Things seem to be going smoothly and then one small, tiny thing happens and WHAM! The self-doubt sets in. You know in your mind that you have the capability, but the task seems gigantic, and you're not sure if you have the stamina. You see others around you who have more credentials, their public display is evident that they are performing, and you're not sure you can stomach their ego, nor the drive to get to their place of success.
Self-doubt can feel suffocating and pull at your motivation and drive. What is self-doubt? Self-doubt is a lack of faith in oneself as per Merriam-Webster. Here are the different ways to overcome self-doubt and become more confident in yourself.
Ways to overcome self-doubt
I have long been a believer in myself and have always said, "If I am going to bet on anyone, I would bet on myself. That's right, me and Beyoncé do have something in common.
I would bet on myself because I know that I have the drive and tenacity to see things through to the end. That doesn't mean I, along with every other human do not experience self-doubt and the self-imposed depression it brings with it.
When I lost my job due to the elimination of my position, I had a significant case of self-doubt. At first it appeared in a disguise of shock and then transitioned to my need for more explanation. This then led to a lack of confidence. It started to tear at my credentials, education, and accomplishments that I had attained over the years and continued to manifest. Regardless of what I did to overcome it, it surfaced back when there was a trigger. Entrepreneurs in particular seem to have a significant amount of self-doubt, where they can be on top of the mountain one day and down deep in a hole the next.
Stop over analyzing
I had to put a stop to it. For those of you experiencing this feeling, you need to step back and realize that this is a moment in time.
Stop over analyzing and letting the mental chatter take over!
When you are feeling your mind start to swirl in these types of self-doubt and detrimental thoughts, you need to stop before you get further down the rabbit hole. Say, "no" to yourself and focus on a positive aspect of your current situation. Do not let the negative thoughts bring you to a place of uncertainty and distrust.
Know Yourself and Build your Talent Profile
This step sounds ridiculous, know yourself, WTF?
Yes, take a reality check as to where you have been and what you have done. Not only will this allow you to do some reflective work, but it also helps you to focus on the positive aspects of your life, thereby cutting out any self-doubt that you may have in the process.
Look at your past successes. Consider this a performance inventory. Download my talent profile template and enter in the following categories pertaining to your past performance.
Accomplishments consist of any projects you have completed independently or collaboratively. For example, if you organized a cause walk or worked with your manager to create a stakeholder deck, this is where you will list it.
Think something is too small?
It’s not! Write EVERYTHING down and go back later to reduce your list. Heck, I was employee of the month in 2013, guess what...it’s still on my list!
Education consists of any specific courses that you have taken that are directly correlated to your career endeavors. Any certifications, degrees and / or educational experiences you have taken should also be listed here. If you took an online course for marketing or email lists, write that down as it counts too (download the form below if you haven't already and get writing!
Write down what you want to achieve in your career in the next 3 months, 6 months, even a year. Now, let’s make them S.M.A.R.T. goals.
- Be specific (who/what/when)
- Have a measurement associated to them as a result
- Ensure it is attainable (something that is achievable)
- Make sure it is realistic and that you have the knowledge and ability to achieve it
- Lastly, make the goal time-bound (set a deadline).
What is your optimum goal for your career in 5 years? Where are you going to be? What will they call you in that position? Where are you living? What will your day be like? Who are you working with?
THIS IS SO IMPORTANT! Why? Because these long term goals become your VISION for the future! A vision is “a thought, concept or object formed by the imagination” Merriam Webster. The ultimate goal of this exercise is to produce a long-term goal that represents you and what trajectory you want your life to be on. Keep in mind that in order to keep you disciplined and on tract to achieving this long-term goal it needs to be something that you truly want. As you begin to form this vision write it down. We will talk about manifesting in a bit:)
We all have innate strengths. Strengths are talents that come to us naturally. In order to overcome this self-doubt we are experiencing, it is important to go back to your strengths and maintain confidence in what you excel in.
Don't know what your strengths are? I highly recommend taking the Strength Finders 2.0 (affiliate link). I'm promoting this because I have taken it twice and it is spot on in regard to my personality, my strengths and what I am naturally good at. It dives deep into your top 5 strengths and provides you with the ability to read further into how to utilize that knowledge in your career. Check it out here, it packs a punch compared to the price you pay.
Write your top 5 strengths down in the talent profile (download below), this will give you greater insight when viewing them next to your accomplishments and goals.
To learn more about your strengths and how to capitalize on them in your career and as an entrepreneur, click here.
Take this time when you are feeling a bit down and out to write out your personal road map of where you developmentally want to go. Use the talent profile to outline your development objectives. Indicate what your goals are for your career and personal developmental growth. Then indicate what developmental activities are required to get you there.
The beauty of this exercise is that it redirects your focus on your future. Also, you're able to take some of those anxieties you may have about any opportunities that you have not yet taken advantage of and put them on your road map.
Reduce Situations of Competition
Ever notice that when you're at your working prime and someone approaches your bubble with more expertise and more success than you, that your inferiority complex kicks in?
Well, you're not alone!
Yes, at that point your self-confidence drops to zero and you're not quite sure if you want to keep going. This is normal. Research shows that when a person begins to feel self-doubt, they also start to feel the emotions of inferiority or feel sub-par to others.
Per Forbes, "To keep the self-doubt at bay, avoid unnecessary competition in your work life. Seek out the opportunities around you where there’s more collaboration and cooperation."
Let go of "Impostor Syndrome"
Impostor syndrome is when a person feels as though they are acting as a fraud, whose achieved success was characterized by something other than one's own abilities (goodtherapy.org). "Individuals with impostor feelings often cite luck, timing, or good fortune as their key to success" Social and Personality Psychology Compass .
How to overcome Impostor Syndrome:
- Be honest.
- Talk about your feelings
- Separate fact versus feelings.
- Sometimes we forget things or feel inadequate, this does not mean that we do not have the expertise, it means we are human.
- Rewrite the mental speak in your head.
- Instead of saying, "I'm not good enough to speak on this topic yet," say that you are still learning as you are new to this venture.
- Change and develop a new reaction to your actions.
- If you mess up, approach your next behavior in a way that sees it as an opportunity to learn and not repeat that mistake rather than seeing it as a failure.
- Fake it till you make it friend.
- We all need to try before we become the expert. When you go to network your elevator speech is not refined the first time you speak it, but by the 10th time you are starting to get it down. Know that practice makes perfect and abide by this rule. (impostorsyndrome.com).
Flip it on the Positive, Use Introspection
One of the benefits that self-doubt creates is the opportunity to look inward. Take this opportunity to assess your feelings and why your feeling that way. If self-doubt is giving you anxiety, try to understand why and what exactly is causing it so that you can cope more effectively.
A coping mechanism that will help to boost your confidence is to look introspectively at your skills, talents and abilities to further your understanding of the opportunities you have ahead.
Stop comparing yourself to others
It can be easy for self-doubt to creep in when you are comparing yourself to other people. This grass is greener on the other side crap is totally not true and absolutely NOT good for you. There will always be someone with more knowledge, a prettier house, a better job, a nicer car and the list goes on.
As my mentor, Rachel Hollis says in her book, Girl, Stop Apologizing, "Stop comparing your beginning to someone else's middle." I absolutely love this quote because it is a huge reminder that we are all at different points in our journey. All too often I find myself comparing where I am or why I don't have something done yet.
Listen up people, you gotta stop comparing!
It is a toxic behavior that you need to redirect toward positive and goal-driven thoughts. Once you stop thinking about someone else, you can start focusing on yourself.
Stop worrying about what they think
I have a news flash for you...
They don't actually care that much. Yep, I said it. People do not care as much as you give them credit for. In the moment they may draw attention to something, but as soon as they walk out the door their attention is focused on themselves. Humans are self-centered creatures and as much as we may think what we do and say is on others minds, as humans we tend to consume our thoughts with our own bubble (a.k.a. our house).
So, let it go. Let whatever it was that was causing the self-doubt go and move on. Move past the worry of judgement. Move past that big B that gave you a look or rolled her eyes. Mistakes happen. We all are human and YOU need to focus on YOUR PROGRESS.
The more time you spend concerned with what others think, the more time you are taking away from yourself.
It's like when you go to a completely worthless movie and you walk out thinking, well that is 2 hours I will never get back of my life. Yep, you're wasting your time worrying about them. Refocus your energy into what you bring, your talents and abilities. Let go of the worry.
When you let go of the worry you can focus on the more important things. You can focus on your vision. When you are able to focus on manifesting the things that you want for your life, career, education, and family then your self-doubt is redirected.
Keep a journal and work to write down your goals daily. The more often you think about these daily reminders the more likely you are to pursue those objectives.
The more you pursue these goals, the more confident you will be in yourself and of your abilities to achieve these goals.
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