We all do it from time to time! For some self doubt can be crippling. For others of us it’s something that hits us, often out of no where, on occasions. It may be triggered by something, or someone. It will almost always be due to a memory that we are holding on to from the past.
Whatever and however we struggle with self doubt it is very rarely helpful.
OK, on occasion, a bit of self doubt is useful as a way of checking ourselves. Questioning whether what we are doing or thinking is the right thing to do. That is reflection rather than doubt though, and something that we always need to do employ.
I want to talk to you today though about that crippling self doubt. The sort that is getting in your way and stopping you from achieving your total awesomeness.
That nasty negative voice on your shoulder, telling you ‘ you can’t do that’, ‘people will laugh’, ‘no one is going to take you seriously’.
My self doubt is linked to my embarrassment filter. I have always had a deep fear of being embarrassed and worried about what other people think of me. This did very little to protect me and instead held me back. Even now, I have to overcome the little voice in my head which is telling me that people will think my blogs are rubbish! (Maybe they are but I am happy with them and they might help someone which is exactly why I do them)
I used to look at others and wonder how they overcame those fears. And then I met someone who simply didn’t care about what others thought. Not in a big headed, arrogant way. This person is lovely, compassionate and caring. They simply do not preoccupy themselves with what anyone else might think of them. They do what they think is right and, if they screw it up, they apologise, if necessary and move on.
For me, this was a bit mind blowing. How can you not have that embarrassment switch? Turns out that by being comfortable with who you are, and confident in your abilities to generally do the right thing, it becomes much easier to care less about what you THINK others think of you.
Because that’s the other thing I have learnt. What you think others are thinking is very rarely right.
‘I am not offended by all the dumb blond jokes because I know I am not dumb.I also know I am not blond.’
– Dolly Parton, singer, songwriter, around superstar
To achieve in life we really must stop wasting precious time worrying about what others might think of us. It is utterly pointless!
As I mention above, yes we do need to embrace a bit of reflection and these 3 questions are good ones to use when making decisions.
1. Is this something I want to do, to be, to have?
2. Is this going to take me in a direction I am happy with?
3. Is this going to negatively effect anyone else? (And this does not mean someone being a bit disappointed in you but materially impact badly on someone else.)
Of course, you care! But, caring shouldn’t also mean keeping yourself small to please others.
Of course you should listen to feedback. This will be helpful to your development.
Yes, you must take responsibility for what you say and do.
But, you are not responsible for how others react. What others think about you is on them – and they will come their conclusions based on their own filters.
So, how do you start to over come that doubting voice in your head.
Here are my top tips.
1. Ask yourself why you are about to do or say something?
Is it to people please? Is it to put someone else down because it makes you feel better? Is it to get back at someone? Is it make someone beholden to you?
Or, is it because you know it will help someone in a positive, non-conditional way? Or, because you have a legitimate calling to do it? Or, just because it will be fun and you will enjoy it without harming anyone else?
2. Do the best you can.
If you can honestly say you have done your best then your self doubting demon has no choice but to shut up! If you know you haven’t then that inner voice, telling you that you did a crap job, is partly right, and you know it. Do your best, be proud and don’t worry about anyone else’s thoughts.
3. Change your inner voice.
This is a trick I learnt many years ago and I come back to it all the time. Pick an imaginary mentor. Kids use imaginary friends to help them deal with stuff – you can do the same. Although maybe don’t talk out loud to them or set a place for them at dinner!
Chose someone that you admire. Think about what it is that they have that inspires you. Then, next time you’re in a situation where you start doubting yourself, ask ‘what would my imaginary mentor say/do’?
4. Trust your gut.
Did you know that your gut is kinda your second brain? Amazing isn’t it! There is physical and chemical connections between your gut and your brain. Millions of nerves and neurons run between your gut and brain. Neurotransmitters and other chemicals produced in your gut also affect your brain.
When people talk about a gut instinct, it is an actual real thing!
You KNOW when something doesn’t feel right? Pay attention and ask yourself some questions. This isn’t self doubt but a sensible reflection on what you are doing and why.
5. Be kind to yourself .
Heck, the things we tell ourselves are so much harder than we would ever say to anyone else. If you spoke to a member of the team the way you speak to yourself at times, you’d be called up for bullying.
Be kind. You are NOT stupid. You are awesome but sometimes make a bad choice. You do not ALWAYS get things wrong. You are awesome but not perfect.
Know yourself and be more ‘Dolly’.