Self-doubt keeps your life in a holding pattern. As part of Maven 101’s March into 2020, get ready to renew and achieve in life. The future starts now; take your first step-to rid yourself of doubt.
Recognize Doubt as Doubt
The first step in getting rid of doubt is to recognize when it rears its mopey little head. You may not realize that you are “hating on” yourself until you are too far in the negative pattern. As a result, you start to believe and internalize your doubts. You envision failure. Your body and mind cause you to retreat from making strides toward your goals. However, if you recognize fear and uncertainty, you can nip it in the bud.
The When and Where
Grab a journal. We have some work to do.
Change a negative into a lasting positive by defining the when and the where. Pinpoint when you have negative thoughts and understand where these negative thoughts stem.
Note your Feelings and Words
When you realize that you are doubting yourself write down how you feel. Does it depress you? Do you feel anxiety about your task(s)? Think of the physical and emotional effects of doubt and write it down. The next time you start to have those feelings, you will begin to the positivity strategy I detail below.
Next, do this same practice, noticing the words and terminologies you use when stuck in a rut. Identify those key terms, and when you use them, write them in your journal. You will continue to take note of these feelings and words to recognize doubt before it takes over.
Note the Triggers
Once you identify the negative feelings and words, try to remember when the negativity popped into your mind. What sparked the negative thoughts and emotions? Was it a place, a memory, or a person? Just as joy is sparked, so are negative thoughts and feelings. Find that spark and extinguish it so you can continue your path to success.
For example, I identified social media as a trigger. I wondered what set me apart from all the amazing women I saw speaking and living such positively posh lives. When I failed to come up with the answer, doubt crept in, until I drove it away.
Keep reading below for how I changed my perspective.
Now that you have identified your self-doubts and what triggers them, it is time to dig deep to understand why you doubt yourself.
First, don’t beat yourself up about negative thoughts. I recall from one of my anthropology courses that as humans evolved, we developed fear and the accompanying language as a means of survival. So it stands to reason that negative thoughts can be pervasive-they have been around a long time.
However, there are ways to overcome negativity.
Analyze Your Goals
Think about a specific goal. What ideas have blocked you from achieving that goal? Now, analyze those thoughts. Are you thinking worst-case scenario? Are you afraid to fail? Worried about what people will say? Do you look at your goal as a mountain and get discouraged by the steps needed to get there?
By analyzing why you doubt yourself, you can hone in and understand if these doubts are founded or unfounded. If your blockage is based on something tangible, then your next steps are to figure out how to circumvent. Don’t have enough resources?
Break your goal into goals
For example, before I started MavenMomma, I worried about how I would come up with the capital for everything that I wanted to put into my passion. I thought, without an investor, I would not be able to kick it off. Until I decided to scale back. Launch what I could afford. Then, add on services as I started to make money.
If your doubt is unfounded; based on fear, thoughts of unworthiness then read on to “The How.”
Okay, it is time to dig deep and put the work you have done to this point into play. Now it is time to get rid of those negative thoughts by activating positivity.
Cheer for Yourself
List your own strengths and focus on what’s good to keep moving towards your goal. When you focus on the good, only good can come out of it. I find that I am most productive, creative, and high performing when I focus on my best attributes. The quality of my character makes me, not what I am lacking.
Once you start to think and act with positivity, you will attract other positive and productive individuals.
Get Rid of Haters
On the other hand, when we are experiencing self-doubt, we can attract negativity. Stay focused on goals by drowning out the nay-sayers. When I was in college, one of my friends would literally scream at haters, “get thee behind me, Satan!”
While I don’t yell this line at negatives nellies, I think it whenever I encounter haters (thanks for the inspiration Ty).
Simply thank critiques for their feedback. Then, ball up their words and toss it in the trash where it belongs.
Sometimes the act of throwing out or burning negative thoughts /comments can be cathartic. Several years ago, my leadership coach, Vanya Koonce, encouraged me to burn thoughts from naysayers to move me forward in life. I use this strategy today for myself and with my clients.
The way you perceive your goals dictates the steps you take + how you take them. So it is essential to garner and keep a healthy attitude to reach your goals. A tackle step to maintaining a healthy perspective is by breaking your goal down into smaller goals. Set benchmarks, give yourself a deadline to complete tasks toward your goal.
Celebrate the Mini-Goal!
Don't Strive for Perfection
First of all, there is no such thing as perfect. It is an illusion. Everyone makes mistakes. The trick is not to be afraid to make mistakes. I wholeheartedly believe mistakes make me better.
Remember my social media-induced doubt? When I really boiled it down, my hesitance to engage on social media had to do with wanting to be and present myself as perfect.
Once I released the burden of perfection, I posted a photo in which it was clear my home needed to be decluttered. I post the images that convey the intended message, and that does not always = perfection. It works for me.
Find what works for you and do it. Don’t worry about perfect.
Now that you have activated positivity, create a pattern of “yes, I can.” Continue to stay positive and remove what blocks your growth. Most importantly, keep on moving.