Most people don’t explore their full potential. It’s sad to say, but it’s true. And the most common cause of this in the western world typically isn’t external factors, it’s usually in the form of mental hurdles – the conversations inside of our heads telling us that we can’t do it out of fear or self doubt.
Fears and negative thoughts about ourselves at times feel worse than physical prison. Self doubt, anxiety and other fears have the ability to take the wind out of our sails, and at times, even sink our metaphorical boat.
So what does this mean in the space of entrepreneurship? Essentially, this means that many more of us are capable of changing the world than we realise. More people have what it takes to solve the problem that they care about, launch that business, start that social enterprise, grow that not-for profit or even start that club for like-minded marmalade enthusiasts.
Being entrepreneurial isn’t about knowing what you’re capable of, it’s about exploring your potential. It’s about getting comfortable with failure, because failing is a very important part of the journey to any form of success. It’s what defines the path that we walk, the processes that we adopt, the friends, family or the team we keep close. It’s what we need to define what is right and wrong for us and the project that we’re working on.
Here are 6 mental hurdles that are worth getting over to help you get out of your own way:
- I’m not an Entrepreneur
We kinda covered off on this already, but in a nutshell, it’s important that you really understand the intent behind a word or concept before you decide whether or not it fits with you.
Plus, don’t fool yourself, you probably don’t know yourself as well as you think you do. The human psyche is very complex, and remaining open and not just attaching labels to yourself willy-nilly can be incredibly liberating and empowering.
If you think “I’m not really an Entrepreneur”, maybe you’re asking the wrong questions. Ask yourself – Is there a problem that you’re passionate about and have the drive to solve? If you say yes to this, you might have some of the most fundamental characteristics of an “Entrepreneur”.
Being Entrepreneurial doesn’t always manifest in the form of a business, not-for-profit or social enterprise. You can be entrepreneurial in a corporate workplace or just in life. A few characteristics that many entrepreneurially minded people exhibit include; passion, resilience, resourcefulness, vision, adaptability, creative thinking, embracing failure and personal belief.
Life and work are about the journey. We are continually growing and learning more about ourselves. You might even find that you have more of these characteristics inside of you than you think, and they just need to be unlocked over time.
- I’m not going to succeed
First thing’s first, what do you mean by success? Making it to the top of a corporate ladder? Buying your first Ferrari?
What ever your perception of success is, it is first and foremost important that you explore what you mean by this. Often financial gain and corporate promotion are not enough to fully satisfy our wants and needs. These aspirations are sometimes what lead to midlife crises and the alteration in our path of life and work. The funny thing is, to go through this and end up on a path that is more fulfilling to you is in fact a prime example of how success typically comes in one form or another with failure.
In summary, failure is an integral part of any success, as one cannot exist without the other. It’s a part of the process to gain wisdom that thankfully can’t be sidestepped, otherwise we wouldn’t learn and we wouldn’t appreciate the wins.
Embracing failure and learning from it is one of the fastest ways to success.
- I lose motivation
Let’s face it, we all lose motivation at times. And guess what, losing motivation can actually be a great thing. It’s an opportunity for us to reflect on what we are doing, why we are doing it and why we aren’t motivated.
As you will find, there can be so many reasons behind losing motivation. It could be due to a misalignment with your values, you not being passionate about the cause or subject, you having higher priorities in your life, you not being able to relate to the content, the list goes on.
Losing motivation doesn’t mean that you should just give up, but we do have limited time in our lives and it’s important that we check in with ourselves and make sure that we spend our time working on what is right for us.
It’s important that we have these conversations with ourselves around why we are doing what we are doing, because it’s so easy to do things out of social pressure and fear. Both of which might be legitimate reasons, but maybe they’re not?
During times of lost motivation, check in with yourself by asking these questions:
- Am I passionate about what I’m doing?
- Is this a priority right now and why?
- Am I afraid and why?
- Does this align with my values, skill set, top priorities in my life, life goals, etc?
- Does it feel too hard? Which bits in particular?
Also, just remember that not having the motivation to do something now, doesn’t mean that you won’t at another time.
- I’m not a salesperson
Marketing and sales skills are super helpful for any entrepreneurial venture, but they aren’t essential. Plus, being a good sales person sometimes involves just knowing your product and authentically believing in its value.
Here are a few tips from Neil Patel on how to sell if it doesn’t feel natural to you:
- Stay excited. Passion is one of the entrepreneur’s most powerful assets.
- Be an expert. Those who master a niche are destined to profit from it. As you position yourself as a top-shelf professional in your field, you’ll inevitably grow.
- Build your personal brand. If you want to build your business, build your personal brand. It’s one of the fastest ways to growth without intentionally selling.
- Form the right partnerships. Successful entrepreneurs don’t fly solo. If you aren’t the “sales type” then find a partner who thrives on doing this type of work for you instead .
- I’m not a good leader
Really this is a much bigger discussion for a different article.
First off, it’s important that you question what you believe good leadership means, and what personal traits you would attribute to this. You might find that your past leadership role models actually rely on personality traits that are common in bad leaders. This includes heightened ego, low transparency, being manipulative, a lack of empathy, closed minded, assigning blame, being inconsistent, the list goes on.
Being a good leader implies:
- Having a clear vision of where the group/business needs to go.
- Knowing how to best get there.
- Being in tune with your team’s individual needs.
- Understanding how individuals are best managed and empowered.
Checking everything on this list can be near impossible. Every person is unique and has their own special way of working and relating to people, plus the vision of a business or group often evolves over time.
This means that learning to lead requires experience and exposure, and is ultimately a life long journey. It also requires an understanding that growing a business or creating a community isn’t about an individual, it’s about the vision and the collective.
A few great starting points for learning to lead are:
- Just do it – you’ve gotta start somewhere.
- Work on understanding people (building empathy), and seek (and listen to) feedback from people in your team or community.
- Learn to work with the strengths of the individual, and help them to develop the areas they feel insecure about.
- Form or understand an authentic vision for your business or community and stress test it. This means test it under tough conditions (e.g. hiring, not hitting revenue targets, getting offered a huge sum of money to make a decision, etc).
- Be a good person – a great start to building rapport with most people.
- Learn about yourself – the best place to build your empathy is to understand yourself.
So don’t worry so much about if you’re a good leader, worry more about understanding the people that you’re working with and the problem that you’re solving.
- I don’t know how to build it
One important thing to learn in life is that you can’t be or do everything. This isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s just a reflection of the the fact that we have a limited time on this earth, and have unique interests and passions.
Also, everyone is in the same boat! These conditions mean that humans typically lean towards collaboration, because it’s a far more efficient way of solving problems.
So if you have the feeling that you can’t proceed with solving a problem or launching an idea because you can’t (currently) build it, you’ve got a few options:
- Spend the time to learn how to build it. Learning through doing is often the most efficient and effective way of developing a skill. There are so many free or paid online courses, or potentially people in your network to support you through the process of building it yourself. With that said, you should first check in if this is the best use of your time…
- Find someone or a group of people that have the skills to build what you need, and get them on board. This could be by launching the idea together (equity all round), or even just paying them.
- Start simple. Often we think that a complex app, website or product is the answer to the problem. This isn’t always the case. Launching something small like a facebook group, chat bot or simple website can sometimes be the best starting point to test a product, service or other solution. Then you can be agile, adapt to the demand of the market and then invest in building something that is tried and tested prior to the huge investment. It will also give you more evidence when raising capital.
The moral of the story is, not knowing how to build something isn’t the end of the world at all. In fact, it’s an incredible opportunity to look and see who else is interested in the same problem that you are and build a community around it. Usually, it’s easier to build momentum and have an impact in a tribe or community.
To wrap things up, don’t be so quick to judge yourself. You are capable of so much more than you think, and it’s going to be a life-long journey to explore your full potential.
Author: Jess Franklin