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Facing our fears as an entrepreneur

by Girl Tribe Gang HQ

Each month, Girl Tribe Gang leverages our collective voice and empowers our members to upskill each other by exchanging their knowledge in a series of blogs, FB Lives and Instagram TV.

June 2019 is our #KnowledgeExchange Confidence & Mindset month. In this guest blog, Ismene Cole, a therapist and transformation coach and member of our Bristol Tribe, reveals how we can learn to live and work alongside our fears as an entrepreneur. 

There is something inherently personal about the entrepreneurial journey; it is so tied to who we are and what matters to us the most that it can be difficult to separate our personal fears from our business doubts.

When we are so much part of our business how we feel and our belief in ourselves has a direct impact on our business and its success, yet we rarely think about this in business strategy.

During my many years working with entrepreneurs, self-doubt has been the constant re-occurring theme. This is because it is a journey that invites us to be more than an accomplished business owner; it encourages self-mastery and for us to face our fears.

Common fears and doubts as entrepreneurs

  • Am I good enough, do I have what it takes to succeed?
  • What if it’s not perfect?
  • What if my business fails and I get it wrong?
  • I have no idea what I’m doing
  • Imposter syndrome: I’m not qualified/experienced enough  
  • The fear people will judge/ criticise me/ be disappointed/not support my decision
  • I don’t know where to start or how to get what I want
  • Will I financially be able to support myself/ inconsistent income
  • Other people are doing it better than me/ growing more quickly/ are already established/ There isn’t room for me.
  • The fear of overwhelm and being solely responsible
  • The fear of success (way more common than you’d imagine)
  • The fear of standing out and being different
  • Fear of the unknown and moving away from familiarity
  • Am I getting it right- is what I have to offer valuable?
  • Doubt about selling and marketing and bringing in new business or converting sales
Ismene Cole Girl Tribe Gang face your entrepreneur fears

Transforming self- doubt into self- belief

As entrepreneurs we can all relate to some – or all – of these doubts and fears.

Part of my reasoning for writing this blog was to remind you that you are not alone and these doubts are a normal part of growth. Living out our fullest potential, both in life and business, means walking the tight rope between what is known and unknown, what is comfortable and what is expanding.

Living and working fully means not the absence of self- doubt and fear, but learning to walk alongside it, acknowledge it and choose to live with bravery and courage.

My years in business have been just as much about my personal development and growth as anything else; I’ve learnt so much about who I am, what I want and during that process of working through my self-doubt have become more than I ever thought was possible.

For years I didn’t even know I was ambitious and I certainly had no desire to be entrepreneurial!

Last year saw me take the next step in my career, leaving behind my established counselling practice, build a she-den in the garden and launch my transformational coaching business; a place I could bring all my passion, skills and knowledge together. It has been an incredible transition but one that brought so many old fears and doubts to the surface that needed to be worked through.

It reminded that whether you are just starting out or running an established business, being an entrepreneur is both freeing and exciting but also at times, vulnerable and challenging. However, for me, this is part of the joy of being an entrepreneur.

The better we feel about ourselves and the more we can be brave enough to confront our fears and doubts, the more we expand and grow as a business.

So how do we start to transform the niggling voice of self-doubt that keeps us small, fearful, stuck, and limited and tap into the self-belief that inevitably unleashes our unlimited potential?

Ismene Cole transform self doubt Girl Tribe Gang

Here is a process to help you to face your fears as an entrepreneur

Take a notepad and pen, schedule an hour (or as long as is possible for you) into your diary where you will be undisturbed and answer these questions as honestly as you can:

  1. Imagine your self-doubt as a person- what is their greatest fear? (For example, my fear is that people will judge me if my business fails and I will feel embarrassed)
  2. Based on this awareness, if we can understand that your self-doubt is trying to support you by protecting you from feeling pain, what reassurance, support or change does your self-doubt need to feel better?
  3. Where have you succeeded in the past and how could you use those experiences to help you now?
  4. What strengths/ knowledge/ experience do you already possess, that you can draw on right now to help make your vision a success?
  5. Imagine that you already believed in yourself 100%:
  • What is different?
  • How do you feel?
  • What are you thinking?
  • In what ways do you behave differently?

How could you start to integrate some of these strategies into your life and business now?

Remember the more we interrupt the pattern of self-doubt and replace it with self-belief, the easier it becomes and this will help you move towards your new way of thinking and supporting yourself.

You’ve got this, keep going!

Girl Tribe Gang Knowledge Exchange

Connect with Ismene

Girl Tribe Gang’s #KnowledgeExchange

Girl Tribe Gang’s #KnowledgeExchange has been designed to recognise that ALL of our members have knowledge to share and that we’re ALL experts in the stuff that we know. Each month, we leverage our collective voice and empower our members to upskill each other by exchanging their knowledge.

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