I wanted to take a moment to share something so important that it can completely change the course of your life: Overcoming self-doubt.
What's interesting is that we weren't born with self-doubt. We learned it.
So, why do I think it's important enough to share with you?
Well, we've all had that little voice in our head second guessing our decisions and aspirations. I'm not referring to the factual voice of reason or intuition. Rather that irrational voice driven by fear of failure, judgement and rejection, when faced with challenges and adjusting to change.
You might have found yourself excited to finally ask someone you really like out on a date, only for self-doubt to talk you out of it. Or having deep and valuable insights to share with the leadership team at work only for self-doubt to shut you down out of fear of being scrutinized.
Self-doubt can permeate any area of your life robbing you from the ability to act, preventing you from gaining valuable experiences and ultimately missing out on truly knowing yourself.
When self-doubt takes hold it can keep you stuck in 3 ways:
The first is Failure to Launch. You might recognize this if you've ever struggled with getting started with tasks or projects, or you're always caught up in research, overthinking, and analysis paralysis.
The second is Treading Water. If you find yourself constantly starting new things but never seem to finish them, this might be you. You’re attracted to shiny new projects, but struggle with commitment and seeing things through to the end.
The third is Destination Obsession. This is for the achievement addicts out there who are always pushing themselves to strive for greater goals. They're in a constant battle with self-doubt trying to prove themselves because they feel unworthy. They're so blinded that they fail to follow a path that leads to deeper long-term fulfillment.
It's important to recognize that you are not alone. Almost everyone has experienced self-doubt. So be compassionate with yourself and know that the human experience is complex.
Aside from recognizing if and how self-doubt is manifesting within you, here are simple principles to start to dig yourself out of these habits:
Failure to Launch: Start small. Break your tasks or projects into smaller, manageable steps. That way, it's easier to get started and you'll feel less overwhelmed. You might also find value in setting a deadline for yourself. This can create a sense of urgency that motivates you to take action and get things done.
“If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.”
― Vincent Willem van Gogh
Treading Water: It's important to focus on one thing at a time. Try to avoid distractions and stay committed to the task at hand. Another strategy is to become really clear on why you’re doing what you’re doing. When you have a strong sense of meaning you’re more likely to see things through.
Destination Obsession: You want to celebrate your wins along the way. Take time to acknowledge your progress and accomplishments, no matter how small they may seem. It might also be helpful to focus on the present moment and enjoy the journey, rather than just only obsessing over the destination. Remember that the process is just as important as the outcome.
Overcoming these obstacles requires a combination of self-awareness, self-compassion, and practical strategies. And in my latest TEDx Talk (which was delivered for a TEDx event last September), that’s exactly what I cover.