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Self Doubt: A Disease that Doesn’t Discriminate!

Self Doubt: A Disease that Doesn’t Discriminate!

    What if…

    What if I forget the words when I stand up there? What if I go completely blank? What if I totally suck? What if I look or sound stupid?  What if they hate me? What if I’m not pretty enough? Cool enough? Smart enough? Qualified enough? Experienced enough? Talented enough? Thin enough? What if they see through my act? What if they discover what I’m really like? What if they find out about my issues? Or my history? What if the course is too difficult for me? What if I do what Craig suggests and it doesn’t work? Or what if it does work and then I lose motivation and focus? Surely I’m too old to start something new anyway? Or too inexperienced to establish my own business? Perhaps I’m past learning new things and developing new skills? Surely I won’t fit in, will I? What if I get all excited – like I always do – and then fail again? What if I disappoint people again? Hmm, perhaps I need a little more time to plan and think about this.

    Which is code for “I’m too scared to do anything, so I’ll do nothing”.

    Again.

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    A Disease

    Self doubt; it’s a disease that doesn’t discriminate. It affects our mind, our emotions and even our physiology. It’s multi-dimensional and if you let it, it will destroy your opportunities, waste your potential, ruin your relationships, infect your thinking, crush your hope and at its worst, ruin your life. It’s not concerned with race, religion, age, skin colour, past achievements, social standing, sex, talent, IQ or bank balance and it knows where you live.

    Knock, Knock…

    For many of us, self doubt comes knocking on our door every day. Sometimes it will give an apologetic, sorry-to-bother-you kind of tap, and on other occasions it will almost smash the door down with it’s incessant and violent banging. More often than not, it will arrive disguised as something much more noble like concern, logic or reason but in reality, it’s none of those things. It’s just fear in a different outfit. Self-doubt with a little make-up and a pretty dress. Don’t be fooled; she’s a bitch and despite the charade, she doesn’t care about you at all.

    Fear by Another Name

    That’s all self doubt is by the way; one of the many faces of fear. Fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of public humiliation, fear of getting uncomfortable, fear of the unknown, fear of poverty, fear of isolation and even fear of success. Like all forms of fear, self-doubt is essentially self-created and perpetuated because it can only exist in our head. In order for it to survive, we must give it a place to live. And we do.

    In the pursuit of our best life, our challenge is not to overcome self-doubt but rather, to manage it. To recognise it for what it is (a form of fear), to feel it, acknowledge it and then do what we need to do (to reach our goals), DESPITE it.

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    “Recognising, feeling and acknowledging self-doubt, does not mean being controlled or determined by it.”

    The Human Experience

    Of course, over time we will find a way to turn down the volume (of the banging on the door), but a life totally devoid of self-doubt is an unrealistic goal. People who succeed (no matter what the endeavour) invariably find a way to do what they need to do, despite their self-doubt. They are aware of it and they are challenged by it, but they are not controlled or determined by it. Self doubt is universal and it is an unavoidable part of the human experience. For life. None of us are exempt. If you doubt yourself often, don’t feel weak or flawed, feel human. Feel alive. Feel normal. If self-doubt is a sign of weakness then I’m a big pussy.

    The questions we should ask ourselves in relation to this chat are not:

    “Do I ever experience self-doubt?”

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    But rather:

    1. “What impact do I allow self-doubt to have on my decisions, behaviours and results?”

    and…

    2. “Do I manage it, or does it manage me?”

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    If you came here today looking for a solution, then walk to the bathroom and look in the mirror; there’s your solution. Even if you don’t know it or feel like it, let me tell you that no book, blog, idea, program, CD, DVD or guru will change you. No, that’s your job. Those resources (that’s all they are) can stimulate, inspire, educate, challenge, provoke and encourage you, but only you can change your current reality and only you can build your best life. That’s why this website is not a solution but rather a humble resource.

    Do what you need to and stop looking for the magic pill.

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    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    No!

    It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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    But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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    What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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    But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

    1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
    2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
    3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
    4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
    5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
    6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
    7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
    8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
    9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
    10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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