Skip to content

4 Self-Doubts That Hold You Back + How To Ditch Them ASAP

Kelly Trach
July 24, 2022
Kelly Trach
By Kelly Trach
mbg Contributor
Kelly Trach is a 4x entrepreneur, business coach, and author.
The Effects Of Bottling & Brooding Emotions, From A Psychologist
Image by Alex Tan / Death to the Stock Photo
July 24, 2022
Our editors have independently chosen the products listed on this page. If you purchase something mentioned in this article, we may earn a small commission.

Whenever we are attempting something audacious like starting an online business or switching careers, there's always a handful of pesky beliefs that seem to crop up. (As a four-time entrepreneur and business coach, I've noticed this myself and with almost every single client!)

Here are some tips from my first published book, P.S. You're a Genius, that help you squash these doubts one by one:

This ad is displayed using third party content and we do not control its accessibility features.

"I'm not good enough." 

I promise, 99% of people also struggle with this belief. You aren't the only one (even though it feels like it!) "Am I good enough to do this? My work sucks. What am I even thinking? So-and-so's Instagram feed is just so dang pretty, how can I compete with that?"

Instead of dwelling on those narratives, do this instead:

  • Make a list of everything you've ever accomplished in your life. Yep, everything. Then, stick that list to your wall by your computer and stare at it every time you start shaking in your boots with doubt. 
  • Recall times in your life when you thought you weren't good enough and really doubted yourself. Yet, you showed up, did it anyway, and ended up kicking some major ass. Use this as proof that you can do it again.
This ad is displayed using third party content and we do not control its accessibility features.

"Somebody is already doing it better than me, so I can't."

Do you feel like everyone and their pooch is a coach these days? Or, has a TikTok dedicated to minimalist vegan recipes? Thus, leaving you wondering where the heck you'd fit in? If you're nodding your head over there, take these mindset reframes for a spin:

  1. Remember that there's always going to be a customer who wants something done in a different way. It's really about niching down and leveraging your unique genius. That's how you'll carve out a space for yourself in a saturated market. In my other mbg article, I use the example of mayo. If you wanted to start a mayo brand, don't compare yourself to the huge, generic brands and try to replicate them. Instead, create small-batch, organic, vegan, chipotle mayo and serve a niche audience. 
  2. Just because it's been done before, that doesn't mean it's been done by you. Sure, there are a million vegan food bloggers, but there's only one you—with your lived experience, sense of humor, genius, favorite tips 'n' tricks in the kitchen, and creative eye for design. Somebody wants what you've got, trust me. 
This ad is displayed using third party content and we do not control its accessibility features.

"I can't make money doing that."

When it comes to starting something new, like your reiki healing business, the fear around money can be the biggest, hairiest, beast in the jungle. "How will I pay rent? Will anyone *actually* pull out a Visa card and pay me for an hourlong healing session? Will I end up like a starving artist and have to give up my adaptogenic oat milk lattes?" 

Here are some ways to tame that beast:

  1. Find five people who are making money doing what you'd love to do. Follow them, study them, and get your subconscious mind to latch on and think: "Hey, if they are doing it, then I can too."
  2. Find realistic role models. Meaning, look up to someone who's 100 steps ahead of you and not 10,000. Find people who are rocking their reiki healing business as a side hustle rather than comparing yourself to the expert in the space with 100,000 Instagram followers, sold-out Balinese retreats, and a yearlong waitlist. You'll feel like your dreams are more possible and probable when you seek out realistic role models and follow in their footsteps. 
This ad is displayed using third party content and we do not control its accessibility features.

"I need more time, experience, and maybe another certification."

Lastly, perhaps you feel like you need more accolades under your belt to begin. Or, more time to hone your craft before you upload your interior design portfolio to your fresh Squarespace site. This belief can hold you back big time because the underlying fear of inadequacy and the perpetual chase of certificates can keep us on the hamster wheel of endless résumé building. Thus, we escape doing the big, scary thing: putting ourselves out there.

Now sometimes you do need a degree or a certification. Because you can't say "YOLO!" and start a dentistry practice in your living room. But, if you're not in a regulated industry, here are my time-tested tips to lovingly overcome this doubt:

  1. Try launching first and revisiting the idea of getting more certifications later. Usually, our inner critic is keeping us safe by endlessly padding the résumé so that we'll finally feel confident. Yet, confidence comes from taking action. So, launch now, work with your first few paid clients, and then see if you need more time, experience, or certifications. (You can always get more education later!) But, chances are, if you score some serious momentum now, you'll feel inclined to keep going.
  2. Understand how your past experiences translate into the work you are doing now. Here's my nifty framework you can use on your about page or cover letter: "Because I did X job, it taught me how to do Y, which means that I can help you achieve Z because of it." This helps you better position what you do have. For example: "Because I worked at Tesla Motors selling $100,000 cars, it taught me how to be great at sales and understand customer needs, which means I can help you sell your packages as your business coach because of it." 
  3. Challenge yourself with the contrary. Instead of thinking you need a year to launch your business, what if you had to launch by the end of the month? Or instead of assuming you need a month to write a rock-solid résumé, what if you had to apply for that dream job by Sunday night? This invites possibility. And also lights a fire under your tush to start.
This ad is displayed using third party content and we do not control its accessibility features.

The takeaway.

Taking a leap of faith can be scary, but self-doubts are super common—but oftentimes, they aren't true! If you find yourself spiraling down the self-doubt rabbit hole, try to reframe the narrative the best you can, then learn how to set yourself apart in whatever industry you'd like to enter.

Kelly Trach
Kelly Trach

Kelly Trach is a 4x entrepreneur, business coach, and author of P.S. You’re A Genius: An Unconventional Guide to Finding Your Innate Gifts (Even When You Feel Like You Have None). She helps visionaries find their genius and monetize it so that they can build digital businesses.

Trach has a bachelor of commerce honors degree from the University of British Columbia where she studied on scholarship. She previously worked at Tesla Motors, studied at Sciences Po in Paris France, and was accepted in a pre-accelerator program taught by a billionaire venture capitalist in Silicon Valley. She’s spoken at places like Uber and NASDAQ.