Even the most successful franchisors aren't immune to feeling fear and self-doubt but don't let it affect your ability to achieve your goals
I recently came to the realisation that I experience some sort of self-doubt wobble about once every four weeks. It all boils down to the story I’m telling myself in my head: my own internal dialogue is definitely the problem and it's a pattern I’m trying to break. When you start analysing the way you speak to yourself, you'll often find that it can have a hugely positive or a hugely negative effect, depending on how self-critical you are. Self-doubt is debilitating and you must learn to deflect it like a football defender.
As a leader, it’s down to you alone to find a coping strategy that works for you and tackles the negative voice within your head. It could be something as simple as the choosing the words you use for your internal dialogue more wisely or creating a vision board to keep your eyes on the prize.
These are some of the realisations I've come to as I've tried to address my own self-doubt struggles.
It's OK to make mistakes
We all make mistakes and certainly in the early days of opening a franchise or becoming a franchisor it’s easy for self-doubt to creep in as you learn the ropes. You are going to fall over like a toddler and that's OK. It’s how you get up and move forward that determines your success. Failing is part of the learning process so instead of dwelling on your setbacks and allowing them to sap your energy, see what you can tweak and don't be afraid of trying again.
The benefit of franchising is that you're using a tried, tested and proven model with all the support that you could imagine when the going gets tough. But that being said, any new business that hasn't quite found its feet is bound to take a tumble or two on the way to maturity. Little Voices is very much in its infancy compared to other more established franchised brands. Both me and my franchisees are constantly learning from mistakes and developing as a result of every challenge we face.
Personally, I'm chronicling all of the times I've fallen over and the lessons I've learned in my journal every day – I’m sure that it will make for interesting reading in years to come. The important thing is to keep things in perspective and remember that mistakes happen to everyone: what matters is how you handle them.
Success takes time and hard work
Recognise that learning takes time rather than thinking ‘this is too hard’. In business, you’re not going to get overnight results. But just look at all the people who have gone before us. The sooner you accept that success requires hard graft, the sooner you’ll start to be productive. It's not going to be easy, as any athlete, entrepreneur, inventor, actor or mountaineer will tell you. It takes time, focus and dedication to reach your summit. So don’t be disillusioned if you don't see results immediately or allow self-doubt to creep in, distracting you from your goals. There is no fast track in business.
Don't compare yourself to other people
While keeping an eye on your competitors is only natural, comparing yourself to other people isn’t always helpful. Run your own race, set your own goals and choose to learn from other people rather than focusing on how you measure up.
Feel the fear and do it anyway
Rather than just sticking to what feels comfortable, challenge yourself every day. Challenges are what drive us forward. Think like a sportsperson who's committed to pushing themselves a little further every single day.
Doing the same thing in the same way every day isn’t going to help you grow or push the boundaries, so embrace change and embrace a challenge. Every experience makes us a stronger, more resilient person and business leader. I know that when I’m most afraid I’m about to learn my biggest lesson. And the more you face your fears and prove to yourself what you're capable of, the better you'll be at facing up to adversity when it's thrown in your direction.