Some days I am so confident about my work, and other days I question just about everything. I can fall into a swirling vortex of insecure thoughts and doubts about the future. Is this what I should be doing? Will this even work?
When you start your own business, you accept risk. You know you’re putting in more than you will get out of it for at least the first few years. You know getting those first 10 clients will be an uphill battle. You are also acting on the belief that everything will absolutely work out alright - maybe better than alright, maybe downright lucrative! - in the end.
But what if it doesn’t? *spirals out of control*
I was inspired to write this after reading Steve Jobs’ 2005 commencement speech to the graduating class of Stanford University. During his address, he said that “you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” (View his full speech.)
My doubts start creeping in when I allow myself to try to connect those future dots. I start trying to predict what will happen if I do this or that, analyzing every detail to make a final, logical decision on what is “best”. My brain tells me that if I don’t do this, I will make a wrong decision and fail. My brain gives up before I even get started.
This is why Steve Jobs says to trust your gut not your brain.
Your brain cannot predict the future - no one can. Your gut, though, that intuitive voice in your head, knows you best. It knows the best choice for you, to play to your strengths, to push your boundaries, to bring you fulfillment. Let your gut be the driving force, not your brain.
Take the time to look at the steps you took to get to where you are today. Connect the dots that were completely meaningless at the time, but added up to something very significant. I got my undergrad in English Literature. When I couldn’t find a job after graduating, I took a part-time job at my local library. Two weeks later, I started applying to grad schools to get my Masters in Library Science. Fast forward to the end of my first year as a librarian, when I taught myself just enough HTML and CSS to get a promotion. Two years and a lot more self-taught coding later, I realized coding and web design provided the challenge and creativity I had always wanted.
Now today, I am working with my business partner Melissa to build a company that will allow me to do more of what I love, while helping others who are doing the same. So far, the dots have all lined up, and I try hard to not let my own doubts, fears, and insecurities stop me from reaching the next one, no matter what it may be.