I think there are a lot of preconceived notions about what we can and cannot do. I mean, our own preconceive notions. We tend to convince ourselves immediately of our inability to do something with a quick dismissal. Sometimes we don’t think about it one bit. We simply default to “That’s crazy. I can’t do that.”
I find this idea kind of amazing since we all believed in ourselves enough to actually launch a business. We got past our beliefs that we’re not capable for a slice of time that allowed us to launch. Then, as we work to build, we start finding reasons why we can’t do things.
And by “things” I mean marketing ideas that seem kind of nutty, relationship building with people that we’re “not on the same level with”, speaking opportunities that “we’re not qualified” for, and all the other things along these lines that we dismiss before they even have a chance.
I definitely still do this sometimes. But something I’ve learned over the past couple years is that the second I stop doing it, and open myself up to the possibilities of what can be done, is the second that great things start to happen.
It’s classic self doubt and it’s probably one of the most common weak spots for entrepreneurs. When we come from a place of lacking belief in our own abilities, it’s hard to shake.
What I’ve just said may not be news to you. A lot of us know this about ourselves– we struggle with confidence in our abilities as business owners. But, the thing I don’t think is quite as obvious is that our struggle with this pops up in ways that we don’t actually identify as a lack of confidence.
Meaning, because we’re giving ourselves no time at all to even consider something, we truly believe that whatever we’re talking about is not possible.
We make important business decisions based on immediate dismissal of what can’t be done, not realizing that the reason it can’t be done is because of that dismissal, not because there’s anything truly problematic that can’t be overcome with the idea.
Here’s an example.
- I want to be the go-to brand for the luxury t-shirt.
- Oh, wait, there is already a brand known for that. I can’t be that too. No one will care about my brand when the other brand is so well known.
- Oh well, never mind.
- Instead: OK, so there’s another brand doing this. What is their brand all about? Who do they serve? What niche can I focus on to be their go-to brand?
Or how about…
- I need to build my network.
- I could host a meetup to connect with other people in the industry.
- Nah, I don’t know anyone, so no one would come. Forget it.
- Instead: Well, if 3 people come, that’s 3 people that I’ve just added to my network and 3 people I got to have more intimate conversations with and deeper connections to because there were only 4 of us.
See what I’m saying? We put the kibosh on ideas before we’ve had time to really develop them because we believe they’re not possible. We take no time to think the idea through to see if it is possible. We assume that we’re not qualified, or that we don’t have resources.
So I challenge you to this, designers: The next time an opportunity or idea presents itself, pay attention to you’re immediate thought– what is the very first thing you said to yourself? Did it involve dismissing the idea? If so, ask yourself “why?”. And if your answer is an adamant belief that it’s not possible, then stop what you’re doing, sit down, and think hard about whether or not that’s actually true.
I bet that more often than not, it isn’t true, and you can and should explore the idea further to see if it could be just the thing you need to be doing to grow your business.
Lots of love and encouragement,