Self-doubt is a killer. Pure and simple, but when faced with one of the most deadliest of dream killers, once you learn of its intent, understand its nature and where it thrives, you can stop self-doubt dead in its tracks before it can kill again.
Personally, I suffer from self-doubt very often, but then again, so do most people. It seems the more creative you are, the more it appears! For example, even as I begin to write this post I wonder; will it be read? Will it be interesting enough? Will I even like it? However, the difference between my self-doubt and self-doubt of others is I have begun to understand that it will crop up from time to time and to accept it. The clue is however, in how you deal with it.
Learning to understand that self-doubt will always be hiding behind a door somewhere, ready to pounce (usually at the most inconvenient of times), is half the battle. As long as you can remember the reasons why it does that, to remind you that what you are trying to do actually matters, you’ll learn to harness it and use it to propel yourself into action!
With this in mind, here are 5 ways to stop self doubt in its tracks.
Whatever you are thinking, doesn’t mean it’s true!
Self-doubt will tell you, in its sweet little voice, things like, ‘you know you’re not good enough, so why even try?’ or ‘what are you doing, they are going to laugh at you’ with each thought, grinding away at your confidence, until you make a choice, to either believe it and do nothing or listen and decide to do it anyway!
It’s all about whether you believe your self-doubting thoughts or not. Obviously, the easiest option is to give in and quit. The better option would be is to hear it, understand that it’s there as a test and keep moving forward. If you see it as a gift, rather than something bad, you’ll go far.
Get some fresh air!
When you’re plagued with those self-doubting thoughts, rather than try to battle on, head out somewhere and tune out for a bit. This works for me! I normally grab the dog and go out for a walk. I’ll breathe slowly, take in my surroundings and remember what’s important right now, which is to be present and relaxed.
Getting out and about in nature brings you back to a quieter state of mind and opens up your thinking for a few minutes. It’s when you look around and actually notice the trees, the sky, the birds or whatever you might be surrounded by, you can provides your mind with the necessary space to unwind and get back to the present moment.
Turn to others for support
This is so important and can be anyone as long as it’s someone who understands you and knows where you are coming from, like a close friend, or a mastermind group, or even your therapist. If you can reach out to someone from time to time, just to get you back up and on your feet again, is great, just as long as you don’t rely on them to do this all the time. Remember, you are responsible for your own life and choices.
I work from home with only my dog for company, if I’m not careful, I can sometimes not speak to a single soul for days, this is when self-doubt can run amok! Luckily, I am involved in a mastermind group with 3 other entrepreneurs, whom I hook up with weekly to go through issues and problems, but to also share successes and achievements. This is my sanctuary and without it, I’d probably be carted off somewhere by men in white coats! It’s so important and good for the soul to connect with those who support and encourage, so try to do it as often as you can.
Focus on the ‘why’ rather than’how’
When I have doubts, it’s normally centered on my business and whether I think I can ‘make it’ or not. I have days where the self-doubt creeps in and out, whilst other days I have none whatsoever!
When I have one of ‘those days’ I reflect on why I am doing what I am doing, where I want to be and the core reason for getting up at 6:00 a.m. every morning to write. This is my purpose in life and the reason why I am here.
However, if I focus on the ‘how,’ I’ll get bogged down with thoughts of ‘how will I be able to get this done?’ and ‘how long will I have to wait until I can really make this pay off?’ When you remember that the ‘why’’ gives you a sense of purpose, the ‘how’ will just fade away as you’ll have utter faith that they’ll take care of themselves.
Take action and create!
Self-doubt can come up for many different reasons, it’ll normally appear just at the time you are about to make a decision or about to start something new. For me, it’s when I am doing something out of my comfort zone like writing or creating.
When this happens it is important to do it anyway, to take action in-spite of the self-doubt. It’s the work and the action that’s the vital part in this story. As long as you continue to create and move forward, it’ll give you the ammunition, not to stop the self-doubt, but to stop the self-doubt from stopping you!
Now you have the necessary tools, when self-doubt rear its ugly head for you. Are you going to let it stop you from taking action or are you going to push on through?