Overcome Self-Doubt Once and For All and Get On with Your Life
Rev. Dr. Kitty Boitnott, NBCT, RScP
Heart-Centered Career Transition & Job Search Coach | Life Strategies and Stress Management Coach
In the last two previous posts, I have pointed out (1) how self-doubt might be holding you back and (2) where it might have started.
Please know that even the most successful people you know work to overcome self-doubt at times. It isn't the feeling of self-doubt by itself that is the problem. The problem is the result of allowing self-doubt to control you, cause you to make decisions that aren't in your best interest, and stop you from doing the things you want to do.
If you are working on issues with self-doubt, or have self-esteem issues that are holding you back from living the life you want, keep these points in mind:
1) You are not alone.
Everyone experiences self-doubt sometimes.
It's not your self-doubt that is the crux of the problem. The problem lies in how you choose to respond to it.
Perhaps it would help for you to share your feelings. Talking them out may help you find clarity. There are lots of people who are able and willing to help. You just need to be prepared to reach out them for help.
There are Facebook groups and online forums where you can share your insecurities confidentially with some anonymity. You will receive understanding, empathy, help, and even good advice there! And you will see that I am right. You are not alone if you frequently feel insecure and doubt yourself on occasion.
2) Keeping a journal can help.
Keeping a journal can help remind yourself of the accomplishments you've already had in your life. Remind yourself of the things you have been able to do in your life so far. We tend to dwell more on the negative situations that have happened to us than the positive. Keep a journal that is dedicated only to the positive things that have happened to you. If you need to chronicle your failures and disappointments to gain clarity around what went wrong so you can learn from your mistakes, use a different journal for that.
The primary purpose of journaling should be to help you try to focus on the many positive things for which you can be grateful.
3) Don’t compare yourself to others.
One of the worst things you can do is compare yourself to someone else.
This is your life. Let other people live their lives. Comparing yourself to others just breeds more self-doubt. It may even cause you to feel envy or jealousy. Neither of those feelings feels good. And frankly, they aren't attractive qualities in a person.
The fact is, you have no idea what other people have gone through in their lives. You don't know whether they are even honest when they brag about how great their lives are. Perhaps they are pretending to cover up their insecurities. Many people do that. Don't get suckered in.
Don't compare yourself to anyone else. Just live your life the best way you can. And let them live theirs.
4) Learn to be grateful for everything.
Every event in your life has something in it for which you can be grateful. Even the worst situations can be turned around to be a lesson that will help you face the next situation better.
People who have overcome the most horrible things that you can imagine--death, crime, illness--all share one thing in common. They share in their ability to see the positive aspects of the event. Or at least they have learned to be grateful for the lesson they learned from it.
5) Set small, immediate goals.
One way to overcome self-doubt is to experience more success. Start by setting small goals. That will allow you to experience pretty fast success.
It depends on where you are in your life, of course. But for some, success can be as small as getting out of bed in the morning. It may include going to the store and just getting out of the house. Or maybe it is something more challenging like applying for a new job.
6) Find positive people to be around.
Take the time to pick people who make you feel good. If you don’t have those people in your life, it’s time to find some. You can find people via meetups online. Take a class. Attend group meetings. Join or start a book club.
I love recommending Toastmasters to people. It is a great place to go to find upbeat, positive people who are eager to grow themselves and support others. The important thing is to start being around positive people more often. You will then begin to feel better about yourself.
7) Learn to appreciate challenges.
Everyone has challenges and faces hurdles on occasion.
Everyone. No one is immune from occasional failure and disappointment. It isn't the experience itself that molds you and your attitude. It is how you respond to the experience that molds you and your attitude.
Find a way to appreciate the challenges that are put in front of you. Make it a point of pride to learn from them.
8) Learn from your mistakes.
When you make a mistake--and you will--instead of beating yourself up, learn from it. Sometimes it helps to journal about it with the focus being on what you learned. Concentrate on what you will do instead if that situation arises again.
9) Know when to walk away.
There are times when walking away is not a failure. Sometimes you have to recognize that something is not working for you, and it’s time to walk away. It may be a job, a relationship, or something else. If it’s causing you so much stress that you feel you cannot deal with it, it’s time to move on.
10) It’s OK to feel uncomfortable.
Sometimes we need to step outside our comfort zones.
In fact, often, we do our most significant growing when we have been forced out of that zone. The truth is that you won’t grow if you don’t experience some discomfort. That doesn’t mean you have to endure mental, physical, or spiritual torture. It means that feeling a little fearful or unsure about your prospect for success is natural. Put things into perspective. That may help you know you’re making good choices.
11) Assess your strengths and weaknesses.
Be honest with yourself. Be willing to assess your strengths and weaknesses. We all have them. No one is perfect. Once you have assessed yourself, develop your strengths. Improve upon your shortcomings when you can. But don't fret. There is always some way around a gap. And you will likely enjoy the process of working with your strengths.
12) Get accountable.
When you are trying to overcome self-doubt, it helps to have an accountability partner. This could be a life coach, a counselor, a good friend, or a support group. Be mindful of which friend you ask if you go with a friend, though.
You need someone who can be impartial and who will give you honest feedback. What you need is someone who will be even-handed and neutral. That's why more and more people are turning to life coaches for help. A good life coach will be supportive, but they will also be honest. They will definitely hold you accountable if they are doing their job.
These are not all the strategies but are a few that you can use for dealing with self-doubt.
They won't all necessarily work for you. But they won't work for you if you don’t use them. The issues that so many people experience with self-doubt can keep them stuck in ruts in their lives.
You can wind up living a life you don't love. And you deserve to live a life that you love and enjoy.
Failing to deal with your self-doubt head-on may lead to feelings of anxiety and even depression. Unless you take affirmative action, your situation can spiral into even more significant problems.
If you want to experience real joy in life, believe in yourself. Rid yourself of the harmful effects of self-doubt. Don't make excuses. Don't delay getting started. Do something starting today.
To those who have responded to this series of posts with messages of thanks, thank you.
I have heard from many people these last couple of weeks. They are telling me that these posts on self-doubt really resonated with them.
I have to be honest. Each week, as I work on these messages, I am never quite sure who will read them. Or if anyone will.
But if even one person gets something out of any of the posts I offer, it is worth the time and effort I put into writing them.
So thank you for reading them, and thank you for letting me know when they land for you in a way that feels meaningful. I appreciate your messages and comments.
Are you ready to make a change in your life? Are you prepared to take action at last? If so, one good place to start might be with your career.
I am still taking clients into my Jumpstart Your Job Search Group Coaching Program. I would love to share what it includes so you can determine if it could help you make the change in your career--or your life--that you want.