Self doubt should really be an oxymoron in my opinion. I mean, strangers can doubt me all they want, but I’m all I have! Shouldn’t I believe in myself no matter what? The truth is I should – but sometimes I don’t.
As an entrepreneur, female, partner, friend – you name it, there are times I doubt that I’m enough. It’s never intentional but it sneaks in quietly and has a tendency to bring me down before I realize what’s happening. Chances are, if you’re breathing, you’ve experienced self doubt too. So what can we do about it?
Here are three quick tips I’ve found to be the best way to kill self doubt (before it gets too far):
- Pick up on the cues – the key to stopping a disease is catching it early and the same could be said for self-doubt. Learn to identify your own cues so when they start you can shift gears. The first sign for me is that I’m suddenly questioning myself and my ability to get something done. That can quickly turn into comparing myself to someone around me (physically or on social media, tv, etc.) that appears to be “getting everything done”. If left unchecked, my next step is a little bit of despair or depression because I may start with comparing myself to one person but pretty soon I’m doing it with everyone, widening the gap between where I feel I am and where I tell myself everyone else is.
- Shift focus – once I notice that I’m starting to question my abilities, I shift focus. Log off of social media, get out of your head and change your energy so that the downward spiral can stop. It’s the perfect time to go for a quick walk, mentally list the top three things you’re thankful or find a supportive family member or friend and ask them how they are doing that day. Self doubt can’t stay the focus when YOU aren’t the focus so a quick mental and physical shift makes a huge difference.
- Celebrate the small victories – If you’re still feeling down after making a move, remember your last victory (no matter how big or small) and prepare to check another off the list. It could be as small as honoring your commitment to go to the gym when you really just wanted to binge watch Netflix or launching that company you’d planned for three years. Either way, focus on what you have already accomplished. Think through how it made you feel (accomplished, powerful, in control) and then decide what one step you can take next. I keep a running tally of to do’s for myself and my business and some of the tasks are daunting – but some aren’t. On the days I am dancing with self-doubt I choose to accomplish one – even if it’s the simplest, easiest, five second task – and celebrate it. Once you feel a forward momentum you can use it to look where you’re going, not where you think you may be stuck.
Self doubt is a pretty normal part of being a human but it doesn’t mean you should welcome it in like an old friend. Learn your cues, shift your focus and celebrate those small victories. Pretty soon you’ll be back to the fierce boss babe you truly are!