As entrepreneurs and business leaders it is important that we are honest with ourselves–brutally honest.
As much as we need bravado and confidence to do what we do, we still have our own career and livelihood at stake as well as those we employ and our investors money.
But how do you tell the difference between your being deeply honest about your situation and just succumbing to fear–which is possibly the biggest risk an entrepreneur faces in the early stages of a business?
Being scared is a natural outcome of taking risks and putting yourself out there as an entrepreneur.
It means you are actually attempting something worthwhile, because if it wasn’t a little frightening then you are probably playing it too safe to actually win. But when things go wrong we can become fearful that we are making mistakes and start having consistent internal conversations about the risks.
One conversation is evaluating the situation, the other is creating internal (and possibly external) chaos.
We all know the voices in our head that are born of natural fear yet take on an incessant nagging quality of anxiety and doubt. The conversations that happen from this internal state grow in momentum and strength the more you listen and feed them. These are not conversations evolving from you being honest with yourself, although they love to portray themselves as such.
Internal dialog, when you are ensuring self-honesty, has four key qualities.
- The internal conversation is calm and does not spiral in intensity.
- You look for more information rather than rehash the same issue over and over.
- You are likely to seek wise counsel and actually listen. This is not finding someone to spill your fears to that will simply sympathize and agree with you.
- Your focus is on solutions and new action, not blaming, worrying about what if, or giving up.
The next time you find yourself having an internal conversation about something you are afraid of, evaluate your internal dialog against these four characteristics. If what is being said inside your head does not match the qualities of self-honesty, then don’t feed the beast. Say no, to this internal saboteur and instead focus on what you can do in the moment to move closer to your goals.