13 Practical Steps for Conquering Self-Doubt

A little doubt is normal, but it shouldn't hold you back.

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Self-doubt can be debilitating for some individuals. If you’re trying to advance your career, the belief that you’re not good enough can quickly put an end to those aspirations. It can make you feel less confident about your abilities, which in turn can make you seem less trustworthy and dependable to others. If you can’t believe in yourself, will anyone else?

Sadly, self-doubt feeds a negative feedback loop, leading to a spiraling of emotions that may leave you scrambling to find a way out. To help guide you, thirteen experts from Young Entrepreneur Council share some valuable tips on how professionals can seek to conquer self-doubt, and explain why these suggestions can be so practical at helping you overcome this debilitating mental state.

1. Identify Its Root Cause

The best way to conquer self-doubt is to identify its root cause. It can be due to the lack of skills, fear of public speaking, presentation anxiety or anything else. Once you identify the cause, it’s easier to resolve the problem either by taking up a course, through practice or by doing whatever is necessary to solve the matter.

Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster

2. Visualize Yourself Succeeding

Visualization is key. This will take some practice, but it can work. Nervous about an upcoming meeting? Visualize yourself knocking it out of the park. Trying to land a big client? Visualize yourself confidently pitching your company. What you’ll find after several of these exercises is that your self-doubt fades into the background and, before you know it, you’ll be one confident individual.

Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

3. Remember That People Don’t Really Care

The best way to conquer self-doubt is to remind yourself that people don’t really care about what you do as much as you think they do. The moment you stop thinking how others will react to your actions or words, you will stop doubting yourself and be more confident in what you do.

Josh Kohlbach, Wholesale Suite

4. Be at Peace With Making Mistakes

Be at peace with making mistakes. They’re bound to happen anyway. Look up any of your idols or business heroes, from Elon Musk to Michael Jordan. They’ve all made a myriad of mistakes throughout their careers. Mistakes are natural fixtures on the path to greatness. Embrace them. Once you realize their inevitability, you become less conscious of your self-doubt and it bothers you much less.

Tyler Gallagher, Regal Assets

5. Get Busy Advancing

An idle mind produces negative thoughts. Work on your own progress without looking at others’ progress, and just compare the new you to your old you. Advance without preempting your success and advance without comparing yourself to others. Get busy and find the best routine to stay positive and productive.

Daisy Jing, Banish

6. Join a Public Speaking Club

There’s a powerful step you can take that can transform the way you feel about yourself, and that is joining a public speaking club or course. Organizations that teach public speaking specialize in helping people overcome stage fear and low self-confidence. Joining such groups and learning from them is a surefire way to overcome self-doubt and improve how you interact at work. 

Blair Williams, MemberPress

7. Remember Where You Came From

Remember where you came from and where you are now because self-doubt is absolutely normal. There are probably a hundred decisions that you have to make as a leader. Successful people carry immense pressure on a daily basis. When you lose confidence in your abilities, taking a look back assures you that you are more than capable of overcoming adversity.

Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

8. Congratulate Yourself Every Day

Congratulate yourself on something every day. Being your own biggest cheerleader can be hard to do, but taking five minutes each day to identify something you did well and to record it in a journal or notes app can be a highly effective self-affirmation practice. Concentrating on positive acts and having a place to review and remember those when doubt creeps in is a powerful tool in combating self-doubt.

Josh Awad, Flywheel Commerce

9. Remember You Are Not Alone

One simple tip when facing self-doubt is to remember that you are not alone. Everyone has a point when they don’t feel like they are doing enough or aren’t on the right career path. Try to look at your list of accomplishments, note how often your peers come to you for help, and know that no one has the right answers all the time. Self-reflection can help us grow, so don’t discount it.

Matt Bertram, EWR Digital

10. Talk to Someone Successful 

I think self-doubt is a quality that shows that an individual reflects a lot on themselves. Talk to someone who you think is “successful” or “confident.” Often, self-doubt is a consequence of believing that successful people have it all figured out. Talk to someone successful and you’ll realize they have as much self-doubt as you. Ultimately, it’ll stop having a debilitating impact on you.

Asim Rais Siddiqui, Tekrevol

11. Stop Making Excuses

Oftentimes, people rationalize the situation to fit their current emotions by making excuses. So we become adept at making a lot of excuses for why an opportunity that presents itself is not feasible. That’s the biggest culprit for not taking action. Think about all the opportunities that you’ve turned down, and make up your mind to stop making excuses.

Kelly Richardson, Infobrandz

12. Gather Evidence Proving Your Point

The key to overcoming self-doubt is to gather evidence that proves your point. It’s harder to justify your position if you don’t have facts that back up your claim. If you’re having self-doubt about a presentation or new product release, look at the data and find figures that prove your point. This information could give you the confidence you need to advance your career. 

Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

13. Accept that Some Negativity Is Natural

Learn to ignore the voice in your head that tells you about all the ways you can fail. Accept that a certain amount of negativity and self-doubt is natural. Maybe think of it like a friend or relative who’s always complaining. You don’t have to accept their view. It’s the same with your own self-doubt. Let it worry and whine, but don’t take it to heart and keep pushing forward.– Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting

These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.

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