Hey hey! What’s up?
Self-doubt. Self-doubt is what’s up.
Self-doubt is like a toenail fungus…it just keeps coming back!
Pretty picture, right!? I know, sorry. I hope you weren’t eating.
But it’s true! The good thing is that you aren’t the only one dealing with self-doubt.
If you’re anything like me, you’re sparring in the ring with self-doubt on a daily basis and sometimes it kicks your ass.
We’ve all been there. Just when we get in our groove and see bright skies ahead self-doubt comes creeping along throwing shade like “I’m not good enough” or “I should be doing more”. It’s enough to make you tuck tail and binge-watch Rizzoli and Isles on Hulu!
But I’ve learned how to manage it and stop self-doubt in its success-killing tracks when it rears its ugly little head.
The below mindset reframes helped me kick self-doubts booty and come out on top! And I have a present for you. Scroll down to the bottom to get your very own worksheet that will take you through the process of how to stop your self-doubt now!
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Disclaimer: Affiliate links are used and you can read my full disclosure here.
Give It a Face
When I picture my self-doubt I see it as the young teenage version of myself. She has pimples she’s embarrassed of, a body she’s self-conscious of and is constantly wondering what people are thinking about her.
She doesn’t have the years of wisdom I have now to know that people aren’t really paying all that much attention to every little thing she does. They’re far more concerned with how others see them. She doesn’t know yet that in 15 years all the stuff she’s obsessing about right now will seem so small. She hasn’t seen all the greatness she is capable of.
When I personify my self-doubt this way it allows me to see that it’s not some big bad ominous force trying to keep me from stepping out of my lane or from reaching my dreams. It’s just adolescent me trying to stay small so no one will notice her and the good thing is adult me knows there’s really nothing to be afraid of.
Some other options you might want to try out is imagining your self-doubt as a teeny tiny little puppy (or kitty for you cat lovers out there) you can snuggle with or a bug you can squash underneath those Louboutins.
Giving it a face allows you to stop self-doubt by making it something tangible that you can either embrace (or squash depending on what you choose).
Love Your Self-doubt
These are all interrelated emotions leftover from our reptile brains back when we needed to be constantly vigilant to stay alive. Here, in modern times, there aren’t lions, and, tigers and bears, (oh my!) just roaming outside our homes waiting to make us a tasty snack.
So why do our brains still act like there are?
Evolution, plain and simple.
Evolution is a marathoner and not a sprinter. It’s only recently, by evolution standards, that our lives have become safer and constant vigilance is no longer necessary.
Your self-doubt is just your brain’s way of trying to take care of you. It doesn’t want you to try something new and fail because you might get shunned by your fellow pack and be left alone to starve in the wilderness…oh, no, wait, that’s not really an issue anymore, is it?
Well, how do you stop self-doubt if it’s literally a part of our brain?
You guys don’t have to be best friends but recognize that your self-doubt is just trying to have your back. It’s like when your mom tells you not to text a guy two days in a row because “you might seem too available”. It’s irritating, but you know it’s just because she cares and you move on with whatever you were doing.
Treat your self-doubt exactly the same way. Hear it out, roll your eyes, and move on with whatever you were doing. Appreciate your self-doubt for just trying to have your back as misguided as it may be.
Write It Out
One of my favorite things to do is write out whatever misguided belief I might be thinking.
Currently one of my big ones is “I can’t possibly pass this test”. A little background, I’m studying for my project management certification, and the test is a doozy to put it mildly. Apparently, only like 60% of testers pass it the first time and it costs $275 to retake the test on top of the original $555. There’s a lot riding on just passing it the first time.
And of course, my self-doubt has popped up at the most inconvenient times like when I’m actively trying to study.
When this happens I’ll take a break, grab a sheet of paper or my journal, and physically write out “I can’t possibly pass this test”.
Then I’ll ask myself do I know this for a fact?
Is there anything I can do to prevent this from happening and, if so, what?
Study. Quiz myself on what I’m learning. Take practice tests. Meditate.
Have I succeeded in the past at something similar?
Is this a realistic doubt?
What would I do if I actually didn’t pass?
It would suck, but I would just study more and retake it again.
Writing it down helps me from spinning out as one self-doubt multiplies into a hundred and then a thousand like fornicating bunnies until studying is the last thing on my mind and my future looks like a dystopian nightmare.
One of the best ways to stop self-doubt is logic. The next time you feel it creeping in stop self-doubt before it gets its little claws in and that pint of Ben & Jerry’s chilling in the freezer seems like the perfect solution.
But what if you can’t do anything to prevent this self-doubt from coming true?
Let it go.
I know it’s harder than it sounds, but take a page out of Reinhold Niebuhr’s book.
God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
For example, let’s say you’re caught up in a tornado of self-doubt right before you’re going to run your first marathon thinking “I’m going to get injured. I’m going to get injured”.
If you’ve done your training, stretched and foam rolled your little heart out, and did everything else you could to prepare for show time then you’ve done everything you can.
The emotional pain of continuing to doubt yourself is often much worse than what would happen if your doubt actually came true.
If I’m doubting myself about something that I can’t do anything to prevent I come up with a game plan of what to do if it does happen and I move. the. heck. on.
Sometimes in order to stop self-doubt, you need to realize it’s not serving you and let it go. Imagine all the time we’d have back in our days if we didn’t spend it doubting ourselves or being fearful about what might possibly happen.
Thinking of something bad that happened to you? Did worrying about it help prevent it or help you in any way? Yeah, I didn’t think so! Take back your time and use it to go pet some puppies.
My bonus worksheet below will take you through all these steps one-by-one!
We All Live in the Same Universe
It can be super inspiring to look at people with careers you want to emulate or an insta post of someone who has a house just like the one you’d love own one day. The flip side is that this can quickly turn counterproductive and leave you in a pile of jealousy and self-loathing.
“I’ll never be able to own a vacation home”.
“I’m never going to have a career with a flexible schedule”.
“Why can’t I be as productive as him”?
My answer is…why the heck not? Why can’t you own a vacation home, have a flexible work schedule, or be productive?
If they can do it then so can you. We all breathe the same air and live in the same universe. Now it might take more work for some to get there than others, but it’s not usually the extra work that stops people from achieving their desires. It’s their mindset.
If you spend your time thinking you can’t do something or have something then you’re right.
But ask yourself, is this self-doubt serving you? Is it making your life any better?
My guess is the answer is no. So stop self-doubt and start training your brain to think thoughts that serve you! It’s not easy, but I promise it’s worth it.
One of my favorite books on how to stop self-doubt and change your mindset is…“Mindset” by Brene Brown. I’ve read over 100 personal development books and this is on my top 10 list!
Self-doubt is not something you can just take a pill for and then, poof, it’s gone. It takes practice and diligence to learn to work with yourself in order to stop self-doubt. And unless you are one of those enlightened few (of which I definitely am not) your self-doubt will always return when you’re faced with new challenges or tough times.
Knowing how to deal with it when it inevitably pops up is how you stop self-doubt from taking control.
I hope these tips are helpful! Please share them with anyone you think might need some ammo in battling self-doubt!
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Do you have any tips on how to stop self-doubt that has worked for you? Let me know below!