“We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be obtained.”
— Marie Curie
At one point or another in all of our lives, no matter who you are or what your background is, we all experience self-doubt. You will have moments when your confidence son the rocks or has completely fallen apart and you don’t know if you should or even if you can take the next step. Self-doubt is one of the chiefest adversaries against progress and success. It happens in every environment, in personal and professional lives, in little league and the pros.
When it strikes, it can be devastating but it can also be challenging. It is the stuff that either forces us to never start or to stop in the middle of the road. Learning how to defeat self-doubt before it defeats you is important to finding strength, erasing limitations, taking risks, and living the life you’ve always dreamed of. If you can remove self-doubt, you can achieve anything.
Here are 9 ways to eradicate self-doubt:
1. Practice self-awareness.
The very first step to changing negative habits and negative thinking is being aware that they exist. If you do not know or realize that a problem exists, you are less likely to actively seek out solutions. The more you know, acknowledge and understanding about yourself, the more likely you are to be motivated to make the necessary changes.
2. Identify your comfort zone.
Our comfort zone is where we feel the safest and it is also a breeding ground for self-doubt. Outside of our comfort zone is all the things we could do but think we can’t for one reason or another. The more you are aware of what you consider familiar and/or safe, the more you can understand where your self-doubt comes from. You can identify what behaviors, patterns, and cognitive factors are working and not working and make those adjustments.
3. Let go of other people’s opinions.
When you care about what other people think about you and what you are doing, you impede yourself. Instead of pushing forward, you recoil. It is easier to do nothing and not get criticized than to do something and risk judgment. A lot of self-doubt comes from worrying about other people and their opinions and if you don’t let it go, you will find yourself in constant fits of self-doubt.
4. Open up your choice arsenal.
Choice is a very powerful tool in our mental and emotional arsenal. Doubting yourself and your ability can creep in at any time. However, one way to combat that doubt is to choose to shut the door to its entrance. When the thought crosses our mind that we aren’t capable or good enough to do something, we can squash those thoughts in the affirmative and intentionally make choices that drive away self-doubt and employ confidence.
5. Stop comparing your achievements to the achievements of others.
When you compare your accomplishments to that of your friends or colleagues or peers you are setting yourself up to feel inadequate. The achievements of others are not a litmus test to measure your own success. The more you focus on your journey and remember that every person is on a journey unique and specific to the, your self-doubt will decrease and pretty soon be eradicated.
6. Look for your motivation.
Sometimes we begin to doubt ourselves when we are outside of our purpose. A way to counter this feeling is to make sure that you are intentionally pursuing your purpose in life and deriving true meaning and significance from that. Frequently reflect on why you are doing what you’re doing, why you started in the first place and what your ultimate goals are. You are more likely to take risks and stick with something when your motivation is internal as opposed to external. When it comes from within, you are less likely to yield to your self-doubts.
7. Don’t take refuge in your excuses.
When we entertain self-doubt we tend to rationalize about our situation. Perhaps we’re afraid of what people will think or we’re afraid to fail or we’re afraid that we won’t be able finish something. This leads us to make a lot of excuses, lies, alibis, and self-justifications about why we can’t/won’t do what we know we should do. Excuses are mental and emotional obstacles we put in our own way because we doubt our ability to take advantage and follow through on opportunities.
8. Go to the source.
Professors in college often challenge their students to dig deeper into a text in order to find its real meaning and current implications. When we dig deep, we are looking for the origin, we are seeking to go to the source. Self-doubt may be rooted in something someone said to you, a past hurt, insecurity or even something reasonable such as a parent who induced a sense of caution. Finding out the cause of your self-doubt will help to identify it and then deal with it so you can make progress.
9. Go make stuff happen.
It sounds like this one wouldn’t be on the list, but one of the best ways to eradicate self-doubt is to go and do the very thing you doubt you can do. If you’re holding back on a project or a skill because you have allowed yourself to give in to negative thoughts such as you’re not good enough or smart enough or talented enough, you can decrease and eventually eliminate those thoughts by making that very thing happen. We often bury our good ideas because we don’t trust ourselves and we fear the outcome could be failure. The best way to stop self-doubt is having the guts to action against it.
“I don’t believe anyone ever suspects how completely unsure I am of my work and myself and what tortures of self-doubting the doubt of others has always given me.”
— Tennessee Williams