Self doubt. It’s insidious. It’s annoying. It’s frustrating.
And it’s crippling.
Maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who’s never felt a moment’s doubt about anything. Maybe all your efforts have been met with zero resistance and conquered handily.
But for most of us –dare I say all of us — it’s not that simple.
Even the most confident people have moments of self doubt, even though we may not be able to see it. It’s not that they’re doubt free. It’s just that they’ve perfected the art of hiding it.
And so often, if you happen to get a glimpse of that person with their guard down, it is glaringly obvious.
I Know Self-Doubt Very Well
I am very familiar with self doubt. It plagues me often, much to my chagrin. I struggle with it far more frequently than I like to admit.
And nowadays, as I begin to focus on a freelance writing business, it’s been a frequent unvited guest who won’t leave.
Especially in the wee hours of the morning.
Can I do it? Am I good enough? Am I too old? God, how I hate that one. I push it aside, only to have it resurface again in a weak moment.
Self Doubt Is Enemy Number 1
But if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that self doubt is the biggest single reason people fail to reach their goals and realize their dreams. It is, without question, enemy number 1.
It trumps skill level, knowledge, or talent.
We must shove that voice aside and move past it if we want to reach our true potential.
But how do we do that?
Well, I’m not an expert, but I have some helpful tricks up my sleeve. Here are a few.
1. Just get moving.
Seriously, as ridiculous as this sounds, it’s often the best and fastest way to get unstuck. Do something. Anything. Action trumps inaction any day. And it has the advantage of filling your head with other thoughts besides “What if I fail.”
You can only have so many thoughts in your head at a time, and occupying yourself with positive activities leaves little room for doubt to set up shop. It gets the proverbial ball rolling and builds your confidence. You find that your fears are often unfounded and you really can accomplish something of value, even if it’s just a small step. It’s a start. And everything we do has to have a start.
2. Find mentors.
This one used to stop me cold until I realized that mentors can be found on the web. You don’t necessarily have to know them. That’s the beauty of the internet. Thanks to social media and Google search, these people are very available.
Success leaves clues and simply following paths paved by others can help you find your own success. If you do know someone personally, or can get on their radar and open a dialog, all the better. Leave comments on their blog posts, on their social media updates. Get in front of them and let them know you’re there. You just never know where it may lead.
3. Get some training.
None of us is ever finished learning and experience is the best teacher. If you’re not moving forward in your training and knowledge, you’re falling behind. Because those that continue to learn will pass you by like the tide rolling in. You’ll become irrelevant.
That doesn’t mean you must enroll in college courses indefinitely, but you can tap into available training, much of which is free, simply by following your mentors. They’ll all have nuggets of knowledge to pass along, and you can soak it up by reading their books, their blogs, signing up for their free training, or paying for training and events in your niche. The point is, commit to continuing to learn and you’ll remain valuable and relevant in your field.
4. Find others who have overcome the same challenges you face.
Find successful people who have overcome similar challenges to those you face. Maybe it’s someone who has reinvented themselves later in life. Maybe they’ve overcome financial or health challenges. I guarantee behind every successful person is a story of overcoming struggles. Realizing that you’re not alone can be a huge driver toward building confidence. Don’t underestimate it.
You Don’t Have to Succumb to Self Doubt
These are just a few ways I’ve escaped the pit of self-doubt when it hits. Or even better, avoided falling into it to start with.
I don’t know why it is that I often doubt myself, and have my whole life. But I’m determined not to let that stop me. Because if I do, then I’ll never know what I might have been. And I simply cannot let that happen.
You’re Not Alone
If you struggle with self doubt, you’re not alone.
It’s a common struggle, for nearly everyone. Maybe even absolutely everyone.
Take action. Move forward.
Seek tools that will help you.
Go and find who you’re meant to be.
Because there’s no doubt that you’re meant for greatness.
If you found this post helpful, or even if you didn’t, post your thoughts in the comments below. I love a good conversation. And if you know others who struggle with self doubt, click here to tweet this post to your friends.