A Question Of Doubt

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Sneakers on asphalt road with painted question mark signs. Dilemmas concept.

Yesterday was one of those days when I doubted that I am on the right track with my business and my life.

I am not sure what triggered it, but it isn’t the first time, and I discovered it usually happens when I read something from a person I respect which is contrary or not in line to what I believe. If it sounds clear and structured, it can put me into a state where I question myself and wonder if I am on the right track.

I don’t know if that happens to you too, but this is not a nice place to be. It just drains out all the motivation and leaves me feeling inadequate and surrounded by doubt. I know that this happens to others too – and I believe it occurs mainly for the following reasons:

  • You have not clearly defined your goal
  • You feel you’re not moving forward
  • You feel you can’t do the things required to get there (self-doubt)
  • You lost your reason why you’re doing it in the first place

If it’s any of the above, it’s also easy to get out of this. I will explain how.

There’s nothing wrong in questioning yourself

First, let me get back to this state and why I believe that it’s essential to go through this process from time to time. Questioning yourself and the things you do is an excellent sign that you care. It shows that you want to grow – and this state is part of the growing process.

To make it easier, call it an assessment. More like an assessment of your current situation. We tend to see this as something negative because it affects us so personally and a kind of fear to fail creeps up.

If we don’t know why we started it all in the first place or if our WHY has become less relevant to our lives, we tend to move other things to the front to replace it.

For example, we’ve might have started the business to make a real difference in our customer’s life, and we worked hard to make it happen. But somehow it didn’t turn out to be as easy as we thought it would be. Maybe our customers didn’t appreciate our help or didn’t want to pay our prices. This can quickly make us question why.

Get back to basics

If we then hear from someone, we believe to be reputable, that making money is the most important thing for any business, our focus starts shifting towards making money, away from the original main reason.

But because we don’t make any money, the fear of failure becomes the dominant feeling. It usually takes over everything – and we all know fear is not a good advisor.

So, if we can catch this before it goes too far, we will have a good chance to get back to our original idea and re-affirm our reasons why we’re doing it. At that stage, the solution is not about making money, but it’s about finding a way to achieve our goal while making enough money to maintain our business.

In our example, we could find a different type of customer we can help and who can afford our prices and sees the value in it. We might change our prices or apply a different business model to make it work. But our focus will stay with our original idea.

That is our target point, and everything else needs to align in that direction. The danger with money as a direction is that we can’t picture it. It also applies only to us, but business is about our customers, and it exists because of them.

Why is in the question and the answer

It isn’t easy to question yourself, your values and goals if things are difficult. But precisely that is the solution to this dilemma.

The way I deal with it is to talk to someone I trust. I write my original WHY in big letters onto my board, step back and allow myself space and the time to readjust. I look at the reasons that caused this state in me and measure it against my WHY.

Whatever holds up is taken on board and integrated into my future planning. It won’t change my WHY, but it might help me to achieve it quicker or easier. Now I learned something new and put it into action straight away and in my experience that is the way to deal with it.

When was the last time you were in doubt?

John Di Stefano

An entrepreneur at heart and founder of the Entrepreneur Academy in Brussels, Belgium. He is teaching and supporting entrepreneurs in the skills every entrepreneur needs to create a better life for themselves and the people around them.

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