We're talking to serial entrepreneur Sarah Davidson of Seize the Yay and Matcha Maiden on why self-doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.
You might have clicked here today because you are wondering “why self-doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.” We decided to talk to Sarah Davidson and delve into why mindset is everything when it comes to success.
If you resonate with the fear of failure driving your fate, you are in the right place to discover how Sarah Davidson controls the emotions of doubt.
Entrepreneurship. It’s intriguing, it’s lucrative and it is very provocative. The other side of entrepreneurship can truly take hold of your mental health. It can have you doubting yourself rather than giving your dream all you have got.
The start of this adventure couldn’t have been less expected or drastically different than where I am now. My husband, Nic and I started our business, Matcha Maiden as a hobby to fill a gap in the market. It was a product we wanted ourselves after I was banned from coffee during a bout of adrenal fatigue. We never expected it would be anything more than a side hustle. But it took off pretty much instantly and grew more quickly than we could keep up with.
After six months of struggling with long hours at the firm. We were squeezing business into our spare time and at this time Matcha Maiden drew the attention of Urban Outfitters (USA). Then there Urban Outfitters put in their first purchase order. I resigned from my job the next day so that we could fulfill it and I haven’t looked back.
We were still doing everything ourselves at the time. The early days were a very unglamorous start to the business. Think Breaking Bad but green. There were two of us in our underwear to avoid any fibers or dust packing covered in green powder.
At this time we were also able to open a physical venue. So we opened Matcha Mylkbar without second-guessing ourselves. We just looked at the success we already had with our product in the market. While I wasn’t desperately unhappy as a lawyer, I realized quickly that it wasn’t the right career path for me. I experienced a lot of self-doubt. Being a lawyer satisfied my love for mental gymnastics but stifled my dominant creative and people-oriented side. Moving into business was the scariest, most exhilarating but also the most transformative and rewarding decision I’ve ever made.
I’ve since learned that most of us won’t make a change unless we’re actively unhappy. We get caught up in the glorification of busy and the “productivity hamster wheel”, never stopping to question if we’re doing something that truly ignites us.
If it weren’t for the accidental discovery of a business idea, I might have gone a whole life overwhelmed by self-doubt, never knowing I wasn’t living my dreams or how much better life could be. Soon enough I became very passionate about helping others break their autopilot circuit and being able to break through the self-doubt and paralysis of perfection. I love to help people make changes towards what makes them happy or what makes them say “yay”. Out of this passion grew my latest business, Seize the Yay. It began as a podcast but is now a range of products. I call myself a funtrepreneur – life couldn’t be further away from my top floor corner office.
It’s not about how much or how little fear you feel, but what you do with those feelings. Most importantly, it’s not about eliminating fear altogether. I think it’s about knowing how to manage that fear. I like that I still get a rush of nerves or adrenaline when I’m doing something new as it’s a sign that I care about the outcome. Fear is something I see as I am stepping out of the comfort zone instead of staying complacent. The trick is in learning to acknowledge the fear as a self-protection mechanism. Then moving on and doing it anyway instead of letting it control your decision making.
Everything happens for a reason and when things don’t go as planned, it’s usually to teach you a lesson that you’ll need later on for something much bigger. Having said that, there are many things that definitely felt like a failure at the time. Every single one has involved a key revelation, lesson or transformation that helped us take the next steps in our business.
We’ve lost thousands of dollars’ worth of stock to shipping conditions without checking our marine insurance. Produced far too many of a product we didn’t market test enough and made barely any sales. Underestimated a different product that went crazily and didn’t have enough stock to make the most of the boom, the list goes on!
My difficulty in managing myself. I find it so hard to put the brakes on and let myself rest because I absolutely love what I do. In one way most would say that’s a great trait. But I find it a failure because what’s the point in having a wellness business if you can’t maintain your own? It’s not a badge of honor to win at being exhausted. I don’t feel successful feeling depleted or run down. So I’m working on learning to re-prioritize my health and wellbeing even if it means calming down the passion. It’s easy to say no to things you don’t want to do, but so much harder to say no to things you DO want to do. Nobody can do everything and we all need to rest to be our best.
The biggest aspect of developing my “seize the yay” philosophy has been adjusting my metrics for measuring my life from “success”, “financial goals” or external milestones more towards how I feel day today and the positive impact I have on others in the process.
While there are definitely financial and performance-based successes we’ve had, they aren’t the ones that stand out to me the most. For me, starting the podcast would probably be one of my proudest moments because I had to go back to being a complete beginner and this time without a business partner or anyone else to share the highs but also the lows with.
I feel like starting Seize the Yay was such a big milestone because it was maybe the scariest jump I’d taken. I had no experience in podcasting or audio editing. The adrenaline rush that put fear in me was that it was on public display, so if it failed or I realized I couldn’t make it work, everyone would have known and for many of us that is scary. But again, it comes back to being able to manage your fear response and talk yourself through to the worst-case scenario – usually, it’s nowhere near as bad as you think it is.
It doesn’t matter if you’re the best or the worst at something, it matters what you believe about your ability to get here. You have to overcome self-doubt. You can always learn and acquire new skills but if your mindset is negative, you still won’t reach your goals. I often say that life is 10% what happens to you, 90% what you make of it.
Everything you do in life is experienced and perceived through the lens of your mindset, so if you tweak that you can truly do anything.