You’ve done your best preparation, you’re competent and you’re good to go but something tells you “You’re not ready yet.”
Self-doubt. The persuasive inner voice that causes apprehension in your mind by telling you you’re incapable of doing things and achieving goals. Even though you have the required ability, talent, skill and competence, and are brilliant in your work, this nagging, negative and often persistent voice gets under your skin and discourages you from going after your goals, accepting challenges and seizing new opportunities.
Most people have experienced self-doubt: Getting stopped in their tracks, losing chances, letting go opportunities-just because they feel “they’re not ready.” Self-doubt can show up in any area of life yet it does not get talked about often. Scores and scores of people the world over are afflicted by self-doubt and struggle with it on a daily basis.
It is wrongly believed that the most successful people and high-achievers don’t suffer from self-doubt.
“I force myself to sit at the table, even when I’m not sure I belong there-and yes, this still happens to me,” confessed Sheryl Sandberg, in one of her commencement addresses and admitted to battle with self-doubt even after having experienced so much success.
Venue Williams is also known to have shared her concerns: “Self-doubt is real. Everyone has it. Having confidence and losing confidence is real, too, and everyone has been in that position.”
And Elon Musk once took to social media to openly declare his self-doubt over his public speaking skills.
The truth about self-doubt is that it is of universal occurrence; everyone has second guessed and questioned themselves about their capabilities, sometime or the other.
A little bit of self-doubt is acceptable, it’s even healthy as it keeps you grounded and prevents you from going overboard with confidence. But too much of it can adversely affect your life, hinder your growth and mar your chances of succeeding at anything. It can crush your confidence, prevent you from reaching your true potential and leave you an underachiever.
Whether you are a businessperson, an entrepreneur or one bootstrapping your startup, you have ventured out on a path that is tough, challenging and fraught with difficulties. Self-doubt is something you just can’t afford. It’s a competitive out there and there are enough negative people to deal with in the outside world. There’s no place for negativity within. It’s time you stopped the inner self-doubter take over your life.
Self-doubt however, cannot be wished away; you need to be proactive, deal with it and fix the menace. The process will take time, practice and most of all, commitment. And the sooner you start, the faster you can overcome it and march on your chosen path.
Here are 6 ways you can get rid of self-doubt-
1.Let go of the fear of failure
When you set out to reach a worthwhile goal, the possibility of failure is always there. But that’s not reason enough to halt your success journey or worse, not embark on one at all. Instead of worrying about “what if I fail,” focus your energy on “how can I succeed and get there.” Prepare yourself mentally that failure will cross your path many times; it’s no big deal. What matters is that you get back on your feet each time you fall and don’t give up till you accomplish what you set out to.
2. Silence the inner critic –
Many people are oblivious of the fact that they brutally judge themselves and beat themselves up for small mistakes. The cruel and harsh words that you use for yourself can have far reaching effects. Self-loathing can be harmful and make you feel worthless. It is how you perceive yourself that makes all the difference. Accept yourself unconditionally and understand why you are the way you are. Once you realize your limitations and embrace yourself fully, you’ll be able to put an end to the continuous commentary going on inside your head and tame the inner narrative.
3. Deal with disempowering thoughts –
Self-doubt is usually the handiwork of negative thoughts. They neither allow you to focus on your work nor let you have peace of mind. All they do is create imaginary hurdles and limiting beliefs. To get around the negative thoughts, begin watching your thought pattern and whenever you catch yourself reeling in negativity, hit the pause button and get your mind back on track. Instead of being lost in your head most of the time, engage your mind in some purposeful and fruitful activity. Be mindful of your life and live in the present moment.
4. Develop self-awareness –
Self-doubt works as a deterrent by telling you that you’re not good enough and that others are better than you. To drive away negative thoughts, work on building your confidence. The first and the foremost step is to develop self-awareness: knowing yourself fully; being conscious of your strengths, special talents, abilities and capabilities can go a long way in understanding yourself and feeling good about yourself. This positive energy from within will push you to do your best work and help unleash your creativity. This is the surest way to beat self-doubt.
5. Stop chasing perfection –
It’s easy to get caught up in self-doubt when you try to do everything perfectly. Setting unusually high standards for yourself is a recipe for disaster. All it does is rob you of a sense of fulfilment by making you feel inadequate and prevent you from living a full life. We’re all flawed, imperfect beings and that’s okay. Instead of striving for perfection, focus on bringing out the best in you and leverage on your strengths. Invest in yourself, build yourself from within, up your level and lay emphasis on self-development.
6. Derive strength from your previous successes –
Self-reflection and reminding yourself of your achievements and past successes is a great way not only to pep yourself up but also motivate yourself to raise the bar higher, set bigger goals and take yourself to the next higher level of success. Recognizing your progress and reminding yourself how far you’ve come, how strong you have emerged after facing all the difficulties, problems and hardships can help kill self-doubt and do wonders for your sense of self.
Don’t let self-doubt consume you and get in your way of achieving your goals and becoming who you aspire to be. You have it in you to run a profitable business, build a successful startup and design your best life. Banish self-doubt, give wings to your dreams and tap your full potential.
About the Author
Dr. Roopleen is a motivational writer, life coach, blogger, and author of 6 books. She is a productivity ninja and is passionate about helping people reach their full potential.