024: My Story of Self-Doubt Leading Up To My First Summit

Oct 29, 2019

Self-doubt tends to make it's way to the front of your mind when it comes time to host a summit and I haven't escaped that. In this episode, I'm telling my self-doubt story, journey, and how it's compared to my reality. If you're experiencing these types of feelings, you're not alone!


Welcome to the Summit Host Hangout podcast where you'll learn how to plan, strategize, and launch your profitable online summit, no influencer status necessary. I'm your host Krista from Summit In A Box, and we are currently in a series about mindset blocks and shifts that come about when hosting a summit.

Today in episode 24, I'm changing things up a little bit and sharing a little bit more of my story than I usually do. We are going to cover things like how I struggled with self-doubt before my first summit, how that self-doubt really compared to reality, what moving past that self-doubt did for me, and then pieces I still struggle with today after hosting three summits and teaching other people how to do it.

But before we dive in, I want to invite you to join the summit host hangout Facebook group. This is a group of summit hosts, whether they're up and coming or past hosts who have all come together to get support and to support each other in the summit planning journey. It's also a really great place to ask questions, get support, support others, and just feel understood. Since people who aren't on the track of hosting a summit don't really get it., it's especially great if you do find yourself struggling with the self-doubt aspect of hosting a summit that we'll talk about today and could you some extra support. Join the group by going to summitinabox.com/community.

My Struggles With Self Doubt

I want to start by telling you a little bit about my struggles with self-doubt. I started planning my first summit in October of 2017 and even though this was my first summit, it was not the first time I had thought about hosting a summit. I thought about it a lot. Leading up to that, I saw other people doing it. I saw them building these huge audiences and communities and having a lot of fun and seeing great success. But to me, it was never an option. It was never something that I saw myself as being able to do because I just wasn't a big enough deal.

October 2017 was the first time I thought of it really seriously and considered it as something I could do. Like I said before, in my experience leading up to that in my mind, only big marketing gurus hosted summits and they weren't always a great experience. I kind of left feeling like I'd just been pitched for five days straight and I wasn't getting a lot of value and nothing ever felt good about attending one to me before other than maybe a great presentation here or there that left me really motivated to take action.

I up to that point really didn't want to just add to that noise that I felt like all summits were adding to, but one day I was driving in my car almost home and something just clicked and I realized I could do it differently. I had a very specific audience. My audience for that business is brand and web designers, and I knew that would set me apart from the rest. Up to that point, I had never seen a summit just for designers now, there have been at least there's been at least one or two more that have popped up since I've hosted mine, of course, but it was very unique at that point. I knew I could capitalize on that and do it in a way that felt really good to me and truly provided value and helped my members feel like they were part of a community.

Even though I felt good about this, I definitely wasn't confident, but with that realization that I would have something unique to bring to the world of summits, I decided that I was going to at least give it a try. I had at that time really big goals for my business, and I kind of was feeling stuck. I knew that a successful summit would get me a lot of the way there. You know, I was booked out for the client work pretty consistently. I had an okay sized email list, at least for what I did. I didn't need a ton of email subscribers, but I was just feeling stuck and I wanted that next level of visibility. I wanted more email subscribers for whatever that would mean. I wanted clients that would pay me more money and I knew that bringing in a large group of new warm leads through a summit would help me get there.

After I Decided to Host a Summit

So let's move into now what happened after I made that decision to go for it and actually started planning. For a really good portion of the planning stage, my excitement kind of buried my self-consciousness. I really love organizing things and starting new projects, so I was in my zone of genius. I was just knocking things out one task after another, and I was having a blast. There were definitely times that I started to feel more scared than excited, but I was also, at the time, getting ready to have my first baby. My brain was just full of other things, and I was able to kind of ignore the feelings of being scared. For the most part. That is until it came time to pitch my speakers.

Pitching speakers was, and still is, the hardest part for me. I knew that if I wanted this to be a success and worth the effort and get me to where I wanted to be, I needed to get out of my comfort zone with who I pitched. But the problem was I didn't really have a comfort zone. I wasn't comfortable with it at all. I was even terrified to pitch my best friend.

I think I sent her, Kory for those of you who know her, I think I sent her a message like, "Um, yeah, you know that summit I'm hosting, and I've been telling you about. I'm sorry, but like would you maybe possibly want to speak? Like totally okay if you don't want to, but I just wanted to ask and okay, sorry. Bye." Like that. Something like how the message went, and it was absolutely ridiculous. The good part of it is that, of course, she said yes. It gave me a little bit of a confidence boost, which didn't take a whole lot with the level I was at, but it gave me that confidence boost. I needed to start making a list of other people to reach out to because I was even hitting blocks around the list-making part. I was so terrified that I couldn't even identify who I wanted to speak.

This is where the three-step pitching process that I teach actually came from. It's a great process, but it actually came out of my self-doubt. I started with the easiest people to pitch. It helped boost my confidence a little and then use those people as social proof when I was moving on to people I didn't know as well or who had bigger audiences. When those pitch emails went out, I'll tell you, I was terrified and had so much anxiety around it. But each time a response came in, a little bit of that anxiety got replaced with more and more excitement. Once the pitches were done, I was able to get excited again and focus on preparing for everything else until it came time to promote.

Do you see this as a crazy cycle? This anxiety and uncertainty I had in the days before the promotion started were just as bad as what I felt when I was pitching speakers, if not worse. I was thinking that everyone would see that I, this little developer was hosting a summit and wonder what the heck I thought I was doing. I was pretty sure no one would sign up and that other speakers would hate me for wasting their time and effort. It really sounds ridiculous now, but I know that I'm not the only one who feels this way. I just want to put it out there and tell you guys so you know you're not the only ones if you're feeling this.

The good news is I had developed a summit target audience and topic that really hit home, and I immediately got insanely positive feedback from day one. Within a couple of days of promotion, I had hit my sales goal. From there it was pretty much uphill. Of course, there were times where I wondered who I was to be doing something like this, especially something that actually worked. But I am so glad I pushed through, of course.

Self-doubt + Anxiety Vs. Reality

I really want you to know that you can do it too. I kind of want to talk about how all of that self-doubt and anxiety I felt compared to reality. It's funny because nothing that I was worried and anxious about actually happened. No one gave me negative feedback. You know, of course, there were a couple of people who complained about the chatbox or a couple of people that were mad that they had to actually pay for the All-Access Pass, heaven forbid. But there was no feedback like who are you to be doing this? You're not a big enough deal to be doing this. This is stupid. Like none of that happened.

The speakers I pitched were so excited to participate, especially in something that was organized well and had a really specific audience that they could craft their presentations for. Attendees were so insanely excited, like way more than I expected and they were more than ready and happy to purchase that All-Access Pass. I had people thanking me for letting them purchase it. That was way opposite of what I expected and the event made such a bigger impact both for my own business but also for everyone else than I ever expected. I have people thanking me for my summits. Even now, even that first one, I still had people emailing, emailing me about up until I hosted the third one a year later, like it made a big impact and that's something I never expected.

With that being said, I'm so glad that I didn't let my negative self-talk and all of that stuff stop me because I obviously wouldn't be where I am with Summit In A Box and this podcast if it weren't for that, but also my development business, which I'm still running, wouldn't be where it is right now. I've been booked out six months in advance for custom work and for the foreseeable future for retainer work. I don't know when I'll have another opening for that, and it's also helped me feel so much more confident in my business all around like I can talk to people about it more confidently. I don't worry that it's just going to stop working one day.

My summit was the first time that I really felt like I was making an impact on other businesses, and now that I know I can do it, I can't get enough. I'm kind of addicted, to be honest with you. I've also made just so many new friends and connections that I never would have made otherwise, and I'm so grateful that I put my fears aside and hosted that first summit.

Where I Still Get Nervous

But with all of that being said, I do still struggle with some self-doubt when I'm hosting my summits. The biggest place that this comes up for me is when it comes to pitching speakers. I still worry that when I'm pitching a bigger name, that they're going to wonder who the heck I am, what I want, what I think I'm doing. Really it's not a big deal because if they think that, that's cool. I still am able to know now that I can go on and host a successful summit without them despite whatever they think. But it's still something that gives me a little bit of anxiety.

Now there's also the matter of, I feel like there's so much pressure on me now to have incredible results to share with you guys and having to beat my previous year's results year after year so I can show you guys and feel like I'm doing something I'm qualified to do by teaching you how to host summits. I definitely still feel some pressure and self-doubt around it, but I'm just going to keep doing what I always do and push through. I'm going to keep experimenting for you guys. If something doesn't work for me, I want to tell you about that, so you know not to do it and we can kind of brainstorm together and figure out what we could do to make it better. Because I want you to be able to learn from both my successes with hosting summits and my failures. I am not going to let my fear of not getting good enough results hold me back from doing that before you there I'm saying it publicly. No, I have to do it.

I hope that this episode helped you see that even people who look like they have an altogether and have run successful summits before did struggle with all of this mindset stuff and probably still do. Don't let your own self-doubt make you feel guilty. But more importantly, don't let it stop you.

Since I can share this story with you, but I'm definitely not an expert in beating negative self-talk and increasing confidence in the next two episodes, I'm actually bringing on guests to help. In the next episode we'll have Katelyn Kessler on to talk about overcoming self-doubt and finding confidence. Then after that, I'm going to bring on Leanne Chester to talk about getting out of your own way and shifting your unconscious stories so you can move forward and do something that can change your business as much as hosting a summit.

Action Steps

Your action steps for today are really just going easy on yourself. Let yourself feel the self-doubt. Know that it's there, address it and move past it. Don't let yourself get stuck using the self-doubt as a reason to keep pushing it off or to think that you're not good enough because you most certainly are if you hear this thing to this.

Thank you so much for tuning in. Like with anything planning and hosting a summit is a whole lot more fun when you're surrounded by other people who get it, especially if you are stuck in this cycle of self-doubt and can use other people who have been there to help you kind of push past it and regain that confidence. For a community of other summit hosts who can be alongside you to celebrate wins, share advice, offer support, join us inside of the free Summit Host Hangout Facebook group, and you can do that by heading to summithosthangout.com/community. I can not wait to see you inside.

Now go out and take action to plan, strategize and launch your profitable online summit. 



View related episodes >>


50% Complete

Free: Virtual Summit Prep Timeline

Learn how much time to set aside for planning and launching your profitable, stress-free online summit and use my calculator to set the due dates for you.