How To Overcome Self Doubt

Do you ever struggle with self-doubt?

Does self-doubt keep you from being as happy as you could be?

Is self-doubt holding you back from being the creative, joyful, vibrant person you know you’re capable of becoming?

Almost everybody wrestles with an inner voice or lack of confidence from time to time. If you’ve managed to move forward and live happily despite your self-doubt, congratulations! Go forth and rock. If you struggle, read on!

Common Sense vs. Self-Doubt

Keep in mind that having an inner voice of caution is not always a bad thing. If you’re about to make a rash decision or a commitment you may not be able to keep, having an internal system of checks and balances can help keep you out of trouble. Chances are, you have that inner voice, but sometimes it gets a little too loud, or speaks up a little too often. If you’re having trouble making phone calls at work, working up the nerve to ask somebody out for coffee, or struggling to be an explicit and supportive leader because of self-doubt, it’s probably time to do something about it. 

Keep in mind that if you try (or have tried) everything under the sun, it may be time to consider therapy. Some professionals are extremely helpful when it comes to moving past your internal obstacles. If you’re completely or substantially disabled by your self-doubt, get help! But if you just want to raise your game, to become a bit more adept at balancing your confidence with your inner critic, a great place to start is with this advice from Margie Warrell in Forbes:

·     Embrace self-doubt as part of being human

·     Doubt your doubts

·     Call out your critic

·     Make your mission bigger than your fear (I love this one!)

·     Build a tribe of believers (see below)

·     Train the brave daily

Warrell points out that: “There is no one-step magic bullet for overcoming self-doubt and building self-confidence. We build confidence in increments; by having the courage to take action despite our misgivings. One way we do this is by applying the research of BJ Fogg at Stanford University who found that scaling back bigger behaviors into smaller 'bite size' actions can create dramatic shifts that last. Think of courage like a muscle, the more you act with it, the braver you become. But you have to be willing to ‘train the brave’ on a daily basis.

“The best way to ‘train the brave’ is to start right where you are right now with whatever problem or opportunity you are facing, and ask yourself “What would I do right now if I were being brave?” Chances are your doubts will be screaming at you to do just the opposite. Thank them for trying to protect you, then tell them you’re not here to live a safe life, you’re here to live the biggest life you are capable of living. Then put your hand on your heart, imagine your success, take a big long breath and then JUST DO IT!   As research has found and experience has taught me, every time you take action in the presence of your doubts you dilute their power and amplify your own.” 

How to Overcome Self-Doubt

In Psychology Today, Leslie Becker Phelps, PhD, does a great job explaining how to identify how you create self-doubt, and how you can learn to create self-confidence. She says: 

“Way too many people walk through life carrying the heavy weight of self-doubt. Deep down, they fear that they are missing some essential quality that would make them truly successful socially (worthy of love) or in other aspects of life (e.g. professionally, sports). They worry about friends and loved ones leaving them; or thinking less of them because of something they’ve done or failed to do. They feel down on themselves, lacking the self-confidence and assertiveness to accomplish, or appreciate meeting goals.”

She gives good guidance on how to turn your self-doubt into self-confidence:

·     Identify your selective attention

o  Self-doubters often notice only the negative things about themselves

o  Choose to pay attention and credit yourself for positive thoughts and behaviors

·     Identify your selective memory

o  Reframe memories of your experiences from a positive point of view

o  Consider feedback from others – when was it actually positive?

·     Identify your selective interpretation

o  Do you tend to interpret experiences and interactions in a way that reflects poorly on yourself?

o  Is there another possible interpretation?

o  Recruit friends, family and therapists to help learn new ways to interpret

I Can’t Stop Talking About Unconditional Positive Regard

One of the many reasons I created Permission – The Eventwas to give people a chance to spend a day in unconditional positive regard – to enjoy support, praise, guidance and warmth from an entire audience of like-minded people. Outside, there are so many negative influences that a day like this can be life changing for some people! 

If you suffer from self-doubt, a great way to get started on the path to confidence is to surround yourself with encouragement. At Permission, that’s exactly what you get!

If that sounds like something you’d like to try, read more about it here.

Whatever you do, if you are working on overcoming self-doubt, I urge you to consider whether you’re getting enough support from the people around you. Be sure you’re asking clearly enough, often enough, and passionately enough. If that still doesn’t work, it may be time to line up some new friends. 

Whatever happens in your life, I wish you every success!

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