Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt. – William Shakespeare
Self doubt has been something I’ve always struggled with. It’s a pity I never joined a debating team because by the time I was in my late teens, I had plenty of practice! There was a never ending debate in my head about everything; it was as if I had a split personality. I would want to do something but then I’d have that little voice in my head saying ‘Oohh, be careful- you could screw it up and make a show of yourself’.
The more I wanted to try, grow, learn and experience, the more that little voice spoke up. It got to the point that on many occasions, I actually listened to it and I held myself back. I think one of those times was in fact the decision as to whether to join a debating society in college- the little voice in my head told me I’d make a balls of it so I didn’t even put my name down to try.
Self-doubt is that feeling of uncertainty about your ability to accomplish something. It can be like a dark shadow of insecurity that follows us around and it can lead to hesitation and indecision. If we don’t do anything about it, it can cause us to abandon our dreams or radically lower our expectations of ourselves.
It’s important to know that everyone has their own little gremlin inside their head! Call it what you will- your saboteur, your inner critic, Charlie- whatever! The only dangerous name that you can call it is ‘Me’. Often people think that their inner critic is who they really are and who they ever will be and that is a lie. It is simply doubts and fears which you have learnt and adopted as you went through your life and ……..anything that you have learned, you can learn to change.
The people that you admire seem to ooze confidence and charisma have simply learnt how to deal with their own gremlins! There are strategies and techniques that they have used or are using and I’m going to share with you the top 5 strategies that myself and my clients have found useful for dealing with your inner gremlin!
My top 5 strategies for dealing with your Inner Gremlin.
- Recognise and acknowledge your doubts
You cannot overcome something until you first recognise and acknowledge its existence. If we ignore self-doubt, it will still be there whether we like it or not and it will stop us from moving forward. Bottom line, you need to deal with it because it won’t go away unless you sacrifice your progress. The better you become at identifying hidden doubts, the easier it will be to overcome them.
Ask yourself ‘What triggered this and why am I feeling this way?’ Information is power and you are beginning to take back your power.
- Is there a pattern?
You probably know the answer to this already! Doubt tends to have favourite places to hang out so the chances are that you have experienced it in a similar situation before. Think about it, public speaking? Driving? Cooking? Dating? Talking to your boss? Asking for a raise?
Is there any situation that you’ve experienced doubt before but you overcame it? If so, what did you do? What steps did you take? If not, what could you do differently next time around?
- Create a plan
So now, you have acknowledged its existence, you are aware of the patterns and you have a good idea as to what you could you differently. Now, I want you to sit down and plan out a strategy for defeating your self-doubt. For example, if you have to give a presentation, then make a plan to prepare and practice your presentation until all your doubts are obliterated and you know that you are capable of it. Make an educated decision about what to do next? Ask for help if you want, two heads are always better than one. Put your plan in writing.
- Take action and be flexible
Once you have your plan in writing, try to identify some possible challenges along the way and decide what you will do about them. This will add to your confidence as you will feel more prepared. Using the above example of a presentation, hire a professional public speaking coach to help you or ask a friend. Sometimes, a little support and encouragement is all it takes.
- Celebrate your Success
Buy yourself a new journal and each time you overcome self-doubt, make a note of it. Reward yourself! Remember it has taken you years to learn how to doubt yourself so well so it will take time to unlearn. This is why it is so important to acknowledge and reward yourself for each thing you overcome. To journal it is great because then you have a written reference of all the times you kicked ass!
I hope you enjoyed this issue of Progress! Please feel free to get in touch and share any of your thoughts or ideas with me via email/facebook/twitter! I’d love to hear from you! Also, if you have a topic or question you would like me to address, please just let me know!
Until next time,
Love and Respect,