How do I: deal with doubt

Progress towards any goal or vision erodes doubt, whether fast or slow. More people will believe it will be when they see it, hear it, understand it, and want it too. Not everyone will share your doubt. Even fewer will share your goal or vision. Don’t let that stop you.

Will I take missteps? Yes, reevaluate when that occurs. Doubt does not result in failure. Failure occurs after starting due to a lack of persistence and forethought. Doubts might derive forethoughts or considerations.

You can move in baby steps, a leisure walk of progress, and eventually, in full sprint forward.

New ideas are sometimes like infants, so treat them like one. Hear, see then move just like a baby does. Remember crawl, walk, run. Yes, there will be falls, and then you get right back up.

Doubt should be a brief pause and think, not endless stalling due to “I am not ready because [fill in the excuse]”. If your target market is not ready, the market will give you clear signs that say so. When we believe in it more than doubt it, we should act on it. Even if we go at it alone until we have something to show for it. Move forward around constraints, obstacles, and most importantly, your own doubts.

If your idea is solving a problem, if it has an audience, and clients willing to pay for your solution, keep pushing forward despite doubts. We will not free everyone from doubts, and that should not be anyone’s goal.

Perfection does not exist. Stop stalling and doubting whether you are ready to launch something if your idea’s minimum viable product (MVP) works and sells. You can continue to iterate and improve it as you move forward and need to in a prioritized manner.

Doing something new is not about waiting for anyone’s acceptance or permission. We do something new despite our fears, uncertainties, and doubts (FUD). We do the uncomfortable things to finish a phase we started, be first, win, and keep moving forward toward what we still need to improve.

Doubt can cause frustration. Frustration can be refocused as fuel toward that progress we need to see. We want that thing to become real to the point that we manifest into some form we need it to be.

Make a list of the pros and cons of doing what you think about doing.

Take account of the ‘what-ifs’ to get them out of your head and note them as documentation in your little book of doubt. Some doubts might be risks or just opportunities to tackle in the future. Many doubts you can laugh at sooner than later. Enjoy the journey even if you don’t travel.

Advisor at UMD Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship

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Henrik de Gyor is now an Advisor at the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland, based at the Robert H. Smith School of Business in College Park, Maryland.

Henrik graduated from the University of Maryland a while back and is happy to give back to the community with his time and expertise.

Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship holds Dingman Fridays which are open office hours for students and alumni to walk in and get startup advice, regardless of the stage of their business idea or their major. This is exclusively for University of Maryland faculty, staff, students, and alumni.

Many universities now have an entrepreneurship center, unless they are behind the times. Today, students do not all expect to work for someone once they graduate, but rather work on their ideas before they graduate and potentially grow their own business.

To learn more about Dingman Fridays, visit http://www.rhsmith.umd.edu/centers-excellence/dingman-center-entrepreneurship/initiatives-programs/pitch-dingman