Self-doubt can be a crippling feeling, clipping your wings before you even begin to approach the project or issue at hand.
Generated as much through genetics as through life experience, self-doubt can be triggered by events and obstacles – but it is part of a mental process that may not bear much connection to external factors. Instead, at its worst, self-doubt is a demon that can hijack the situation, discouraging or impairing your efforts to succeed.
Everybody suffers with self-doubt from time to time, and critical reflection is a fundamental aspect of our sense of self. It is vital if we are to function within a community. So it’s neither possible nor desirable to banish self-doubt altogether – but getting it under control is essential if we’re to pursue our goals and thrive to the best of our potential.
The central principle to conquering self-doubt is objectivity.
Sitting with a pen and paper to concentrate on the concrete reality at hand and realistic outcomes in the future is a great start to revising your perception of the situation. Ask yourself what is the worst that can happen, and try to imagine the steps that you can take to prevent it – whether you decide to seek training or support, or to redefine your goals. Consider the criticism of others, but balance it carefully with your own instincts and experiences – and focus on the job at hand without dwelling on abstract fears of being judged by others.
Finally, give yourself a break. Remember, you’re only human, and it’s all a learning process. Proceed with confidence – encourage yourself to take that first difficult step – and the situation can soon look manageable from a new perspective.
Here’s a great guide by Vegas Extreme Skydiving to defeating that demon: a roadmap in eight steps to take to conquer self-doubt and get on with being the best you can you be.
So what do you think? Which step seems easier? And what else can you do to conquer self-doubt today?