How to Overcome Self-Doubt

Everyone grapples with self-doubt once in a while, even successful business owners. A little self-doubt is not only normal, it’s healthy. It prevents a leader from crossing the fine line between self-confidence and hubris. But highly successful people don’t let self-doubt derail them from what they set out to accomplish.

Allowing self-doubt to prevent you from grabbing opportunities that come your way is an act of self-sabotage. How can you deal with self-doubt in a constructive way?

1. Avoid Making Excuses

Self-doubt often makes us rationalize a situation to fit our emotional state. We may be afraid to fail, afraid to look bad, afraid to take on more than we think we can handle. We become adept at making a lot of excuses for why an opportunity that presents itself isn’t a good fit. Think back on opportunities you turned down. What reasons did you give yourself? Where these legitimate reasons or just excuses? Excuses are mental barriers we erect that hold us back.

The enemy is our chattering brain, which, if we give it so much as a nanosecond, will start producing excuses, alibis, transparent self-justifications, and a million reasons why we can’t/shouldn’t/won’t do what we know we need to do.

Steven Pressfield, author of Do The Work! Overcome Resistance And Get Out Of Your Own Way

2. Beware of Your Close Circle

There is a popular saying that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. While there is no scientific study to support this notion, there is a kernel of truth in the statement: Those we habitually spend time with can have a profound effect on us, whether we are aware of it or not. We know from brain plasticity research that experiences reorganize neural pathways in the brain. According to Dr. John Kounios, professor of psychology and brain science at Drexel University, our neural connections change even after a 20-minute conversation! Who do you spend the most time with? What effect do they have on you? When you spend time with them, do you walk away feeling better about yourself or worse?

3. Raise Your Self-Awareness

Self-awareness is one of the most powerful personal development tools in your arsenal. Make use of it by understanding the root causes of your self-doubt. What specific situations trigger bouts of self-doubt? If it’s a lack of skill in an area, resolve to do something about it. For example, it may be a fear of delivering presentations. Or it may be anxiety at having to make cold calls. Just about anything can be learned. Go out there and get the training you need, or get a coach to help you. 

4. Practice Self-Compassion

While it’s easy to extend compassion to others, very few people are able to temper their self-criticism with self-compassion. Self-compassion is simply being kind to oneself. Stud

Self-compassion develops emotional resilience. To become better at this, Dr. Kristen Neff of the University of Texas at Austin, advises a three-step process: Notice your own suffering, especially when it’s caused by your self-judgment or self-criticism; don’t be cold-hearted toward yourself, and remember that imperfection is a part of our shared human experiences show that there is a strong correlation between self-compassion and positive mental health, such as reduced anxiety and greater life satisfaction, as well as higher self-esteem.

What ideas are buried because you distrust yourself? Perhaps you want to start a healthy fast food truck business in your city, or you have an idea for developing a an innovative solution to a problem you face; perhaps you are mulling over starting a home business or starting a day-care business that ensures happy and healthy pets. Self-doubt is mental paralysis. The only cure for it is having the guts to get started.

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