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Did you know that doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will? (And how to combat it!)

This is an article that is very close to my heart.

I have lived in doubt my whole life. I have also dreaded failure more than anything.  To me, it was the ultimate sign of stupidity. If I failed at something, the sky might as well have fallen!

Then, after listening to podcast after podcast, and reading book after book, and blog post after blog post – by tons of REALLY successful entrepreneurs who shared their stories of failure – I learned that failure is a necessary part of success.

Seeing that the sky didn’t in fact fall when I wasn’t wildly successful helped a lot too! (ha!)

What does it look like when you’re letting doubt stand in the way of reaching your dreams?

Here’s how letting doubt ruin my dreams looked for me…

I’d have an idea and would be really excited and optimistic about it. Then, I’d doubt its validity and do some research. I would actually continue to do research until I found a reason it was bound to fail.

There always was one.
And trust me when I say that there always is. (Yes! Even for the best of ideas!)

Sometimes there were genuinely good reasons for not moving forward with an idea.

  • Maybe I realized I wasn’t willing to put the work in for that idea.
  • Or I didn’t have any interest in learning what I needed to learn in order to succeed.
  • And then, of course there’s money – sometimes I just didn’t have the money to make a go of it. And didn’t have the life or business experience to even know where to start finding it.

But what I know now is that I could be an internet star 3 times over if I just kicked doubt in the butt. If I just knew how to overcome my doubt and go for it!

So, how do you overcome doubt?

I really do believe there is always a way if you’re flexible and confident enough to look for it. Not matter what you want to do.

YES. I believe that with all my heart!
There is ALWAYS an angle that can take you to where you want to go.

With that said, you’re probably thinking “But Susanna… that isn’t quite enough to get over the fear and paralysis that doubt creates”. 

I hear ya!

First – I think it’s normal to be afraid to try something new. I even think that being afraid is part of being human. It protects us from doing insane things – like jumping from a cliff into the unknown!

But, I think that doubt and fear becomes an issue when we see that it’s safe to jump but we keep looking for reasons not to.

What I have learned from experience is that the only way to get past fear and doubt is to actually do what I’m afraid of doing.

Yes. You have to just do it!

Just like I did in this picture of this post – I jumped off that cliff, with only a small rope holding me up!

Well, a bit less scary than that. It’s not like launching some new ever killed anyone, though we behave as though is might.

I guess my point is this… if you do a reasonable amount of research, are willing to learn, and make a plan grounded in reality then there’s nothing holding you back from jumping off that cliff.

Maybe you’ve found a tour group that you can jump-in with or have talked to a ton of others who’ve done it before. Maybe you’ve even taken some swimming classes or fitness training to ensure you’re strong enough.

If you’ve done all of that trust me when I say that when you finally do jump, it will be the most exhilarating moment of your life!

It certainly was for me. And incredibly empowering too!

I know because I’ve done this SO many times. The feature image for this post, for example, was taken moments after I jumped from a cliff and made it safely to the other side!

It may not have been the most elegant of jumps and like me, you may still be terrified.  But you will have done it. And doing gives you the experience to know how to do it better next time.

I have a friend doing this with Facebook ads right now! She was terrified of doing them. But she overcame doubt, learned how to do Facebook ads, asked lots of questions, and accepted that her first few goes might bomb. Now, she’s on to her second ad and is already doing so much better than before – with a lot less doubt and fear!

I have another client who started a blog a couple years ago. At the time she didn’t really know where she wanted it to go. But she had a dream and one of those deep, strong passions so just went for it. It’s been a bit of a journey, but doing it has helped her find her path. Now, she’s building a membership site that I know is going to help TONS of people.

Neither of these people would have gotten to this point had they not tried and accepted that they might have some mini failures before finding their paths.

But, when do you know you’ve researched enough and planned everything “just right” ….

Well, I guess therein lies the problem.

A lot of the time I don’t think any amount of research or planning can ensure success. Especially not the first time around. I’ve been listening to a Podcast called “Mistakes Make Magic” and the stories by incredibly successful entrepreneurs prove that to be true.

When you jump in, are open to failure, welcome learning from it, and are prepared to pivot that’s the most important thing. The knowledge you garnered from your research and planning will make it easier to learn from your mistakes and move on.

Maybe you’ll see that a new cliff will do it for you? Or maybe jumping off cliffs isn’t your jam at all?!

Either way, you’ll have a clearer idea of where to go next with the knowledge and experience behind you. THIS is the art to overcoming doubt.

Now what?

Even though my instinct is to let doubt stop me I know from experience that letting myself fail, and then being open and confident enough to learn from it is how to kill doubt. I would go so far as to say that it’s the SECRET to success!

  • Be wise with the capital you invest, do the research, make a plan, and be willing to learn!
  • Then get that MVP (minimum viable product) out there as fast as you can, with as little time and money spent as possible. THIS will be the proof that your idea CAN be successful.

All the research and planning won’t erase doubt completely. It helps, and is an important part of the puzzle, but it’s the trying, the doing, and the learning that will help you with that!

If your MVP proves less than a major success then pivot. Whipdeedoo. No biggie!

One or two pivot’s into trying is when you’ll start figuring it out. THAT’S when you’ll start shedding a bit more of the doubt that is holding you back.

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About Susanna Miles: ...Designer, Stylist,  branding coach, and photography aficionado

Susanna turned to online marketing in 2008 to escape the suffocating fashion industry. And much to her amazement, she landed right where she started > with a life in pursuit of helping women love and accept themselves. Then expressing who they are confidently. 

In this age of personal branding, she shares a unique perspective for freelancers, creators, and coaches trying to understand how the personal and business brand work together with content marketing, design, and selfies.

And because of what she has done and where she has been, she is able to help bootstrapping brand as well as booming ones! 

~ Why fit in when you were meant to stand out?