When I speak to successful entrepreneurs who went through ups and downs to build their businesses, I hear one thing in common regarding lessons they learned from their journeys. One important lesson is to trust their intuition and themselves and follow their passion.

Successful entrepreneurs not only have brilliant minds, but most importantly, they learned to trust themselves. That makes an extraordinary success possible (not the success that looks great on the outside and leads to exhaustion and burnout on the inside but the success that makes one feel vibrantly alive).

Such success is deeply connected with the ability to listen to your gut, trust your intuition, and follow your passion.

How to trust yourself?

1. Become aware of the signals your body sends you both when you feel vibrantly alive when an exciting opportunity presents, and also when you know something is off.

2. Learn to differentiate between the sensation of fear that is here to keep you safe (the one that appears when you walk down a dark alley late at night and see a group of drunken people in a fight: that version of fear might lead you to take a different route) vs. fear that comes up when you get out of your comfort zone to pursue your mission, fear of trying something new which is aligned with your purpose (for some it might be e.g. speaking in front of a large group about your mission, for some leaving a safe full-time job to pursue their dreams).

3. Once you recognize the signals your body sends, you will know whether to follow your fear into safety or tune into your courage and purpose to step out of your comfort zone.

4. Reflect on the three most successful moments in your life and three moments when you experienced the biggest setbacks. What have you learned from each of those moments? Which of your strengths guided you through those difficult moments? (E.g. Is it your perseverance, your resilience, your ability to connect with others and ask for help?)

5. Show compassion and love for yourself especially when you feel you made a less optimal choice.

6. Slow down to celebrate your successes, however, minor they might appear to you.

You see, success is never a straight line: I have never met a successful entrepreneur who has not had significant setbacks on their journey. In fact, I hear from successful entrepreneurs that their peaks, their big successes are often correlated to the big setbacks they experienced.

As you get to know yourself, you get to trust your response, and your ability to slow down and make the right choice in a difficult situation, you realize that the situations that might appear challenging in a moment are your biggest teachers.

Below is the “Access” model I developed through working with leaders and entrepreneurs which might help you access self-trust:

  • Awareness: become aware of yourself and your body’s reactions
  • Curiosity: be curious about yourself and others
  • Courage: step outside of your comfort zone to face the fear to pursue your purpose
  • Empathy: show empathy for yourself even when you make what you might consider mistakes
  • Slowing Down: to notice your successes, and setbacks, and reflect on your strengths and learnings
  • Success Celebration: celebrate every day your little and big successes.