Melvyn Tan
September 23, 2013 — By tanmelvyn@gmail.com

How To Overcome Self-Doubt

[blockquote source=”John 14:1 (GWT)“]”Don’t be troubled. Believe in God, and believe in me.[/blockquote] Couple of years back when the dot-com company I worked for went bust, we needed very quickly to find cash to supplement our income or else we would all be on the streets.  Then one of us suggested that we should organise […]

[blockquote source=”John 14:1 (GWT)“]”Don’t be troubled. Believe in God, and believe in me.[/blockquote]

Couple of years back when the dot-com company I worked for went bust, we needed very quickly to find cash to supplement our income or else we would all be on the streets.  Then one of us suggested that we should organise a conference on “investor relations”.

To begin, I did not know what “investor relations” was and further, I have never organised a conference before.  I mean, I have attended conferences before and the closest I would get to organising a conference would be to organise a lunch for a bunch of would-be investors.  That was it.

When the task was given to me, I literally freaked out!  I wanted to quit.  I just did not think that people would want to sign up for such a conference and besides, who would I invite to speak?  Additionally, we did not have any money, so how would we pay them?  How much would we charge each participant?  Would there be an early-bird discount or a group discount?

So, one of the first things we did was to brainstorm a list of possible to-dos to get this project going.  The list looked like this:

  • Look for similar conferences organised in the past – how much did they charge, what are the topics they covered
  • Identify the target audience – would the target audience be existing companies who are already publicly traded?  How about inviting companies on the “Promising SMEs” list?  How about inviting corporations that offer investor relations services as well?  What about people from the security exchanges?  What about investors?
  • Selection of speakers – who do we invite?  Would it be good to provide a range of speakers such as investor relations practitioners, security exchanges personnel, existing publicly traded companies, traders from brokerage houses, public accountants?
  • Marketing strategy – what would be the most cost effective marketing strategy?   Do we do email marketing?  How about fax?  What about advertisements?  What about speaking at other conferences?  Through the press?

I am proud to say that due to the efforts of the team, we managed to pull this off quite successfully.

Firstly, we rounded up a group of speakers to speak at the conference for free, in exchange for raising their own profile, or that of their organisations, as well as the possibility to network and to solicit for prospective clients.

Next, we did identified a specific group of target audience where we believe this conference would add most value to them.  Sure, not everyone we approached signed up, but at least our assumption about organisations wanting to learn more about how they can reach out to their shareholders was accurate.

Lastly, though the conference was organised on a shoe-string budget, we made sure that the ambience of the event did not reflect that.  We did not pinch on the selection of location.  Instead, we chose one of the top conference locations in Singapore.  Further, we had a little surprise for our participants by inviting several top officials from the Economic Development Board to lunch and have them mingle and network with our participants.

At the end of the day, we did not make a lot of money, but we certainly gained the experience (may not yet be the expertise) to help us overcome our self-doubt about what we can do.

Based on this experience, one can say that in order to overcome self-doubt, you just have to go out there, get your hands dirty, and gain the experience.  However, that was before I became a believer and thought that in order to not just survive, but also to thrive, I would need to depend only on myself to make things happen.  Funny thing is, despite having some level of success, we never organise another conference.  In fact, I was just glad that it is over.

In other words, we were not able to sustain what we did and even if we tried, I am not sure if we are able to succeed.  As I mature and also became a believer in Christ, my strategies for overcoming self-doubt have been refined and can be explained through FAITH:

  • F is for Focus on Jesus: knowing that “He is the head over every power and authority” (Colossians 2:10), I want to align whatever I pursue with His will
  • A is for Approach everything with love: following Christ is not just inviting Jesus into your life, but to also live like Him, and that is to “Love one another” (John 13:34)
  • I is for Identify your purpose: God has a purpose for you even when you are in your mother’s womb, for the Psalmist said “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed” (Psalm 139.16)
  • T is for Train your mind: Paul in Romans 12:2 said “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” as such we should train our mind and not allow the doubts and fears to conquer us
  • H is for Hone your skills: The skills that got you here would not get you where you want to be, so you need to hone your skills and learn new ones, as in Proverbs “Do you see someone skilled in their work? They will serve before kings; they will not serve before officials of low rank.” (Proverbs 22.29)

Father I pray that we can overcome our self-doubts by having faith in Your grace and guidance in all that we do.  Father I thank You for Jesus and we pray each day to focus on Jesus and through Him all things will indeed become possible.  In Jesus name, Amen.