We all experience self-doubt at times. Maybe you have a project you’d like to start, a major event you want to attend, a job application you want to make or an opportunity for a more senior role at work. You know it’s something you really want to go for, but then that negative voice creeps in telling you you’re not good enough. You start to question yourself, and your capabilities and before you know it you’ve shut the idea down.
There are so many ways self-doubt keeps us playing small. It stops us from reaching our full potential, expressing our true self and taking the action we really want to. It could be something as simple as wearing a dress that’s slightly different to your usual style or speaking up for yourself in a situation that makes you uncomfortable.
Where does self-doubt come from?
We absorb lots of different beliefs throughout life. From a young age, we’re told that it takes a certain kind of person to achieve this or that and, whether we’re aware of it or not, we start to question whether it’s possible for us based on our personality, our background, our appearance… and this prevents us from going any further.
So, how do we stop self-doubt? Below fellow Hip-Lister, Laura Rachel (founder of Laura Rachel Coaching) shares her advice…
Focus on your effort not the outcome
If we only praise ourselves for positive outcomes, we’re more likely to stay in our comfort zone and experience self-doubt when trying something new. When we focus on simply doing what we said we would, we feel more confident trying new things and dealing with setbacks because our self-esteem isn’t attached to the outcome. Praise yourself for showing up and keep rooting for yourself regardless of the outcome!
Find proof from past experiences
Our subconscious is always looking for evidence to confirm the type of person we are. When you focus on evidence that you’re capable of achieving what you want, the idea that you can’t weakens.
Make a note of the times you’ve accomplished something similar, shown you have the ability to or felt truly confident in yourself. Keep updating your list and come back to it whenever you need a confidence boost.
Remember that not everything you think is true!
We’re often more than capable of what we want to do and it’s our mind that convinces us otherwise. When you focus on thinking rationally, you can teach your brain that your thoughts aren’t always accurate. Ask yourself “How can I look at this doubt in a more rational way?”
Focus on your strengths
Social media means we now have a lot more people to compare ourselves to and self-doubt can quickly creep in when we focus on others. The key to stopping comparison is bringing the focus back to you and your capabilities.
What qualities and strengths do you love about yourself? What are you good at? What are you proud of achieving? Look back at the past 3 months and make a note of the times you’ve felt proud of yourself or achieved something, however small.
Uncover the fear behind it
Self-doubt is a form of fear and understanding that fear is a protection mechanism can be extremely helpful. Our brain is wired to keep us safe. Fear exists to prevent us from doing something outside our comfort zone, where we could risk experiencing uncomfortable emotions. Recognising this makes it easier to step back and view doubt more objectively.
When you experience self-doubt, ask yourself “what is the fear behind this?” Some common fears are: fear of failure, success, judgement, rejection, and shining too brightly.
Clarify your values
When you get clear on what’s important to you and what drives you (i.e. your values), it helps you to feel more empowered and connect to your true self and purpose. You will also feel more confident making decisions about your direction and what to say yes and no to.
Treat yourself with compassion
Self-compassion is key to building confidence. Try to notice how you talk to yourself. When you are aware of your thoughts you can make a conscious choice to replace a critical thought with a more compassionate one. Think about what you would say to your younger self or someone you love and speak to yourself in the same way.