We are so often our own harshest critic, but imagine what we could achieve if we broke free of our internal uncertainties. Having the courage to believe in yourself is extremely powerful.
When it comes to fulfilling our potential, there are a few things that can get in the way. The biggest obstacle (and the one you have most control over) is self-doubt. This takes hold when that voice inside you says, “I can’t do this.” It takes hold when you think: “I’m not smart/good/talented enough.”
Sometimes self-doubt disguises itself as procrastination, over-planning or perfectionism. However it shows up, one thing’s for sure – it’s holding you back. Here’s a guide to how you can take back control.
Identify your big dream
When self-doubt has been in your life for so long, it can be difficult to even know what your big dream is. We rarely take the time to sit down and really give it some thought.
If I could do anything with my career/life, what would it be?
If I knew I could not fail, what would I do?
Write down your responses and visualise what your life would look like if you made all your dreams come true.
Figure out what behaviours are holding you back
It’s time to get really honest with yourself. Think about the way you approach your big dream and what self-doubt behaviours are stopping you from moving forward. See if you recognise any of these:
Procrastination – Maybe every time you sit down to start that novel, you suddenly find yourself scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter… then Facebook again (you know, in case you missed something).
Over-planning – We’re big fans of preparation, but there comes a point when you have to stop planning and start doing. Often self-doubt will tell us we have to sort every step meticulously before starting – but this isn’t true.
Perfectionism – Not telling the world about your big dream because it isn’t “ready yet”, or waiting to start until the time is “right” is most likely your self-doubt piping up.
Become a questioner
Every time a negative thought creeps in, question it. If your inner critic tells you you’re not good enough, talk back. A simple “Who says?” can be enough.
Create an inner cheerleader
We all have an inner critic, but how many of us have an inner cheerleader? Create a voice that cheers you on, tells you “You can do it!”, and treats you like a friend. Studies show self-compassion links to positive mental health (including reduced anxiety and greater life satisfaction), so consider it an act of self-care.
Connect with like-minded souls
Surround yourself with people who lift you up and inspire you. According to Dr John Kounis, professor of psychology and brain science at Drexel University, Philadelphia, our neural connections actually change when we spend time with other people, so make sure they are changing in a positive way.
Sometimes we need a little encouragement to get started. Find inspiration through books, podcasts, or even a life coach. It may sound simple, but sometimes reading the right book (or, magazine article… just sayin’) is all you need to get inspired to start.
Just do it
Being brave, feeling the fear and doing it anyway, is often the hardest, but quickest, way to silence self-doubt. Remember that the fear comes from your mind trying to protect itself from failure. Acknowledging that, telling the fear that you’ll be OK and that you’ve got this, will give you so much power.
If you stay true to yourself and your passions, we honestly believe that you can’t go wrong. This magazine is testament to that. Our founders had a dream and they worked close to their goals and values to make it happen. This is not to say that you will definitely succeed, but know that you’ll be OK, whatever happens, because you will be following your dreams. You will be trying.
Autore: Kat Nicholls