot (far too often). Anyone who runs a business knows that it means taking on many roles and titles — often all at once. There are many tasks that can be conquered effectively and efficiently due to your existing knowledge and experience, and others that seem too challenging or distracting to your core work. As you've heard before, and likely seen in memes if you scroll through Instagram, you can and should do the difficult "stuff" — it's where the magic happens in business and where you will empower yourself and grow.
There will be times in your entrepreneurial journey when things seem to be going really well, and times when they will not. Remaining focused and present as you explore, work, create, change your mind, and ride the ups, downs, zigs and zags will help you make better decisions for yourself and your business, and avoid burnout.
You aren't supposed to have all of the answers. You are not supposed to be good at everything. You are supposed to have an open mind. You are supposed to be committed and patient. If (or when) you're being hard on yourself, these are a few points to remember.
Allow yourself to be a beginner.
If you are doing something you've never done before, why would you expect to be great at it right away? Learning to be OK starting at the very beginning, and allowing yourself to make mistakes and learn from them is an invaluable skill that will help you be far more productive and will result in you actually enjoying your work more. A friendly reminder: do not compare yourself to others, especially to those who have far more experience than you do — "experts" were once beginners too (and they might not even be experts at all).
Be kinder to yourself.
Would you speak to others the way you speak to yourself? And if you did, would that help or hurt that relationship? If you believe in your mission, and you're giving your best effort, then that is worth celebrating. Be your own best friend and cheerleader.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.
We are all individuals with different experiences, values, interests, and opinions. If you believe your work offers value, you'll find others who will agree, and you'll also find others who won't connect to you and your work. Don't be so quick to agree with your haters, but also don't write them off completely. Be open to hearing what people love and what they don't without taking it personally. Learn to use all feedback to help you hone your interpersonal skills and your business development. If you can use the negative feedback to make something positive, that is true entrepreneurship — solutions in our world often come from identifying problems or gaps first.
Take on stuff that makes you uncomfortable.
If you are feeling comfortable, then it's time to take on something uncomfortable. Listening to your gut can be a powerful compass but it can sometimes be confused with fear, keeping you from taking on new challenges. Becoming an entrepreneur and deciding to do something your way is already bold and brave, but you should continue to push yourself and explore new ideas that will be of value in the long run, even if uncomfortable at the start.
Set your own pace.
It's not a race. There are always things we wish we had learned, set up, or accomplished yesterday, last year, or five years ago, but for whatever reason, we didn't. Rather than invest your limited energy in dwelling on what isn't (yet), choose to focus on what you can do RIGHT NOW. Making the most of the present moment is literally as fast as you need to go.
What can you do right now to set yourself up for success today, and in the future?
"People throw away what they could have by insisting on perfection, which they cannot have, and looking for it where they will never find it." – Edith Schaeffer
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