What Self Doubt Taught Me About Entrepreneurship

The ROI Debate: Social Media vs. Traditional Advertising
May 18, 2016

What Self Doubt Taught Me About Entrepreneurship

I wouldn’t call myself a perfectionist, but I’m pretty damn close to it. You’ll find me double and triple checking anything and everything I do, whether it’s a comprehensive marketing proposal or a simple tweet. It’s just part of my detail-oriented nature to make sure my work is as bullet proof as possible.

This process comes with a solid dose of doubt and questions.

“Am I writing this in a relatable way?”

“Why would anyone even read this?”

“There are so many people talking about this topic, why would anyone listen to me?”

Some may find these questions discouraging. I prefer to see them as a challenge – an opportunity to self-reflect and dig deeper for an answer.

I was only 24 years old when I submitted the documents to incorporate my company. You think I had any idea what it was like to run a business? Hell no! There were so many questions, so much uncertainty, and plenty of self doubt. But at the tail end of that doubt was the one consistent thing I always responded with: “Why not?”

Why not me? Why not now? The curiosity of finding the answers to these questions far outweighed the fear of failing. That’s what fuels my passion to be an entrepreneur.

My brief journey running a business has come with enough highs and lows to know that this isn’t for everyone. I gave up the assumed stability and security that comes with corporate jobs in exchange for creative freedom and pursuit of my passions.

Despite all the unknowns, I still haven’t regretted branching out on my own. That’s because I find peace in directly controlling my professional future regardless of the obstacles that come with it.

For instance, the first time I applied for a public speaking event I had no real experience (other than a class in college and a Best Man speech at my cousin’s wedding). The event was called Ignite Miami, which is a fast-paced presentation format with multiple speakers (learn more about it here). I had two challenges to overcome: 1) Submit a topic that was worthy of being selected, and 2) stand in front of a crowd to deliver a speech with only five minutes on the clock.

As you can imagine, the questions began to swirl in my mind.

“How the hell can I give a speech in five minutes?!?” 

“Will these people take a 25 year old seriously?”

And the list goes on.

After taking a moment to process all these aspects, I was able to take a deep breath and collect my thoughts. What began with skepticism ended with confidence. I became confident in what I was going to say because I truly understood why it mattered and was a living, breathing example of it. No amount of fear was going to get in the way of delivering my message. Authenticity trumped all of that.

The way I see it, doubt isn’t a deterrent, it’s a motivator. Every challenge in life comes with the silver lining of opportunity; opportunity to learn, to grow.

That’s why I face challenges with one raised eyebrow and a competitive smirk. As the saying goes, “the only way is through.” It’s not about backing down and turning around, it’s about tackling problems head on and being at peace with the possibility of failure.

Because what ultimately matters are the invaluable lessons that lie in the journey of going through the struggle. Lessons that build character and make us better human beings. I don’t see self-doubt as my road block, I see it as my fuel.