A lot of entrepreneurs struggle with unworthiness, but very few are willing to talk about it openly.
It’s not the easiest subject to tackle, because it’s not exactly something you want to put on display.
Like with any feelings, the more power you give to your sense of unworthiness, the more havoc it can cause.
Unwanted feelings pass, but when you’re in the middle of feeling unworthy, it certainly doesn’t feel that way.
The feelings we experience arise from the stories we tell ourselves (ex. I’m not good enough). It always helps to remember that you are not your feelings, nor your thoughts, but the observer of them.
Imagine yourself watching a movie. You can get immersed in the movie and feel like you’re there, but ultimately you are the one watching the movie.
What is Unworthiness?
Unworthiness is the feeling that you are not appropriate or suitable for what you’re doing or getting.
This happens a lot for online entrepreneurs. A good example is if you’re creating your first product. You will probably run into feelings of not feeling good enough, and not knowing what you’re doing.
It happens to the best of us, and it’s normal to feel that way.
It’s not until you take action that you see that those feelings and thoughts of unworthiness aren’t entirely true. I’ll talk more about that in just a second.
What Does Unworthiness Look Like?
If you want to get to the bottom of how unworthiness manifests in your life, start observing your thoughts and the stories you tell yourself.
In what circumstances does it pop up for you, and what thoughts does it bring up?
Unworthiness comes in many different disguises. Here are a few examples of inner dialogue you may be familiar with:
- I’m not good enough for this
- Why would anyone buy my products?
- No one will like my writing, so why should I try?
- I am making a living already, but I feel like a fraud
You may have your own versions of the above, but it’s all the same stuff. Thoughts and stories are swirling in your head that are making you feel bad.
What Causes Unworthiness?
Where do all these feelings come from? Why do you feel bad about putting out products, writing articles, or doing what you feel like you should be doing?
The biggest part of it comes from what you’ve taken in from society, friends, parents, and other sources.
Maybe you had a father who told you “You can’t write, so don’t even try. You will never be a writer.”
And now you’re attempting to earn money creating helpful products on your blog, so it’s only natural that your “inability” to write should pop up.
The thoughts, feelings, and stories we have can feel so real that it’s easy to believe that getting rid of them is impossible.
The good news is that you can eliminate feelings of unworthiness. But it only happens when you are truly ready.
3 Simple Steps to Overcoming Unworthiness
If unworthiness is caused by your thoughts and your stories, the way out is to examine what exactly is behind your pain and suffering.
A good example from my own life was when I was creating Passionate Living (the latest version has a new name, but more on that below). Sure, I felt unworthy of giving advice on how to live a life full of passion.
But when I started looking deeper, I discovered that I was trying to think what people would like, instead of sharing my own experience, which is all I can do. I couldn’t possibly know what other people thought.
I knew what troubled my readers. I had their frustrations and problems in front of me, and my writing didn’t start to flow until I allowed myself to share what I had to share.
As I kept writing and working on Passionate Living, I had my doubts, but I kept on writing and doing my best.
When I released it to my audience, it sold well, because I was answering the questions my readers had and solving the problems they were experiencing.
It has to date sold almost 200 copies and it keeps selling without me doing any pushy promotion for it.
I keep getting emails from people thanking me for the content in it. I am astonished at this, because it shows me how wrong I was.
I thought I had nothing to contribute, and it kept me from almost starting Wake Up Cloud altogether, but could I ever be absolutely sure that I had nothing to give to the world?
The honest answer is no, and when you look at your thoughts on unworthiness, I think you will discover the same thing. They feel certain, but they aren’t.
You may, at times, be paralyzed by your feelings of unworthiness, which prevents you from taking action and getting real-life feedback.
The solution then is to be present with your unworthiness. This means getting curious about how your unworthiness feels, where in your body it is, when it happens, and what stories you tell yourself about it.
When your mind starts diving into more stories, gently bring back your attention to what is going on inside your body.
Become the watcher of your inner space, and do this each time feelings of unworthiness come up. Accept whatever happens, breathe, and be with it.
Inquiry is a concept I’ve learned from The Work by Byron Katie.
It’s the act of investigating your thoughts. Are they really true?
When you inquire, you realize that almost none of your thoughts are true. The stories we tell ourselves are only in our imagination.
And what you then realize is that reality is much kinder than the fantasy we mentally live in.
Let’s say you believe: “I have nothing to offer to the world.”
With The Work you ask yourself the following four questions:
- Is that true?
- Can you be absolutely certain it’s true?
- How do you react when you think that thought?
- Who would you be without the thought?
That is the beginning, and as you can see, there’s no way you can be sure that you have nothing to offer.
When I look back at all the negative feelings and moments I’ve experienced, I realize that they all had something to teach me.
They were there for a reason.
Those reasons can be hard to see in the moment, and can be easy to overlook as you get on with your life, but they are still there.
Your feelings of unworthiness may be a nudge for you to dive deeper into your personal growth.
Only you can discover the true meaning of your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs.