Everyone suffers from time to time with a bit of self-doubt. It’s part of our natural experience as human beings. In fact, self-doubt is helpful in that it can keep you out of harm’s way (ie. when considering whether you should really jump out of an airplane – though that is an experience of a lifetime). But in most situations, doubting yourself only holds you back from what you really want.
The level of success you achieve is influenced by the level of self-doubt you allow.
Self-doubt is one of the main obstacles to living your dreams. What would you do if you were truly confident in your knowledge, skills and abilities?
Most people freeze when faced with self-doubt. Most people find excuses to do anything other than what makes them uncomfortable.
But you’re not most people.
Use these seven strategies to surpass self-doubt and reach your big dreams:
1. Understand that self-doubt is only as limiting as you allow it to be. Just because your inner critic may question you, doesn't mean you have to let it halt you. Self-doubt doesn't have to hold you back if you can learn to allow it to raise its concern, but forbid it from making decisions. You are not your thoughts.
2. Know that people are more concerned with themselves than you. Everyone around you is equally consumed with how they’re thinking, feeling and presenting themselves. Take the pressure off yourself. When you approach life from the viewpoint that we’re all figuring life out as we go, you’ll find a sense of both relief and courage.
3. Check your expectations. Self-doubt can arise from having high (and maybe even unreasonable) expectations of yourself. Create a plan that allows you to achieve your goals and meet your expectations, but in a way that allows time and space for you to minimize overwhelm.
4. Explore your fear. Ignoring what scares you will only increase your level of fear. Lean into your uncomfortability. When you let yourself explore it, you’ll learn a lot about what’s at the core of the issue. This insight can then help you take action to resolve fears for good.
5. Aim for progress, not perfection. Concentrating on continual growth or improvement is another way to move past feelings of self-doubt. Perfection doesn’t exist. If we all wait around for the perfect time, the perfect finances, the perfect opportunity, we’d never do anything noteworthy.
6. Be kind to yourself. Every one of us knows how we care for a loved one who is struggling. We listen, advise and relate with our whole hearts. We support them through their battles – both internal and external ones. But how often do we do the same for ourselves? Increase your capacity for self-compassion and learn how to talk to and treat yourself with the same love and kindness that you offer others.
7. Don’t go it alone. We aren’t born knowing how to be great at everything we want to do. We learn from and rely on other people who have been there to help us build our skills and then perfect them. This is true for everything – learning how to walk, drive a car, play a sport, complete a degree, earn a promotion, start a business, etc. Surround yourself with those who believe in you. When you’re not seeing the results you want, find a coach or mentor to help you effectively navigate where you want to go.
Dealing with self-doubt is a normal part of the human experience. You must choose whether you’ll allow it to control you, or whether you’ll take control to finally live the life of your dreams.
The goal is not to fully eliminate self-doubt, though these strategies will likely minimize it significantly. The real goal is to learn how to manage negative thoughts and feelings so that they don’t stop you from taking bold action toward your dreams.
Learning how to master self-doubt will help you skyrocket to success – however you define it. More than ever, the world really needs your gifts, your talents and your authentic voice. Start using these tips today and watch your success soar!