Self-doubt can hold you back. It can keep you from seizing opportunities. It can make getting started harder than it needs to be.
I’ve struggled with self-doubt for many years. I doubted my ability; I thought I was never good enough. And my choices reflected that.
I let self-doubt stop me from pursuing the things I wanted. It held me back from being who I wanted to be. Who I am today.
Self-doubt and negative self-talk became such a habit; I was comfortable with it. They kept me from improving and stuck me in an endless loop of negativity.
Self-doubt and fear go hand in hand. We can become so afraid of trying new things. We fear change because we’re afraid of the unknown, and we are so scared to try something new, in case it doesn’t work out, or turns out to be worse than what we have now.
We can come up with the worst-case scenarios in our heads instead of focusing on positive outcomes. We worry about what could go wrong instead of focusing on what could go right.
Fear and self-doubt can stop us from trying anything new, keeping us in our current situation. We adapt to our circumstances even if those circumstances aren’t benefiting us because it’s comfortable.
To overcome the self-doubt, fear, and lack of confidence, you need to intervene in your own life and take control. And these are 11 ways that you can do so from today.
1. Say stop
When your inner doubts bubble up, be quick. Don’t let them spin out of control or grow from a thought to a stream of discouraging sentences. Instead, talk back to that doubtful part of yourself.
In your mind, voice a positive thought. If the thought says, ” the interview will not go well.” Immediately answer with, “Getting the interview means that I have what it takes.” Stop that negative thought in its tracks. Speak your truth.
By doing so, you disrupt the thought pattern and stop negative thinking from taking over.
2. Reflect on memories
Be honest with yourself and ask: How many times have I doubted myself or feared something would happen, for it not to materialize?
The answer for me – on many occasion.
Self-doubts like to keep you within the comfort zone.
If you look to the past and see how many times things worked out despite your self-doubts, then it becomes easier to let go of them and to focus on the more likely positive outcome and to take action.
3. Talk to someone about it
When you keep your negative thoughts to yourself, they can become exaggerated. So let them out into the light. Talk to someone close to you about your self-doubts.
They will confirm what you already know deep down, that you are more than capable; you’re just letting fear control your thinking.
By talking with someone supportive you will get a change in perspective.
4. Don’t get stuck in the comparison trap
If you compare yourself to other people, self-doubt can creep up on you.
A better way to go about things is to compare yourself to yourself. Look at how far you have come, and what you’ve overcome.
It to easy to look at everything that you want to achieve; rarely do people look back and look at what they have already achieved. Reflection gives us the added motivation that we need to keep going.
5. Start keeping a journal
Keeping a journal can be a helpful habit for many reasons when it comes to self-doubts, it can help you to remember the positive things, all the successes you’ve made. How you have overcome obstacles in the past can give you great insights if you’re crippled with fear.
When you write down your problem, you will be surprised at how little is holding you back. Plus, writing things down can give you a fresh perspective on the issue, making it easier to find solutions.
6. Don’t worry about other peoples opinions
When you worry about what others may think or say if you do something, then self-doubt can lead to in-action and fear.
The truth is, people don’t care that much about what you do; they are too busy thinking about themselves, their worries, their bills, and their insecurities.
This is one of the most important lessons I have learnt in my life.
7. Get a boost of optimism
Let someone else’s enthusiasm, motivation and constructive optimism flow into your life.
Spend 10-20 minutes with an audiobook, a podcast or a book that increases your faith. Now with platforms like YouTube wisdom and encouragement is only a click away. Instead of turning on the TV, tune into some inspiration or motivation for 10-20 minutes a day.
A daily boost of positivity can help you to shift any self-doubts into optimism.
8. See a setback as temporary
When you have a setback, then you may start to see things through a negative lens. You might even let the set-back fill your mind with doubts.
Negative thinking can stop you from taking action, so instead, remember: You are not a failure just because you failed. Failure is a vital part of success.
Sometimes things go well and sometimes they don’t. So don’t let a failure determine your destiny.
Ask yourself: what is one thing I can learn from this setback? Use the mistake to your advantage and take a better approach.
9. Don’t beat yourself up about it
A common way to handle self-doubt is to get angry at yourself. Being hard on yourself for a weakness or mistake is not a good approach.
I have found that being kind and constructive is a better choice. So I may ask myself a question like; what is one tiny step I can take to move forward in this situation?
Then I take that tiny step and start to step by step move towards where I want to go.
10. Celebrate that small step and win
When you’ve taken one small step forward – for example, do your first CV/Resume in years– then you have a win. It may be a small one, but it’s still a win. So celebrate it.
This will recharge your motivation and make taking action feel more exciting and fun. And that will push self-doubts aside so you keep moving and getting more small wins.
11. The map is not the territory
In the carrying out of plans, many things can change, so it is essential that you don’t allow self-doubt to creep in.
Your plan might be A-B-C-D, but the journey of life may take you from A-D-B-C. As long as you are aware of this fact it removes self-doubt when your life takes a slightly different turn than you expected.
For example; your plan might be to work within an organisation that campaigns for human rights, but your life journey presents you with a job where your working along side the very people that make the laws; where your influence could make a massive change.
But if you dismiss that job because it doesn’t line up with your set plan then you may never get that opportunity.
Overcoming self-doubt is a process that we must work on each day. I hope the above tips have inspired you in some way.
Thanks for reading.