"Nobody can give you wiser advice than yourself." - Cicero
It’s common for us all to experience self-doubt at times, especially when we are feeling stressed or overwhelmed. It can hold us back and prevent us from expressing whom we really are and what we want to do because we fear of failure or rejection. Comparing ourselves to others can exacerbate self-doubt. Finding our true voice and purpose isn’t always easy. It means having to confront our own vulnerability, but this is where we can start to build our inner strength and resilience.
I spent too much time my first job, in the fashion industry, in a persistent state of fear and self-doubt. Having only just graduated from university, I was given the responsibility for totally re-branding and designing all the collections. The responsibility was enormous and the pressure intense. I started to doubt my ability to produce what was required. I often worked sixty or seventy hours a week trying to prove I could live up to the company’s expectations and climb what I believed to be the ladder of success. I never thought of the consequences on my health and wellbeing until I was overwhelmed with stress and physical and mental fatigue.
What I learnt from my experience was that I needed to change the way I responded to my self-limiting thoughts. I took a step back and allowed myself to be vulnerable, which was not an easy thing for me to do. The first thing I did was to ask for help. I then started to explore and learn how I could find ways of overcoming my self-doubt. The biggest step for me was to be realistic in acknowledging my abilities and capabilities. I was scared of admitting I couldn’t handle the huge workload. Instead I had pushed myself to do the work of 2 or 3 people and this was unsustainable.
Many clients I have worked with have experienced self-doubt and the resulting negative impact it has had on them. I work with female entrepreneurs and they often feel they have to be good at so many different things to get their business started or to grow their business. They often doubt their abilities to handle all the responsibility and this can lead to them feeling stressed and overwhelmed. If left unchecked this can result in them feeling paralysed when having to make decisions.
But the good news is that Self-doubt is not always negative.
The nervous energy you feel from the stress and anxiety caused by self-doubt can work for you. If you can harness that energy in a positive way it can help you to motivate yourself and to take action. It will also help you to be more resilient.
Here are 5 ways that can help you to replace self-doubt with confidence
1. Is your self-doubt realistic or unrealistic?
Realistic self-doubt is when you can acknowledge that you have set out to do something that is more than you feel you can achieve at the moment. That’s okay as it makes sense. By owning it you can then act on this realistic knowledge and make a decision about what action to take in order to make it more achievable. For example, perhaps you could take a course or ask an expert in that field for their help.
Unrealistic self-doubt is when you know you have got the resources and skills to achieve what you are trying to do. Change the way you respond by thinking about something you may have done similar before. It may be challenging, but you know it’s achievable with effort and commitment. In this case your initial feelings of self-doubt are likely to be untrue and there is no real reason to doubt your capability.
2. Trust yourself
When you have a decision to make you may ruminate on it too long and that just feeds your self-doubt. Self-doubt can lead to you look for reassurance from others. The best way is to trust yourself and go with your first reaction. How many times have you chosen to follow someone else’s suggestion and then realised that you should have listened to your gut instinct and gone with that. Make a decision and trust yourself that you know what’s the best course of action for you. This is a great way to build your confidence.
3. Clarify your values and what matters to you
When you decide what really matters to you and you find your purpose and meaning in life, your self-doubt will diminish. This will help you to connect to yourself and to others, and will help you manage the challenges and decisions you have to make. Ask yourself is your purpose aligned to your values and strengths?
4. Treat yourself with self-compassion
I remind myself daily to practice self-compassion. If you constantly judge yourself or are seeking to be perfect at everything you do self-doubt or your inner critic will creep in as a form of protection. Imagine how you would respond to a close friend who is struggling with the feelings of self-doubt and respond to yourself with the same words you would say to your friend. Stress experienced from self-doubt can be exhausting so take a break, spend some time with friends or just go for a walk or a run. Self-care is the number one priority and builds your confidence physically and mentally.
5. Don’t compare your accomplishments to others
Comparing yourself with others serves no purpose. Everyone is an individual and on their own journey. What matters is that you are following the path that serves you well. Are you doing what really matters to you, what works for you and is personally fulfilling? Gain confidence through doing what you love and enjoy. This is what makes you feel good about yourself and it doesn’t matter if it is different to what someone else is doing.
If any of this has resonated with you and you would like to find out more about how to replace self-doubt with confidence please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07736 649584. Let's talk.