How To Strengthen Your Self Trust.
“Self-trust is the first secret of success.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
This article is an exploration of self trust. Is self trust the most important skill you need in building a business and creating a life that you love? According to Ralph Waldo Emerson (see above) it’s the beginning of success; you can have a vision of what you want but bringing it to life is a whole other matter. It’s paramount you trust yourself every step of the way.
Entrepreneurs know the road they’re on won’t be easy. Perhaps it’s the challenge of it all that invigorates you. Yet even the most resilient and successful of us can struggle with doubt and hurdles or simply the amount of uncertainty that exists on our unique journey.
Why does self trust matter to the entrepreneur?
Self trust is needed to dream up, start, stay in and bring things to completion. Whether you look at the macro scale of your whole vision or the micro scale of the day to day doing, there’s a certain amount of “staying in it all’’ that you need. This is where self trust is needed in spades; in the weeds of doing the work when doubt creeps in and suggests what you’re doing might not be possible, you’ll need to call on your self trust.
Is self trust the antidote to doubt?
Self trust is much more than a solution to mitigate doubt. Strengthening self trust does not rid us of doubt. What it will help us with is being with doubt. Doubt is part of the journey — it shows up in the uncertainty of trying something new. Doubt is what you experience when launching the new business after leaving the certainty of the one you were in and were successful. It’s unavoidable.
Self trust is needed then to help you relate to the doubt. Self trust allows you to take steps and leaps into uncertainty. It’s a relationship you have with yourself that says you’ll stick by yourself in doubt.
If you don’t trust yourself why should anyone else?
As you build your business, the first person you need to trust is yourself. Day in day out. In the big things and the little things, so there is ample opportunity to keep building trust with yourself.
As you strengthen your trust in you, the less you need to convince people to trust you. You get to show up and serve and offer your brand of fabulousness. If you struggle with selling for example, it can feel like you’re endlessly proving yourself to others. Self trust says you know you’ve got a great product that delivers the results it promises and if/where it falls short you’ll improve it until it exceeds expectations.
What self trust isn’t.
Self trust is not about getting it perfect or right — it’s not about “nailing” the thing and getting perfect results. In moments where we’ve let ourselves down and we don’t finish or want to opt out, self trust is about learning to stay with the tricky terrain and be good to ourselves while on it.
Ways to strengthen your self trust day to day.
You may have lots of self trust already — I hope you do! But self trust is a muscle, and flexing it matters. Can you pick one practice from the list below to try? It might be the one that feels most interesting or meaningful right now, or maybe it’s the one that feels most wobbly.
1) When you find yourself seeking affirmation or feedback about if you wrote that Instagram post well enough, also affirm yourself. Don’t just seek it from others. It’s normal and natural to look for markers on the journey that give us some feedback about how we did. Be the first one to affirm your work. At the beginning it may feel hollow, or odd, but if we over-emphasize the affirmation of others and minimize our own we’ll always be chasing it.
2) When you find yourself stuck in a loop or story consider kindness. Find all the kind words you can to say to yourself. The journey of entrepreneurship brings up all the stories we have about ourselves. The stress of life will shore up evidence that things won’t work. So when stories arise, meet yourself with kindness. Provide yourself with a different perspective, letting those stories know they simply aren’t true.
3) When you become aware of a physical need meet it. This can be as small as getting yourself a snack when you’re hungry or giving yourself a neck massage if your neck is sore. When it’s head down and we’re busy these needs are easy to dismiss. Getting ourselves a glass of water, moving our bodies for break after sititng all day, getting yourself a healthier lunch can all contribute to self trust. Self trust is being being responsive to yourself as needs arise. You build self trust as you look after you.
4) When you’re doubting yourself remember doubt is part of the process. Greet it like an old friend and take a break or switch gears, go for a walk or put a project or piece of work on pause. Doubt can help us grow our self trust as we find ways to be with doubt. Allow doubt to be a friend, not a foe.
5) When you don’t have the energy or are tired, think of yourself as a seasonal creature. Spring follows winter. Fall follows summer. There are rhythms and patterns in life that affirm that rest is just right and that we will, return to the work when we are rested. Push through your exhaustion because you’re nervous about taking leads to burnout. Trust yourself that you’ll come back to the work.
6) When you don’t know which decision is the right one to make, think about your values and how they affection the situation at hand. It’s impossible to know what to do in every scenario that presents itself. Come back to your values and see what you learn. You can trust yourself to make solid decisions.
7) When you’re reviewing your progress, Be honest with yourself about what’s not working and what is. Don’t focus solely on the gap. Explore what you learned about yourself this past week instead of zeroing in on all undone. Objectively review your progress, take a moment to be really generous with what you have done and then be honest with yourself about what hasn’t been done.
8) When you want to get your work bestie’s opinion about what you should do in “X” situation, get your own opinion first — include both in the mix. Ask for opinions after having done your own thinking on the matter, and then double check if you still need to hear from all the other parties. Don’t dilute your own opinion with too many others.
9) When you’re struggling and it’s a hard day, or the week went off the rails, be the most compassionate and supportive person in your life. Figure out what you need to emerge from the hard part of life and do that for you.
There you go — nine practices to help you strengthen the self trust needed to support yourself on the journey.
My hope is that you’ll grow trust in yourself that runs deep and strong on this crazy journey of entrepreneurship. Take every bump in the road as an opportunity to trust yourself more fully. I’m curious how you’re doing this now — share below!