Whether you’re starting a business, finally getting a passion project under way, or perhaps making a significant change in your life, there can be countless reasons to feel uneasy about doing something new. It makes sense. Some of us thrive on the excitement of the unknown and figuring things out on-the-fly, while others feel uncertain and unable to move forward without a precise path to success already mapped out.
I was flipping through a book the other day and came across a line that jumped off the page:
“I realized I could feel the fear and do it anyway … you have to embrace fear and failure, it’s the only way that extraordinary is made real.”
It got me thinking of that classic Steve Jobs quote, “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” It takes a certain degree of foolishness and vulnerability to attempt something big without already knowing the outcome. You might not know the end game, but you have the confidence in yourself to push past the fear and take that proverbial plunge.
For anyone who has big aspirations but is feeling low on the self-confidence meter, these helpful reminders are sure to give you that boost to start blazing your trail.
1. Define what confidence means to you
If you think self-assuredness stems only from prior success and means that you can never fail, then you are mistaken. So says acclaimed life and business coach, author and motivational speaker Tony Robbins.
“True confidence embodies a willingness to go on even when faced with adversity,” Robbins says. “Whatever happens, you can face it and come out on top. That’s confidence.”
Confidence comes when you’ve accepted your own potential to find solutions and enable your own success.
2. Stop comparing yourself to everyone else
Former U.S. president Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Comparison can also be a confidence-killer.
If you’re constantly looking elsewhere and thinking your project/product/service isn’t as big or won’t be as successful as what Steve Jobs or Martha Stewart or Elon Musk or whomever is the big-name player in your industry has done, then you’ll likely never get started.
Other people’s accomplishments don’t dictate your potential. They also don’t quantify your personal definition of success.
3. Tell your inner critic to take a hike
There’s nothing wrong with fear. It can help you to be more deliberate and calculated in your approach. But if you’ve dwelled on the negatives for so long and convinced yourself that you’re incapable or unworthy of accomplishing your goals, then tell your inner critic to quiet down. It should help you recognize and avoid dangers or pitfalls—it has no business drowning out the confidence you need to move forward.
One way to do this is to examine the evidence. If you’re sure you’re bound to fail at something, write down the real reasons why that might be the case. Then, list the evidence that points to your success. Taking the time to examine the evidence of your situation can help bring clarity to your inner dialogue, which can sometimes be exaggerated and overly pessimistic.
4. Surround yourself with people who support you
It’s difficult to accomplish greatness when the company you keep isn’t invested in your success. Even more so if your friends and family frequently express negativity about your plans and capabilities. The last thing you want is to become mired in everyone else’s doubt.
Doubt can serve as a motivator for some people to prove the “haters” wrong. But those people usually already have a healthy level of confidence. If you surround yourself with people who support you, they’ll give you reason to be confident and likely also push you to do better than your expectations.
When you believe you can accomplish your goals, and the people who matter most think so too, you might be surprised about how confident you become about overcoming obstacles and reaching your milestones.
This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Minor edits have been done by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editors.