Self doubt is something that comes up all too often in my coaching.
Regardless of the circumstances, we’re all really feeling a lot of self doubt!
I created this guide for you so you can understand what’s really going on with self doubt and what you can do about it to move forward.
Here’s exactly how you can overcome self doubt…
If you want to listen instead of read, here’s the podcast episode that goes along with this post — Self Doubt.
What Is Self Doubt?
Let’s start by getting the facts straight.
Self doubt is a thought and a feeling.
Self doubt as a thought: lacking faith in yourself.
Examples: “I don’t have what it takes to run a marathon.” “Realistically, I don’t think I can make that much money this year.” “I wasn’t good at reading growing up, so I probably don’t have what it takes to be a speed reader.” (This is a thought I recently had!)
Self doubt is also a feeling: feeling uncertain. Example: experiencing the emotion of doubt in your body.
When you feel self doubt, you won’t take a lot of action. Self doubt creates a lot of inaction. Your thoughts will seem true. You’ll have lots of evidence to back them up, and unless you coach yourself or get coaching, you may not even notice they’re thoughts at all (you’ll likely think they’re reality).
Remember, your thoughts are always a choice. They’re your choice to create and think them. You don’t have to think thoughts that doubt your abilities. It’s up to you.
Contrary to what most people think, self doubt isn’t a problem. Here’s what I mean…
Here are some more resources on emotions:
- Processing Negative Emotions (podcast)
- What To Do About Negative Emotions (blog post)
- Why Emotions Matter And How To Feel Better (podcast)
- Two Emotions I Use To Help Me Feel Better (blog post)
- Why Feelings Matter (YouTube video)
The Common Mistake Most People Make
Most people hear the voice in their head that says, “I don’t think I can write a book,” then they feel doubt, then they self sabotage by giving this story meaning.
They’ll make the thought and feeling mean something has gone wrong so they should slow down, take a break, or quit.
This is sabotaging because it’s the exact opposite of what they really want.
The truth is that they had a THOUGHT and a FEELING.
That is all.
Nothing has gone wrong.
None of it means stop, slow down, or quit.
Successful people know this.
What Successful People Do Instead
Successful people do something different.
They still have the thought and the feeling (contrary to what most people think), but they don’t make it mean anything.
Successful people still have thoughts like “I don’t know if I have what it takes”—they just don’t make it mean slow down, stop, or quit.
They bring it along for the ride.
For example, I’ve felt enormous uncertainty (aka self doubt) when taking action to uplevel my life.
Quitting practicing law
Quitting financial planning
Quitting working for my mentor
Moving to Chicago
Getting a puppy
Moving in with Steve
The self doubt was THERE.
I just didn’t make it mean something was wrong.
I did all the things I wanted to do from my prefrontal cortex. I had planned it all ahead of time.
- Future Self Letters (podcast)
- How To Write A Future Self Letter (blog post)
- Design Your Dream Year From Your Future (podcast)
- How To Write A Future Self Letter (YouTube video)
- Personal Development Master Class (free training)
The Truth: The Journey To Uplevel Your Life Doesn’t Always Feel Good
The truth is any time you go after creating a different life, it’s not going to feel good all the time.
This may sound obvious and you may be thinking, “I know that—I don’t expect to feel good all the time.”
BUT you may not be noticing it in the moment when you’re working on your goal or doing something new. You may be telling a story about your uncertainty that means “stop, slow down, or take a break.”
You have to be onto your brain. Your primitive brain is designed to keep you alive. That’s all it wants to do.
So when you do more of the same, it loves that. It knows you lived before and you’ll likely live again. When you do something new you’ve never done before, your brain goes into freak-out mode. It has no idea what to expect. It looks for what’s going wrong in an effort to protect you and keep you alive. It doesn’t know that you’re not going to die from setting goals. It just knows it’s new and unknown, and therefore, you need to proceed with caution.
If you know this, you can bring the self doubt with you without making it mean something negative.
You can create separate from the thought and feeling. You can welcome self doubt without having it sabotage your future.
It’s the lack of awareness that stops people. If you let self doubt defeat you, you won’t achieve your goals; you won’t create your dream future.
If you want to grow, you have to be open to self doubt. And this means being open to falling flat on your face and failing over and over.
Check out my related resources on goals:
- Impossible Goals (podcast)
- The Magic Of Setting Impossible Goals (blog post)
- How To Set Goals (podcast)
- Tracking Your Goal Progress (YouTube video)
- Grow You (coaching)
Don’t Let Obstacles And Failures Increase Your Self Doubt
Any time you uplevel your life, you’re going to have obstacles and failures along the way.
Again, this may sound obvious and you may say you’re “all in” for all those, but look at your life and notice what you make them mean.
For example, if I have a failure in my business such as missing a revenue goal, I make it mean that I need to dig into the numbers and funnels and see what went wrong and what I can improve on for next time.
I NEVER make it mean something about me. For you… what do you do when you have an obstacle or failure on the way to pursue your goals?
When I first started working with my 1:1 coach, I told her I was nervous because she was the “last chance” I had at figuring out love.
She was the best coach in the world and if this didn’t work, then nothing would. She quickly reminded me that there is never a last chance. If it’s not with her, it’ll be the next thing.
Join me in Grow You if you want to learn more about life coaching.
There’s never a last time. There’s always next time.
How You Can Overcome Self Doubt
It is possible to reprogram your thinking and overcome self doubt.
Here’s the process to overcome self doubt:
- Identify the thought you’re thinking that’s causing your feeling (write it down!).
- Name the feeling you’re experiencing (likely will be doubt or uncertainty).
- Tell a more supportive story about your self doubt and bring it along for the ride (don’t push it away).
- Decide whether to continue thinking the thought or not.
- Get life coaching so you don’t self sabotage (you can learn more about Grow You here).
Notice how much awareness is in this process.
It’s all awareness.
Most people hide from their doubt.
There’s no shame in self doubt!
You have to recognize this thinking, otherwise you’ll think it’s actually the truth.
At The Heart Of Self Doubt: Your Opinion Of Yourself
At the heart of self doubt is your opinion of yourself.
YOU get to decide what to tell yourself.
You don’t have to doubt yourself.
You can tell yourself you got this.
Mistakes, failures, and all.
So, what do you want to think about yourself?
For your ability to write the book, run the marathon, be a mom, buy a home in cash, make a million dollars, be a strong leader…. What do you want to think about you?
You can stop doubting yourself.
You can start being your own best friend and saying, “I know I’m going to lose the weight” despite any evidence and in the face of all the obstacles.
A Final Note!
I have mastered self confidence in some areas of my life, particularly business. There’s nothing anyone can say to rock my opinion that I’m a really good entrepreneur. I think my zone of genius is business. I don’t think any obstacle or failure would change that. It’s in my core.
There are other areas of my life where the self confidence isn’t as strong. I’m newer at having self confidence with love, for example.
What I love about this journey for me, though, is that I can see the growth. I’ve decided on purpose I can just have love.
It has nothing to do with my worthiness.
So when I doubt myself or have a low opinion of myself, I allow the feeling but then I decide what to think on purpose.
For you…. Are you plagued with a ton of self doubt? Do you have it more apparent in some areas than others? And do you want to keep thinking that way about yourself for your future? The choice is yours.
Next Up, watch the YouTube video…