The funny thing about self-doubt is that we somehow get the impression that we, alone, are the only ones to suffer from it. We tend to look at others, especially really successful people, and assume that they must not feel that sense of hesitance and hear those critical internal voices. But almost everyone experiences self-doubt at some point, even the most confident among us, especially when pursuing something new and challenging.
“As long as your goal is bigger than your current life, you’re going to feel inadequate.” – Brooke Castillo
The only way to avoid experiencing any form of self-doubt is by remaining in exactly the same place you are and doing exactly the same things that you are currently doing. The only problem with that strategy is that nothing grows from that place. For some people, that is ok, that is how they live their lives. Personal growth is uncomfortable and because of that many people choose to stay within their comfort zones. But, for me personally, and I’m guessing for you too since you’re here now, that just isn’t the kind of life I want to have. So, if we’re committed to growth and committed to having an amazing, purposeful life, what are we to do about our self-doubt?
I wish I could tell you that there was a magic wand, hack or shortcut to eliminating self-doubt, but honestly, once you overcome one episode of self-doubt there is bound to be another. The most important thing we can do for ourselves is recognise that self-doubt is just part of the deal, but that it doesn’t mean there is something wrong with us, nor that we shouldn’t be pursuing something important to us. The good news is that over time you will get more proficient at managing it.
I often joke that my aim in life is to do myself out of a job as a coach. I want to be able to teach everyone how to manage their own brain and help themselves through any difficult situation alone. In reality, I think we all have our blind spots and there will always be a role for coaches, but being your own coach is one of the best life skills you can have.
Being a good coach requires you to hold space for yourself, be compassionate, understanding and to listen to your thoughts without judgement. It’s also vital to ask yourself good questions. It’s about getting curious about why you have these thoughts, where they came from and being objective about the true facts of the situation. If your thoughts are “I’m just not good with money”, really question where that belief came from and challenge that way of thinking. Try and bring in more useful language that incorporates a growth mindset or opens up possibilities for you.
Don’t put self-doubt in the driver’s seat
Probably the most important part of managing self-doubt is to ensure it doesn’t stop you from pursuing your dreams. It may seem like it’s a sign that you should stop moving towards that thing that you desire, but it’s really just the opposite. Your self-doubt will trick you into thinking that what it’s saying is just “reality” and that the negative belief is a reflection of the circumstances, rather than a thought pattern about the situation. Don’t believe it and don’t let it control you. This is where having a really important why will help you push through.
Now that you’ve decided not to let self-doubt rule you, remove the option for ane escape route. Know that you can and will deal with any obstacle that gets put in front of you. Push through the feeling of inadequacy and I promise that you will feel AMAZING on the other side of it. You will be amazed to discover that you didn’t die(!) and that the worst thing that can happen is an emotion, and you can handle hard emotions, then you’ll be ok.
Remember, in this amazing human experience, self-doubt never really goes away. It just changes each time we up-level and perhaps becomes less powerful and overwhelming. All we can really expect is to become better at the process of recognising it, accepting it and working through it. But the growth and the peace that comes from putting in that hard work is 100% worth it. And remember – YOU’VE GOT THIS!
Do you have any other tips for dealing with self-doubt? Share with us in the comments below. And if you need some support in uncovering and clearing some of those limiting thoughts, sign up for my monthly newsletter or reach out for a FREE mini-session and take a step towards your dream life.