Richard Branson, the famous businessman, philanthropist, and public speaker, answers readers’ questions on his LinkedIn monthly and luckily this month’s topic is as intriguing as relatable for us and the theme of our blog. How to overcome doubt when chasing a dream? Here’s what Richard has to say:
“This is a topic I feel very strongly about, as it is something we will all come up against at different points in our lives. Suzy Kassem says that ‘doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.’ I first heard these words a few years ago and they have stuck with me ever since.
What I’ve learnt throughout my life is that every success is built upon a thousand failures (or 'opportunities to learn', as I like to think of them). Whenever doubt creeps in, I remind myself that dreams aren’t linear. I also think of all the brilliant innovations and discoveries that would have come to nothing if their inventors had given in to their doubts. I’m sure everyone from Thomas Edison to Gertrude Stein doubted their dreams from time-to-time, but the difference is they didn’t let it knock them off-course.
It’s always a good idea to discuss any doubt you have with colleagues and friends, and to really listen to their feedback. If you feel more confident after these conversations, take a ‘screw it, let do it’ attitude and push your doubts to the side.
It’s also healthy and perfectly human to have a little bit of doubt. It’s how we make progress and stay in touch with reality. Your doubts may signal a niggling problem that needs to be addressed. If you demand proof from your doubt, you’ll be able to either squash it or solve the problem. Either way your dreams and ideas will be better for it.
The day after we launched Virgin Atlantic, the bank manager came to my house and threatened to shut us down. I managed to get him out of the door and brought my team together to find a solution. It was a very sweaty moment, but I didn’t let doubt creep in and we quickly fixed the issue.
If things really start to get you down, my advice would be to step outside, get some fresh air, and have a cup of tea. Whenever doubt starts to get the better of me, I find exercise really helps. I’ll get on my bike, play some tennis or have some downtime with my family. This is often when my best ideas come to me as well!
Thank you for sharing such a meaningful question Kamil, and I really hope this helps you chase your dreams.”