How to stop self-doubt
As soon as I typed the words above I knew, immediately, that it was the wrong headline. That’s because I’m not sure any of us can ever completely STOP self-doubt. Self-doubt is common; self-doubt is normal; self-doubt might even serve a useful purpose…at certain times and in certain contexts.
Can we ever really know anything 100 percent? Even ourselves?
We certainly can’t be 100 percent confident about every situation and every possible outcome. So, if you consider for just a moment someone who was completely lacking or without any self-doubt, what you’d be imagining is someone who could probably be labelled arrogant. And arrogance can be a dangerous position to hold; dangerous because it blinds us to what we don’t know.
On the other hand, self-doubt can easily be seen to possess some advantages. It can motivate us to prepare for all possibilities, to predict problems and to ready solutions. Self-doubt keeps us humble and even connects us to and with others.
Our goal, therefore, should not necessarily be to stop self-doubt but rather, to minimise it and/or to use if effectively and constructively. We certainly don’t want doubt to paralyse or to cripple us, but we do want to find ways we can use it to our advantage.
How might we achieve this? Check out my top 10 tips for turning self-doubt in to self-confidence:
Just because you have doubts, doesn’t mean you have to listen to them. Thoughts are not facts, and they need not be paid any more attention than a song we dislike on the radio
Look for evidence: when have you doubted yourself in the past yet still succeeded? Where have you overcome challenges and what did you do to succeed?
Get another opinion: talk to someone who knows you well and ask their advice. What would they recommend? And how do they think you could best approach the present situation?
Reflect upon your achievements and all the times you’ve overcome adversity. This tip is similar to number 2 but the primary purpose of this activity is to boost your confidence and inspire you to act positively
Reassure yourself that failure isn’t that bad. We all fail; and our failures often take us one step closer to success. We don’t want to intentionally fail, but from failure we often learn important lessons that lead to growth, maturation and self-improvement
Pump yourself up with some of your favourite music and/or a mood boost with some help from a funny YouTube video! These might seem like superficial suggestions but there’s no doubt that creating positive emotions leads to more energy and increased willpower
Recruit help if you need it. You don’t have to do it all on your own. If you’re not sure, maybe you’re not completely up for the task. But that’s OK. We all need help sometimes; and most problems, especially complex ones, require a range of skills from a number of people
Don’t feel like you have to know everything or have all the answers to get started. You don’t have to see every step; just the first one. Take it one step at a time; just keep moving forward
And don’t feel like you have to be 100% confident to have a go. You wouldn’t be the first person to try something while having self-doubts; and you won’t be the last. So just try; and if you need to, try again. Then keep trying, especially if it’s important to you, for as long as you need to
Remind yourself of why you’re doing what you’re doing. Focusing on “what” to do and “how” to do it is obviously important; but the real energy and power will come from your “why?”.