Updated: Jan 24, 2020
"Overcoming self-doubt is all about believing we are enough and letting go of what the world says we're supposed to be."
- Brene Brown
Self-doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will. It will stop us in tracks before we even begin. We have a dream or question or want to try something new. As soon as the idea pops into our minds, it is silenced by the doubting voices in our minds. We immediately question our abilities. We doubt the validity of the concept. We ask what will happen if we fail or if we succeed. Nothing can grow in a field of "What If's" weeds. Overcoming self-doubt is the most significant achievement you will ever make in your lifetime. No one is holding you back from your dreams except you. We say things to ourselves that we would never speak to anyone else.
Doubting ourselves is nothing more than questioning and fear of the unknown running our emotions. It is unreal how quickly we can go down the "What if" rabbit hole. It is as if we have a fearful, timid little monster on shoulder whispering negative ideas into our ear. The little, ugly, scrawny monster says, "Oh, no! What if you fail? You are not talented enough to do something like that. What if you succeed, there won't be enough time to take care of the other things you do? You aren't smart enough to tackle this. Who are you to even try? That dream is for someone else, someone better than me." That little monster will keep whispering self-doubting comments into your ear all day and all night. The self-doubt monster whispers, "Stay put. Keep things just how they are. You don't want to go into the unknown it's scary. Stay where it is safe. Change is bad." The self-doubt turns into roadblocks that you can't see your way around. The barricades develop into walls you can't climb. Before long the nasty little monster of self-doubt has won. We feel defeated and give up before we even begin.
How do you silence the self-doubt monster? The little monster is only fear within all of us. Little monster means well, and it wants to keep us safe. But, the little monster is a child that has jumped into the driver seat of our life and is panicked, afraid and misguided. To silence the little monster, remind it that you are the grown-up. As the adult, you put the little child monster into the back seat, where the children sit because they are safe there. You reinsure the self-doubting monster that as the adult you know there are unknowns and change can be very scary, however, anytime you grow there is change, and nothing stays the same. As the adult, you will keep little monster safe, but you are driving the car of your life right now, and it is not needed.
The self-doubting voice is quieter, but you may still feel uncertain about taking your next steps. Reverse the contrary self talk with positive affirmations. Write down and repeat out loud the positive spin on the negative thoughts. If you thought, "I am not smart enough or able to do this." Write down and say out loud, "I am smart and capable." Do this with each discouraging thought. We have had years of listening to the self-doubting monster, so it will take repeated practice to change our negative belief about ourselves. You will need to work consistently on this until you know you CAN do anything. We tend to be our own worst critics. We MUST become our #1 fan!
At this point, you may still feel nervous. That is completely normal. Use those nerves as excitement for your new beginning. When you feel nerves creeping up inside think to yourself, "I'm so excited for what is to come." Then JUMP! Take your first steps and then more and more until you are running toward your dream. Believe in yourself. Because if you don't who will?