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Ways to conquer self-doubt

Last week we looked at ways to conquer fear. Tonight I would like to examine a related subject self-‘ doubt.

One of the areas that challenges entrepreneurs consistently, is that of self- doubt. Did you know that by the time you have reached adulthood, you would have heard the word no’ 50 000 times compared to just 7 000 repetitions of yes?

Self- doubt is the feeling of uncertainty regarding one or more aspects of the self, such as capability or like-ability. When self-doubt encourages introspection, it can be beneficial; however it can also negatively impact your performance. It is the latter negative impact that we will look at addressing.

While it is impossible to banish self-doubt entirely, it is possible to get it under control. Using self-knowledge and understanding, you can turn self-doubt into motivation to succeed. All that’s required is to take a few steps towards positive change:

  1. Consider the worst case scenario  Self-doubt is fuelled by catastrophic and often unrealistic predictions. Even if things do go terribly, they are unlikely to be life altering. Keeping things in perspective is crucial.
  2. Raise your self-awareness    If you can recognize the situations that trigger self-doubt, you can actively do something about them. Ask yourself what you can do to become better and, as almost anything can be learnt, seek training or support to help you succeed.
  3. Practice self-compassion.    We all struggle to temper our self-criticism with self-compassion, but being kind to yourself can help you develop emotional resilience. Recognize when you are being self-critical, replace the negativity with positivity and remember that imperfection is a part of the shared human experience.
  4. Stop seeking validation.  Seeking advice from others can be helpful. However, if you have developed the habit of continuously needing others’ opinions before making a decision, you are weakening your faith in yourself. Begin to trust what feels right for you.
  5. Keep a diary     Writing down feelings of self-doubt, followed by any evidence you have to support them, can help you see things more realistically. Although not a cure, examining the facts will help reduce your insecurities enough to enable to take action.
  6. Forget what others think.     It often feels safer to do nothing and avoid judgement, than to do something and risk criticism or failure. Worrying about others opinion of you will only hold you back from doing something positive for yourself.
  7. Follow your instinct. Spending too much time deliberating whether you should choose option a or b is a guaranteed way to nurture self-doubt. Often your first reaction will be the best, since its characteristically comes from a place of intuition rather than from the ego.
  8. Focus on the present. Whatever the challenge, telling yourself that you can’t will only distract you from your performance. By reminding yourself that all you can do is your best in the present moment, you will be able to put all your energy into the task at hand. (Thanks to Mark Babbit)

Here’s to building stronger entrepreneurs

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