The hardest part of starting a business as an introvert is putting yourself out there for everyone to see. The difference between those who make it and those who don’t is the ability to learn this skill. It’s not extroversion. It’s not a talent you’re born with. It’s a learned skill that anyone with enough desire can master.
As introverts, we spend a lot of time in our heads. While this isn’t always a bad thing, it can be when we get stuck there, in the cycle of self-doubt. A lot of times it looks like perfectionism or planning mode. Whatever you call it, if it’s holding you back from taking action on your dreams you need to get past it as quickly as possible.
Getting past self-doubt can certainly be harder for introverts, but it’s something that everyone deals with. You just need a strategy to get through it. Here’s my strategy:
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Every time you start to feel the weight of self-doubt bearing down on you remember that you’re not alone. Everyone feels this way, even Oprah and Beyonce, even your favorite movie star or inspirational guide. It always makes it easier for me to know that everyone else feels this way too.
Self-doubt can be mistaken for perfectionism or planning mode. Instead of facing our fears, we think that if we can just make this blog post perfect then everything will be fine. We tell ourselves that we just need a better plan before we can put anything out there in the world. Once the plan is perfect, then we’ll be “ready” to share it with the world.
These stories that we tell ourselves are just that: stories. I know, because I told myself those same stories for years. I spent so much time planning and perfecting, but nothing ever got done.
The way to take away all of the power of self-doubt is to recognize what it is and call it out by name. Stop playing it off as something else. Stop making excuses. Simply recognize what it is and admit that you’re afraid.
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This next step is by far the hardest. You’ve admitted that you’re scared, now you have to live with that fear and do it anyway. Post the blog post. Record the podcast episode. Wright the book. Whatever it is. Be scared and do it anyway.
It’s always scary when you’re doing something new and unfamiliar. It’s scary to put yourself out there in the world and be vulnerable. But you don’t get past that fear by thinking about it. You have to take action on the thing that you want to do and live with the fear in order to get through it.
The first time you post a blog post will be the hardest. The first time you share something real and raw will be the most difficult. It does get easier and you will get better at it. But you can’t get better and it won’t get easier if you don’t do it.
Every time things get difficult for me I go back to my why, the reason that I’m doing this, writing this blog. I want to help just one person. If I can do that then all of my efforts will be worth it. When things get difficult for you go back to why you are doing this in the first place. I’m sure you’ll find comfort there.
Getting past self-doubt isn’t easy. It’s a day by day process. The more you make a habit of following your dreams the easier it will become. You have to be brave, even if it’s only 20 seconds of courage. Most of the time that’s all you need. You can do it. I’m sure of it!
Sarah Kuhn is the founder of INFJ Woman and The Quiet Ones podcast. When she’s not serving her clients, writing or recording podcasts, she geeks out on reading books, listening to podcasts about business and New Kids on the Block. She calls Boston, MA home.
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