How to Deal With Self-Doubt
Feb 25, 2021
The only constant is change, so it is natural that in a changing landscape that self-doubt would come in. Which way to pivot? How to deal with turbulence at work or at home? How should your life reflect your priorities? You may question how you are showing up as well as your next move.
Here are 5 ways to deal with self-doubt. But before we jump in self-doubt is not necessarily a bad thing – it can be a very effective way to have you consider the pros ad cons of a situation, to look at all sides. Let’s jump in:
- Tame the Critical Mind: Be aware of the chattering brain, the critical mind, the negative ego – call it whatever you want – it’s the part of you that does not want to take a stand, that is stuck in comparison with others and that offers all sorts of reasons not to do what on some level you know needs to be done. Ask yourself – what is the worst that could happen, and that would lead to… and that would lead to…, and that would lead to… and soon you will see that your fears are NOT realistic. Then ask yourself “What if just the opposite were true?” What if your voice mattered a lot? What if you had everything it takes to build that dream? What if you had no idea how many people could be helped by you getting your ideas out? What do these extreme opposites tell you about where you are?
- Grow through Self-Compassion: Ask yourself, "What situations ramp up the self–doubt?" Is there a skill that you need to learn - like public speaking, sales, emotional intelligence – that’s a good one! Watch some videos, sign up for a course, get some help. Don’t be afraid to reach out – we are learning all the time. No one expects you to know it all. Have compassion for yourself as you are practicing something new. And notice if you are mentally beating yourself up, entrenched with fear or guilt, because that prolongs suffering. Talk to yourself as you would a good friend, and be the voice of encouragement, not disdain.
- Trust Your Values: You may not know exactly the details around meeting your goal, but you do know why it is important to you. Know yourself and your values – when self-doubt comes in and tries to stop you from making an important decision, that’s another way that the negative ego is trying to keep you stuck. Returning to your values, your true nature will give you clarity and the strength to take the next step. And it doesn’t have to be perfect, you can always course-correct. The number one question to ask yourself (to check in with not only your mind but your body) is: “How does this FEEL to me? Do I feel expansive or is my body contracting?"
- Don’t Try to Get Approval or Talk Too Much About Your Goals: The dopamine “hits” you get when people get enthusiastic about your ideas are like a reward to your brain. Just through these conversations, you may get enough dopamine that you lose your incentive to follow through or get into action. This is because our brain confuses the telling for the doing and this removes the motivation to do what you need to do to move forward.
- Take action – Doubt and rumination take place in the mind. Proof takes place when you get into action. I’m going to give you 2 techniques now: a long-term visualization and a short-term intervention. The first: Get into a quiet place, close your eyes and imagine In 5 years, imagine a wise, happy and successful you looking back to this day when you decided to take one more step… Feel and hear that wise sure part of you giving you a word of advice… The short-term intervention comes from the work of Mel Robbins, and it’s called 54321. Imagine a rocket about to take off, and you have the countdown 54321 – Go. You literally say that to yourself which effectively shuts down the critic's mind and gives you a window to break through self-doubt. It’s incredibly effective – try it!
Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.” You are not forever entrapped by self-doubt. Today, in this moment, you can connect to the truest part of yourself. And take one small step.