Ever feel like you have nothing of value to offer the world?
Yep. Me too.
Every time I sit down to write, I question whether I have anything valuable to offer through my words. Hasn't it all been said before, a million times over in a thousand different ways? Don't people already know what I'm about to share anyway?
After three years of writing a blog, it still happens. That voice of doubt is still there.
And before every coaching session with a client, I wonder if I can truly offer any valuable support. Who am I, really, to be calling myself a coach?
After over two years of coaching, it still happens. That voice of doubt is still there.
And recently, as I sit down to create my online classes for Sprouting Entrepreneurs, that little voice inside my head says, "what the hell are you doing, Leah? So many other people are already doing this AND they're doing it waaay better than you."
Yes. That voice is still there. It sits in the background. Always ready. Always waiting for its opportunity to wiggle its way into my thoughts. Some days, still, it gets the better of me.
So what about you?
Maybe you're yet to start your business and you're wondering if you have anything valuable to share with the world? After all, you're not an expert.
Or maybe you're in the beginning stages of running your own business and find yourself frequently stopped in your tracks as you question whether what you're doing has any significance. Does it really matter? Do you really have something to contribute? Aren't all your ideas just stupid?
Or maybe you've even been building your business for a while but still find, like me, that the little voice of doubt won't leave you alone.
No matter where you are on your entrepreneurial journey, I want you to know that your doubts are normal. And not only normal, but a good sign, even. More on that below.
So today I'm sharing with you four insights and tips that I hope will help you when you're having one of those days when you really don't feel like you have anything special to offer and you're thinking about giving up.
1. Remember that we all lose out if you give in to the voice of doubt
When your doubt gets the better of you, you stop creating. Maybe you don't write that blog post. Maybe you never get round to writing that book. You don't start the podcast you've been thinking of or you don't launch your next product.
And when you don't create your work; your art, the world misses out. We all lose. Letting the voice of doubt win is an act of violence against the world. Because every time you don't share your voice, your story, your passions, your gifts and skills with the rest of humanity, the people who need you most are left alone.
When you're doubting what you have to offer, try to pull your thinking away from your own fears and doubts and towards the needs of others. Focusing on serving and helping others will always lead you away from fear.
2. Keep a record of praise
When you're really having a bad day and feeling like you have nothing to offer the world, it's easy to forget the impact you've already had and are having, whether that's through your business if you've already started one, or simply in your day to day life if you're yet to take the plunge.
That's why, in these moments, it's really helpful to be able to recall the times when you have added value to the world, in whatever way that may be. If you've already started out in your business and have already been working with clients or selling your product, I'm 100% certain you'll have had small (or even big) notes of gratitude for your work.
I like to store as many of these up as possible in an email folder (mine is called "Feel Good Emails") so that I can read through them when I'm feeling low. It's great to remind yourself of the impact you're already having in the world.
If you're yet to start your business, keep a note of any praise or thanks you receive either inside or outside of your work. Whether this is related to your future business idea or not doesn't matter. What's important is to recognise that you're already making a difference.
3. No one started as an expert
It's easy to let thoughts like, "I don't know enough", "I'm not an expert", or "I'm not good enough." to keep you stuck and spiral down into that pit of self-doubt. But remember this:
No one started as an expert. No one popped out of their mother's womb with all the skills and knowledge necessary to do the work they do today. And here are a couple things that all experts have in common:
- They were all once beginners.
- And they all started sharing their work and serving others before they were experts.
In fact, just a little while ago, a reader wrote to me and told me this, which I loved:
"If all helpers waited until they had life perfect then no-one would be offering help - not in a real authentic way so I respect your honesty and courage to expose your vulnerability…it shows your strength not your weakness."
It's not about being an expert. The knowledge and skills you have right now will always be enough to start serving, inspiring and adding value to the lives of others. If you share what you have to offer and your own story from an authentic place, it will reach the people who need it.
4. The voice of doubt gets louder the further you push yourself outside your zone of comfort
Remember earlier I said that the voice of doubt could even be a good sign? Here's why.
I'd love to tell you that even though I still doubt my worth and ability to add value to the world at times, it doesn't affect me anywhere near as much as it used to.
But that would be a lie.
Because actually it affects me more, not less these days. For a while, I began to think that my personal, emotional and spiritual development was in reverse. I worried that everything I'd learned over the last few years was disappearing into the ether.
But here's what I've come to realise...
The more you stretch and push yourself to live life and create work at the edge of your abilities, the louder the voice of doubt gets. So sometimes, that voice of doubt, as frustrating as it is, is a sign that you're pushing yourself to a whole new level. It's a sign that you're growing, shifting, transforming and working your way towards your maximum potential.
Don't fear the voice of doubt. Instead, know that it's a sign of your growth and willingness to go further than you've gone before.
Over to you...
Blog posts without comments are like peanut butter and banana sandwiches without the jam - nooooooo! So add your voice to the comments below and share:
- When do you doubt yourself and what you have to offer the world the most?
- Any other tips that work for you to overcome doubt about what you have to offer the world.