There was a time, for some reason or another, you took a leap.
You took that hobby and turned it into a side business, you started a fan page, you posted your artwork on Instagram and let your followers know it was for sale, you might have even quit your job to take this gig to the next level.
It was an exciting time, a risky but adrenaline filled time. You knew you were taking a chance on what ifs but there was a voice inside your head that said “I think I might can do this.”
If you’ve ever taken the initiative to start something new – a blog, a side business, a book, an organization – then you can relate to all of this in some way or another. Every risky venture starts out the same way. You are full of excitement and positive thoughts. You are confident in this new project and you stay up late, spend money and invest tons of energy and resources into getting it off the ground.
But over time, that “I can do this” voice in your head gets harder and harder to hear. Self doubt starts to set in and the fear of failure is whispering in your ear. You start to wonder if you were crazy to think you could do such a thing.
I’m going to be brutally honest here. This is the place that most people give up. They trade in their ambitions for something safer. Or they slowly, over time, gradually stop putting in the effort and the new venture quietly goes away. I’m not saying it’s not okay to decide something is no longer a good fit and move on. Actually, that is quite healthy.
But if you find yourself covered with self doubt and considering giving up, dream with me for just a bit. Let’s spend some time reflecting. Maybe you are doing exactly what you should be doing and are on the cusp of the tipping point. Amazing things could very well be right around the corner.
If you find yourself questioning whether or not you should quit, here are a few things to consider before you throw in the towel.
REMEMBER WHY YOU STARTED
In this moment, all you can see are the things that aren’t working out or the bills that need to be paid. But think back. Think back all the way to the beginning. Why did you want to start this crazy adventure? Did you dream of paying off debt and being able to stay home with your kiddos for the long term? Were you in a job that you hated? Did you have a huge dream of serving your customers in a way that pretty much changed their world?
If those reasons still apply, if they still excite you, then quitting right now might not be what you are supposed to do.
YOU AREN’T ALONE
I can promise you that every single small business owner has felt the same way at one point or another in their business. It just comes with the territory. These feelings of self doubt aren’t just reserved for the weak of heart or small minded. Nope. Every single one of us deals with a lack of self confidence within the process. Every single wildly talented person you know that is rocking it out in their small business has been through this. They’ve just been courageous enough to keep going.
FEAR IS A LIAR
Fear paints a picture in your mind that isn’t real. It shows you all the negatives and keeps the positives hidden away in a closet somewhere buried deep in your mind. If fear is the only thing motivating you right now, I am going to strongly recommend you work on your negative self talk. Those negative lies will do a number on your self confidence if you don’t get a handle on it pronto.
My greatest fear for small business owners is that they will give up because they were afraid of failing. The regret that will come later from giving up because you let fear lie and deceive you is something I desperately want you to avoid.
Now that you know this dream is something you need to keep pushing for, let’s get down to the nitty gritty of what to do when you do feel like you might just give up on this dream of yours.
When you feel so overwhelmed and are on the cusp of throwing in the towel do these three things in this order…
#1 BRAIN DUMP
In this moment, you are so overwhelmed and your mind is spinning. You can’t think clearly and don’t know what to do first. You are highly considering plopping down on the couch and binge watching Parenthood on Netflix until 3am and hiding from all of this mess.
Yep! I have so been there.
Right now I want you to take out a clean sheet of paper and just start dumping out everything you can think of that has you overwhelmed. That massive list of todos that have you wanting to roll up into a fetal position? Those things go on the list.
Write it all down. Write until you are empty of thoughts. You should almost feel a little numb at this point.
You are going to feel so much relief just by getting all your jumbled thoughts out of your head.
Don’t skip this step. It is crucial in this process.
#2 LOOK DEEP INTO YOUR HEART
We are getting real now. I want you to dig deep and ask yourself these hard questions.
“What is my greatest fear? What is the one or two fears that are keeping me up at night?”
Dig deep into this. Be honest and real with yourself.
I was working with a coaching client recently and we were going through this process together. She is launching a new non-profit in our community and she is dealing with some of the self doubt issues that I have been discussing in this post.
When she dug deep down and got really honest with herself, she realized that her greatest fear is that she won’t have students come into the program next semester and that she won’t have the funding to run the program.
Yep! Those are some pretty big issues to deal with and when you are afraid of issues like those you can totally want to throw in the towel.
But being honest with herself helped her to move on to step #3 and make some educated decisions.
Want a copy of these three steps that you print off and have at your disposal to help you put these steps into practice anytime you feel overwhelmed and want to give up? Click the button below to get the cheat sheet instantly.
#3 SET PRIORITIES
Now that you have your mind cleared and all your challenges, tasks and worries on paper from your brain dump and have gotten down deep into what you are most afraid of, it is time to decide what you should tackle now and what can wait.
Circle all the things on your list that when completed will get you closer to accomplishing the things that are your deepest fears. What tasks and problems if solved would get you closer to your overall goals and start to diffuse the self doubt that you are currently feeling?
Those are the very things that should happen first, that you should be focusing on tackling and problem solving now.
Everything else needs to wait until a later time. It is key to only focus on the things that will relieve the fear that is taking a permanent residence inside your brain. These are most likely the issues that when resolved will move you towards your goals.