One thing that every entrepreneur experiences, is that the road to success is full of bumps and detours. There is a tendency early on in the business to become discouraged, focusing on what’s not working rather than what is working.
Every action has a result—be it positive or negative. The goal is to look at one’s mistakes or failures as lessons learned.
Women, in their quest for perfection and the personal responsibility they so easily take on for the success of their endeavors, easily become paralyzed by their own expectations, according to Jenny Kincaid, founder/CEO of Mind Above Matter, LLC. “We have a selection bias by which we focus extensively on our mistakes and systematically ignore our accomplishments,” she explains. “Between a nonexistent work-life balance, strained relationships, faltering mental health; insurmountable problems to solve and very, very little encouragement, it seems like our own internal negativity and self-defeating beliefs are the least of our worries.”
Kincaid has over a decade worth of experience in the behavioral healthcare industry, having held positions in numerous healthcare settings, including inpatient care, outpatient care, hospice and skilled nursing. Below, Kincaid offers three strategies for combating self-defeating beliefs and achieving new heights in your career.
Brag more often. Men have been bragging about themselves, their talents and their accomplishments since the beginning of time, says Kincaid. It’s not that women are above bragging, but it seems like men are more comfortable and experience less guilt when relaying tales of how well they executed a project. “Instead of second guessing our choices, downplaying our successes and emphasizing our weaknesses, we need to take a cue from our male counterparts and give credit where credit is due.” Bragging is actually a form of self-care and vital for building confidence, she adds. Confidence in your accomplishments engenders confidence from others in you as well.
Don’t berate yourself. Do you put yourself down when you don’t anticipate a future outcome? When you forget a deadline? When you react harshly to your team? The triggers to your insecurities are important clues to locating the source of the issue, advises Kincaid. Determining the core problem allows you to effectively deal with the root cause and stop it from manifesting repeatedly. When you miss a deadline, maybe the core issue is a lack of discipline in planning. Maybe you fall off course when you rescue others from disorganization. “By changing your perception of the problem from an inherent character flaw (“I ALWAYS miss my deadlines. I hate when I let others down”) to a changeable habit (“I can pay closer attention to saying no to others and learn to meet deadlines better.”), you enable yourself to grow.”
Be good to yourself. So much of the time, Women Entrepreneurs attempt to be the standardized version of a role: CEO, mother, friend, wife, etc., they set impossible standards for themselves that they would never expect of others. Take that same compassion and turn it on yourself, urges Kincaid. “Stop confusing self-awareness with self-bullying. Put the ’emotional baseball bat’ up and affirm yourself every chance you can.”
A version of this story originally appeared on the BusinessCollective, which launched in partnership with Citi and is a virtual mentorship program powered by North America’s most ambitious young thought leaders, entrepreneurs, executives and small business owners.