Self-discovery may not sound like a powerful tool to build a thriving business, but the research says otherwise.
A 2020 poll from Visa reported that there are more than 250 million women in some kind of entrepreneurial role. However, they also found that gender disparities still exist between male and female entrepreneurs.
In fact, 66 percent of female entrepreneurs report difficulty funding businesses. In a business world that’s historically lacked equal gender representation and leadership advancement, women often have to confront both personal and logistical hurdles, suggests International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal.
These hurdles include a fear of failure, low confidence, smaller support networks, economic gaps, work-family conflicts, and other limiting social norms. This is where the power of self-discovery becomes important for female entrepreneurs.
As multinational healthcare entrepreneur Ameera Shah suggests that self-discovery is a powerful tool. In her 2015 TED Talk, Shah outlines the benefits of self-discovery for female entrepreneurs as follows:
“For a [woman], the process of self-discovery to find out who she really is, what she’s really capable of, and what’s the best of who she can really be is the most important.”
This exploration of the self, and a willingness to look inward and uproot the limiting beliefs, is one of the main assets female entrepreneurs have, Shah asserts. The confidence found in this process leads to resilience to perseverance that allows women to overcome the barriers presented.
Here’s what you need to know about the power of self-discovery as a female entrepreneur, and how you can use it as a tool for building your business.
The Link Between Success and Self-Discovery
Self-awareness of personal core competencies leads to self-efficacy, which happens to be one of the main predictors in both entrepreneurial ambition and success, according to Gender in Management. Gender in Management defines self-efficacy as the confidence that “I will be able to achieve most of the goals I have set for myself.”
However, the research indicates that a challenge female entrepreneurs face across all industries is risk aversion and lack of confidence; to actually trust their strengths, and believe their goals are attainable.
To rise above this challenge, women can benefit from doing the personal development work to determine:
- The skills they bring to the table
- The personality traits can offer them a competitive edge
- The insecurities or areas of weakness they need to overcome
- The kind of business owner they want to be
Investing time and energy in self-discovery can boost self-efficacy, leading to a greater openness to risk and less fear of failure.
In other words, the more women know about themselves—and trust in their abilities—the more equipped they are to run a successful business.
Keep Reading: Work Smarter, Not Harder: Do Less and Grow Your Biz
How to Leverage the Power Self-Discovery
If you’re a female entrepreneur who wants to experience the power of self-discovery for yourself, it’s important to first understand that this a lifelong process. You’re never done digging deep, shifting your mindset, and stepping into your power.
While there are many ways to embrace self-discovery, here are a few simple strategies you can start using today to better understand who you are and what you want.
Meditation in and of itself is powerful. However, I love the questions Harvard Business Review suggests thinking about as you meditate:
- What am I trying to achieve?
- What am I doing that works?
- What am I doing that slows me down?
- What can I do to change?
Getting intentional with meditation by bringing in a focus question or idea allows you to dive even deeper and gain clarity around certain aspects of yourself. Use this work on specific challenges or obstacles you’re trying to overcome.
Focus on Abundance
Abundance is all around us—but are you focusing on what you have or what you don’t have? It’s easy to fall into the category of the latter, but the more abundance we allow ourselves to see, the more we attract in. As the law of attraction has taught us, where thoughts go, energy flows.
To get into the mindset of abundance, use guided affirmation meditations, like this You Are Abundant recording to start seeing the abundance all around you, and the abundance that’s yours take.
Another simple practice is to bring to mind 5-10 things you’re abundant in every single morning before you get out of bed. This shifts you into an abundance mindset before your feet ever hit the floor. This might include:
- I am abundant in clothing that keeps me warm.
- I am abundant in food that nourishes me.
- I am abundant in love from my partner.
This idea, from the same HBR article, is so simple and yet so powerful. You can learn a lot about yourself through assessment tests, like whether you’re more instinctual or analytical in business, and whether you are most driven by a feeling of passion or the urgency to take action. Some of the most common assessments you can try are:
Getting your human design chart read and analyzed is another amazing way to uncover more about why you work, think and act the way you do. More importantly, you can use this information to design your business around your strengths and shift the way you work to appeal to your unique rhythms.
Ask Your Friends
Your friends see parts of you that you may not even see in yourself. That’s why a fun self-discovery exercise is to ask your closest friends: “What’s the first thing you think when I walk into a room?”
You may be shocked at what they say and their answers will give you insights that mean something because they’re from people who truly know and love you. Use this as a way to better understand how other people see you and in turn, get a better view of yourself.
Journaling is one of the best ways to dig deeper into who you are. You’re not just thinking in your head, but you’re actually writing thoughts on paper, which can provide more focus. If you find it difficult or unappealing to simply pick up a journal and start writing, use journal prompts to fuel your insights.
Here are a few journal prompts I’ve shared with my community:
- Journal Prompts to Fight Self-Doubt
- Journal Prompts to Let Go of Structure
- 5 Journal Prompts to Do What You Actually Want
Get to Know Yourself and Discover Your Power
Being a female entrepreneur isn’t always easy, but one tool you have in your arsenal is self-discovery. The more insight and awareness you have about yourself, the better prepared you are to take risks and persevere in the face of obstacles. If you’ve been resisting, now’s the time to dig in and do the inner work. Don’t underestimate the power of self-discovery on your journey to build a thriving and successful business.
Jessica Thiefels is a published author, host of Mindset Reset Radio, CEO of Jessica Thiefels Consulting, and co-founder of Don’t Ask How. She's been writing for more than 10 years and has been featured in top publications including Forbes and Entrepreneur. Jessica is on a mission to empower women to make their own rules and live with intention so they wake up every day excited about the life they get to live. Follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.