As an entrepreneur, perhaps you’ve found yourself thinking:
“It’s unfair for me to make a lot of money without working really hard for it.”
“If I can just get more (experience, certifications, followers, sales), then I’ll be good enough.”
“Who am I to succeed at ______?”
“I can’t have my cake and eat it too. That’s selfish.”
If so, you’re not alone. As a mindset coach, I hear the same fears, doubts, and insecurities over and over again from my clients wrapped in their personal experiences and stories. No matter what stage of business they are in, feelings of unworthiness come up every time a new and bigger goal is set.
This actually makes sense from a biological perspective — the brain will latch onto an idea (e.g., a story of unworthiness) to keep you safe in your comfort zone and preclude taking risks that could hurt you. The problem is staying safe in business often means staying broke and unfulfilled. In this state you inch further away from your genius zone … a space that feels anything but comfy!
When you feel unworthy of success
If you feel undeserving of success, here are four ways those feelings could be hurting your business (and how to turn things around).
1. You question yourself often
When you feel unworthy of success and running your own business, the question “Who am I to be doing this?” will plague you. It may even keep you up at night, tossing and turning—worrying yourself sick—because you’re convinced you’ll be outed as a big ol’ fraud.
How to turn it around: Ask a different question. Your mind will answer whatever questions you ask it, so use this to your advantage and ask questions that will lift you up rather than tear you down. Catch yourself in the act and change the question in the moment.
For example, rather than asking yourself: “Who am I to be doing this?” instead ask yourself: “Who am I not to be doing this?” Your mind can’t help but come up with reasons that counteract the destructive original question. When you ask yourself empowering questions you shift your feelings of unworthiness and step into the truth.
2. You put people you admire on a pedestal
It’s a beautiful thing to be inspired by people you admire. In fact, one of the easiest ways to shift your life and business is to surround yourself with high achievers. However, there is a fine line between admiring and idolizing someone to the point that you’ve disempowered yourself in the process.
When you’re feeling frustrated because desired results haven’t manifested, what you once found inspiring can quickly become a ticking time bomb of jealousy, unworthiness, and fear. Before you know it, you’ve convinced yourself this person must have something you don’t (and never will). Their success must mean your failure.
How to turn it around: The easiest way to shift this feeling is to knock everyone you admire off the pedestal you’ve put them on–for good. At the end of the day, we’re all human beings doing the best we can with what we have. No one is perfect (even if it appears that way on social media).
From now on, choose to view other people’s wins as evidence that you can win too! See their success as your success. They are partners on your personal path to success. This perspective shifts the entire dynamic. If they have it, you can too!
3. You keep yourself unnecessarily busy
When you feel unworthy of the success that comes with doing what you love, you’ll find ways to low-key punish yourself so you’ve earned it. Often this shows up in the form of chronic busyness and overwhelm. A lot of people pack their schedules to the brim, wearing the words “I’m so busy” as a badge of honor. Trust me, it’s not. Being busy leads to burnout and rarely equals more profit. It hurts, rather than helps, your business.
How to turn it around: Journal on the following question, “What am I hiding from by staying busy all of the time?” You’ll want to resist this exercise like crazy, because this is the root cause of what’s really going on here. Any time you wear the busy badge of honor, it’s because there’s something you don’t want to face. Whatever it is, bring it to light. Freedom starts when you are willing to see who you are and love yourself anyway.
4. You celebrate less
When you feel unworthy of success, you’re more likely to downplay how far you’ve come and overemphasize how far you have to go. It’s sad how many people say things like, “I don’t have anything to celebrate. I haven’t hit my big goal yet.”
For most entrepreneurs, celebration is reserved for massive wins, and even then, the celebration tends to be (a wee bit) wimpy in comparison to the journey it took to get there. When in truth—daily celebration of your wins will skyrocket your results.
How to turn it around: Pair up with someone and make it a daily practice to share three wins from the day. Pick a celebration song that you dance to anytime something amazing happens, like landing a big client. And if you really want to take it deeper, journal on the following questions:
What am I celebrating?
Why is that worth celebrating?
Who am I becoming in the process?
When you realize how you’ve held yourself back by feeling unworthy, you have an opportunity to either work on it or keep your head in the sand. The former takes courage and a willingness to see things differently, but it will help you get to your next level.
Britny West uses her over 10 years of experience in mindset, psychology, and coaching to help women in business stop self-sabotaging cycles so they can hit their next level of income, impact and fulfillment. Britny has spent years traveling and working with women all over the world, helping her clients feel worthy of the time and financial freedom they crave so they can create lives that are even better than their vision boards. When Britny isn’t busy changing lives and taking names, she’s planning her next adventure abroad or reading a good book. Connect with @britnywest on Twitter.