It’s true what they say: we are our own worst enemies. When we habitually second guess ourselves and focus on our insecurities, our untapped potential tends to remain untapped.
At its core, self-doubt is fear; fear of rejection, failure, embarrassment, etc. I visualize self-doubt as a small, grey glob that is conceived upon a moment of uncertainty that gets bigger as it feeds off the fearful thoughts that enter our mind. You know the ones: “What if I mess up?” “No one will even care what I have to say; what’s the point?” “I’m not skilled enough to do this.” When that glob of self-deprecating negativity gets big enough, it can cause us to limit ourselves, paralyze our hustles, and cause us to miss out on any number of opportunities. Here are some ways to silence that niggling voice and keep it moving from here on out.
1 | Be your own source of inspiration!
Focusing on our disadvantages and shortcomings is a surefire way to introduce, or deepen, personal doubt and build mental roadblocks between us and our potential. We do it all the time; whether we shy away from public speaking because our lexicon isn’t as impressive as we think it should be, or we avoid taking the lead on a project because we feel we don’t have as much to offer as the next person, our mind loves to feed us reasons as to why we should stay in our lane.
The next time you feel your inspiration waning, remind yourself of your past hurdles and how you overcame them; how you doubted you could do it, but now you get to tell the story of how you did. Focus on your past accomplishments and imagine the satisfaction that will come after you achieve the task at hand. The inspiration you need is always within!
2 | Detach thy work from thy worth.
If you are feeling additional pressure to perform and are experiencing some self-doubt as a result, keep in mind that the outcome of your product or project is not a reflection of your self-worth. While we often consider our projects to be extensions of ourselves, it’s far more rewarding (and far less pressure!) to take significant pride in the personal processes, efforts, and growth involved in our work, rather than concerning ourselves with the external evaluations of our products as heavily as we do. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to impress an audience, especially if your paycheck depends on it, but if the fleeting ‘Likes’ fail to meet your expectations, don’t be discouraged! Instead, be encouraged by the invaluable experience you’ve gained and let that be the thing that affects your self-worth.
3 | Embrace failure so you can embrace risk.
It is the nature of a risk to have a high potential of failure. So, it’s safe to assume that the more risks you take, the more failures you will experience. Remember that this also means you stand to learn more lessons and gain more experiences than someone who avoids risk.
The failures we experience on the roads less traveled help to build unshakeable confidence, humility, and a greater appreciation for even the smallest victories as we scale the proverbial ladder of success. Why not embrace these potential failures as necessary stepping stones to greatness, ditch our fear of falling, and take more leaps? Instead of letting the fear of failure harvest feelings of self-doubt, think of every risk and potential failure as an opportunity to build your savvy and level up!
4 | Be real.
Yes, we should shoot for the stars, but don’t shoot for all of them all at once. We like to think that there’s no such thing as being overly ambitious, but if most of your immediate goals are world-changing and record-breaking, you’re probably setting yourself up to feel overwhelmed which is just the kind of reinforcement that your self-doubt glob needs to survive. Instead, consider keeping yourself grounded and continue to set attainable goals moving forward.
5 | Compare not, compete not.
It’s OK to admire other people’s lifestyles and to even envy their success a little bit, but be careful not to fixate on the race someone else is running and end up distracted from your own. Comparing your place in your journey to someone else’s in theirs can lead to a blow in confidence when you feel you don’t stack up. However, if you believe that everyone has a personalized path, and that we are all learning and experiencing different things in our perspective journeys, then comparing your success with others’ is pointless! There’s no singular metric to measure success and there’s no singular way become one.
Which way to silence self-doubt are you going to try today?