Self-doubt hinders the soul. It can feel crippling at times; holding us back from doing and achieving what we want the most. We may not all feel self-doubt the same ways, with the same intensity or in the same context, but we all face it from time to time…it’s part of the human condition.It often creeps in during those moment when we dare to be our most vulnerable. Like when we step outside our comfort zone, try to learn something new or when we open our hearts to share something deeply personal. Opening ourselves up is hard enough and a dose of self-doubt can stop us right in our tracks.
It’s easy to recognize self-doubt when it is direct and head on, like when your inner critic says, “You’ll never be able to do XYZ.”. However it also shows up in more subtle ways. It’s helpful to “listen” and “look” for the signs.
Like how you speak about your business or your job.
”I just have a little business.””I’m only a junior buyer.””I can start charging when I have more experience.”
Or in your tone of voice and body language
Softening your voice when speaking about something you doubt you can do.Lowering your eyes when discussing what you charge with a client.Using defensive body posture in a meeting or during a presentation.These are just a few ways self-doubt shows up more subtly. What are some of the less obvious ways self-doubt shows up in your thinking and behavior? What can you do when you see it’s holding you back.
Working Through Self-Doubt
1. Understand that self-doubt is an emotional trigger related to your history and/or your current emotional state – your body is “protecting” you. However it maybe you don’t really need protection. We have to first figure that out; start by taking a nice deep breath to keep that cognitive part of the brain engaged (use your mindfulness training). Try to keep mind from galloping away into more thoughts that increase the emotional charge of what you’re feeling. Be curious about what you’re feeling and prepare to face it.2. Be kind and non-judgemental towards yourself. Often times when we recognise self-doubt, we beat ourselves up; it isn’t productive or helpful. Instead take the opportunity to remember all the things that got you where you are and be grateful for them. Things like your skills, your knowledge, your network, your qualities, all the things you’ve learned or mastered, etc. Take these things that make you the awesome person you are today and add in a dash of determination to help you move through the self-doubt.3. Ask yourself is that REALLY true. I was once told in at the semi-final of a speaking competition that I had a terrible voice and “should do something about it.” Immediately I started to doubt myself. Once I got over the initial shock I asked myself,”Is my voice that bad?” “Of course not”, was the answer. Why? In all my years speaking not one person ever gave me feedback about my voice, I was in the semi-final of a major competition, and the person who said it was a competitor (consider the source). That experience reminds me to question thoughts of self-doubt and to remember that just because I have a thought (or someone plants a thought) doesn’t make it true.The things you want in life are just on the other side of self-doubt. Don’t let self-doubt hinder your soul, help it fuel the fire for you to thrive.
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