Even the most self confident among us will experience self doubt from time to time. Because we can’t completely avoid it, we need a strategy that allows us to contend with, and conquer self doubt. So, what is the difference between those who overcome this insidious foe, and those who are controlled by it?
Before we get into that, let’s talk a little about what self doubt is, and why it likes to creep into our lives like a party pooper, and throw a wet blanket on our motivation.
Self doubt is that feeling of uncertainty about your ability to accomplish something. This dark shadow of insecurity can lead to hesitation and indecision. If left unchecked, it can cause us to abandon our course or radically compromise our expectations.
How do we know when we are harboring self doubt?
There are certain words and thoughts that reveal the presence of doubt and we should train ourselves to spot them early on. Phrases like “I’m not sure, maybe I was wrong, I don’t feel up to the task, or this is too hard” may indicate a weakening of confidence brought on by self doubt in our own abilities.
As soon as we say or think anything similar to any of those phrases, we should attempt to identify the source. Granted, such expressions don’t always indicate self doubt, but we would do well to check it out, so we can be sure.
Do not underestimate the destructive power of self doubt
Because self doubt is a temporary expression of insecurity, it can reach right to our core. Like termites chewing away at the foundation of a strong building, self doubt can undermine our strongest beliefs. Often times, it is the only thing that stands between where we are, and where we want to be.
On the positive side
As with other kinds of fear, there are positive aspects of self doubt for those who manage to overcome it. For example, self doubt that is conquered yields stronger resolve. Our determination will always be greater once we successfully meet challenges to our self confidence.
Once we develop a history meeting self doubt head on and conquering it, we become much less susceptible to its influence. It will still surface from time to time, but we will see it coming, and know how to neutralize it.
7 simple steps to conquering self doubt
1. Recognize and acknowledge your self doubt. You cannot overcome something until you first recognize and acknowledge its existence. If we give into the temptation to ignore or deny self doubt, it will impose limits on our ability to act. Self doubt can be a stealthy problem. If you suspect that it exists, you need to pull it into the light so it can be dealt with. The better you become at identifying hidden doubts, the easier it will be to overcome them.
2. Analyze your self doubt. Spend some time drilling down and figure out what triggered it and why? When you analyze feelings, you make them vulnerable logic and reason. Normally, feelings override logic, but questioning the validity of feelings brings them within the reach of reason.
3. Identify the source. If you can figure out where these feelings originate, then you can hit them where they live. You don’t need to psychoanalyze yourself back to childhood or anything like that. Just try to get a handle on the area of your life that creates your sense of uncertainty so you can work on it.
4. Is there a pattern. Do you have a history of self doubt in this area? Self doubt tends to have favorite places to hang out. This raises the likelihood that we have probably experienced it in a similar situation before. Think back, have you been down this road before? Did you overcome your doubts? If so, what steps did you take? If not, what can you do differently this time around?
5. Design a plan. Sit down and plan out a strategy for defeating your doubt. Make an educated decision about what to do next. Choose a path that you think will lead to conquering your doubts. Next, put your plan down in writing.
6. Anticipate possible challenges. Now look at your plan and try to identify possible challenges along the way. Is there some area that you need help with? If so, ask someone close to you to give you some encouragement. Sometimes, some foresight and a little support is all it takes.
7. Take action. You have a plan, the next step is to put it to use by taking action. Stick to your plan and ask for help if you need it. In fact, encouragement is good even if you think you can go it alone.
For most people, self doubt is just a temporary condition. Think of it like a speed bump on the road to success. Take the bump in stride, then put the pedal to the metal, and go for it. When your confidence is challenged, just follow these seven steps and you will get past it. In fact, I have no doubt about your ability to leave self doubt in the dust.
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