Self-belief and the entrepreneur mindset
Self-belief can sometimes seem an elusive beast, but it has the power to make or break an entrepreneur. We can be struck by moments of confidence in ourselves, only to see that confidence wither into the shadows when the spotlight is turned directly upon us. Yet believing in yourself and what you can achieve is essential to your success, and if you struggle with doing that then it’s time to figure out what to do about it – or you risk limiting your chances to succeed.
For an entrepreneur, belief in yourself is the difference between getting up and out there every day to do what needs doing to make your business a success, or being so scared of what you might get wrong that you opt to stay under the duvet instead. It’s about trusting that you know your stuff, and that you’re capable of handling whatever challenges are thrown your way. It is also about believing that you are in control of your life and what you can create within it.
Why is self-belief important to an entrepreneur?
Calculated risk-taking is something that successful business owners are experts at. To be able to trust yourself to make a decision that could be considered risky relies on your belief in your own ability to do so. Indeed, every new business venture is a risk, as the entrepreneur is entering uncharted territory. Without being able to check in with yourself, review your past accomplishments and capabilities positively and believe that you have the ability to see your idea through to fruition, you’ll procrastinate and stagnate and ideas that had potential will be filed away and forgotten.
If you’ve got a product or a service that you’re introducing to a potential client, your greatest asset in conveying the value of the product is the belief you have in it. It’s about knowing that you’ve got something great to offer and it would be selfish for you to keep it to yourself. It’s about recognising the value of your offering and not wanting to deny people to opportunity to benefit from it.
To be able to successfully sell to potential customers, an entrepreneur must have the belief in themselves to be able to connect with and influence that person or community. We read body language and micro-expressions in peoples’ faces on a subconscious level, and our internal, unconscious judging mechanisms can tell when someone isn’t fully congruent with what they’re saying. We naturally hold back in trusting someone who doesn’t appear to be confident in what they’re talking about.
A lack of self-belief is the cause of many startup failures. If you don’t have that belief in yourself, or your product, then the defence mechanisms of the subconscious mind will step in and begin to offer you a seemingly unlimited amount of excuses as to why you shouldn’t even bother trying in the first place. This is the first hurdle that many would-be business owners fall at – “I won’t be any good at it, so-and-so already does it better anyway, so I won’t even bother trying.”
Compare that to the mindset that says: “I might not get it right first time, but I believe that if I keep trying I will get there eventually,” and it’s obvious which one will lead to most promising results. When most people try but fail in business, they go back to their normal jobs. An entrepreneur, however, will keep going.
There’s no such thing as failure, only feedback
Considering the statistic that the majority of startups will fail within the first two years, a rational person could be forgiven for steering well clear and sticking to the safe day job. For this reason, you have got to have a strong belief that what you are doing is going to make a difference, or you probably shouldn’t be doing it. Many groundbreaking products were initially and consistently rejected by investors, but became successful because of the entrepreneur’s dogged belief in their creation. Dyson vacuums are a great example. James Dyson created more than 5,000 prototypes of his vacuum. When he couldn’t find an American or European company to license and manufacture his company his belief in his product compelled him to create his own manufacturing operation. Two years later his vacuum cleaners were a worldwide sensation. Houses would be a lot dirtier these days if he’d given up easily!
If you lack belief in your product or service, then you need to question why you’re investing your time and energy (and financial resources) into it. If you’ve had a few knockbacks then you might be feeling like giving up. Before you do, though, you could benefit from investigating whether your subconscious is trying to pull you back into your comfort zone to keep you from what it sees as a potential threat (failure and possible rejection – which you’ll read later the brain equates with possible death). If that’s the case, then you can recognise it as old, primitive, fearful programming, and enjoy the stretch. Of course, this is assuming you’ve done your market research, or have a great reason for believing in the viability of your offering.
The second part in this series of blogs about self-belief and the entrepreneur will help you to understand how our self-belief is nurtured or damaged, and what you can do to boost yours. Coming soon!