How to Overcome Self-doubt and Stop Feeling Stuck By Fear
Allowing self-doubt to prevent you from grabbing opportunities that come your way is an act of self-sabotage. How can you deal with self-doubt in a constructive way? How can you overcome self-doubt and stop feeling stuck by fear?
When we’re children, we believe we can do anything.
Yet somewhere on the journey to adulthood, self-doubt creeps in and we begin to question our abilities. However, there are ways to overcome self-doubt and rediscover that childlike belief.
There’s a tendency to assume that confident people never have any doubts — that they are decisive about every choice, never have regrets and always know what to do.
But that couldn’t be further from the truth. The fact is, everyone, even the most sanguine persons, second-guess themselves. As they climb their personal success ladder, almost certainly they are haunted by indecision.
Do your insecurities and fears prevent you from making decisions in your life and keep you from accomplishing your goals?
If so, you’re not alone. Let’s face it: We all suffer from insecurity and self-doubt at one time or another. No one likes to fail. It’s how we deal with the self-doubt and, indeed, the failure that makes all the difference.
Self-doubt can be a troubling and persuasive voice that holds you back.
It holds you back from seizing your opportunities. It makes getting started or finishing things harder than they need to be. Sure, it can sometimes be useful as it helps you to soberly see your current limitations or simply recognize a half-baked or bad idea. But mostly, it holds you back in life.
Self Doubt is a killer of goals and dreams. The good news is you can take steps right now to intervene and overcome it!
It’s easy to let circumstances and self-doubt sabotage your life. This article will help you conquer your self-doubt, and become a more confident person. Here are 7 ways you can become the boss of your own life and accomplish even your wildest dreams, by overcoming self-doubt.
Tip #1: Beware Of Your Inner Circle
There is a popular saying that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. While there is no scientific study to support this notion, there is a kernel of truth in the statement: Those we habitually spend time with can have a profound effect on us, whether we are aware of it or not.
No person is an island, as the saying goes, and that holds true for your life as well.
Keep the people who encourage you close and seek out their feedback on a regular basis. Distance yourself from individuals who are always pessimistic toward you, your business and your future prospects.
Having a support system is really important when you are trying to overcome self doubt.
You want to spend your time with people that will encourage you when you are down. These people will remind you of your why and will motivate you to persevere. You want to be a constant learner. Learn from those who have fallen and learn from their mistakes. Even if they are one or two steps in front of you, this will help inspire you to keep going.
Nurture your relationships with your family and friends. We need to build great relationships with other people.
Since your family and friends are the ones who have always been there for you, it will be best to create a good relationship with them. Make an effort to foster a deeper relationship with them because after all, it is from them that they draw strength and inspiration.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Whoever they are it’s worth asking.
They can be your partner, family members, friends, mentors, supervisors or even a coach. Getting advice and reassurance from others can also improve our self-confidence and keep us motivated.
Tip #2: Don't Get Stuck in The Comparison Trap
When you start focusing on other people’s accomplishments, you will see yourself as an inadequate individual. Your success is not a photocopy of someone else’s success. We are all created with different kinds of skills and talents endowed. You just need to find your path and cultivate the abilities you have.
It’s only natural to compare yourself to others; however, it will only rob you of happiness.
You need to remember that you are unique — there is no one in the world like you, so it’s absolutely futile to draw comparisons between yourself and others. You are the only one who will decide on your future. Get ready to face the challenge and believe that you can make everything possible.
Growth does not look the same for everyone. Comparing yourself to other people can trigger self-hate, and sometimes even resentment towards the other person.
A nice thing to do about this is to replace this toxic cycle of comparison with a much healthier habit. Go on and compare yourself to yourself. Track your growth over time: Not only is this a healthier habit, but it is also a great way to see a clearer picture of what you are capable of doing.
If you compare yourself to other people all too often, especially to their high-light reels that they share on social media then self-doubt can quickly creep up.
Another way to go about things is to compare yourself to yourself. To see how far you have come. To see what you’ve overcome. And to see how you’ve kept going, succeeded and grown as a human being.
It doesn’t matter if those around you appear to be in better circumstances. You don’t always know what challenges those around you face.
Instead, compare you to you. Are you doing the best you can? Are you happier, healthier and more productive than you were yesterday? Use your own life as the yardstick with which to measure success and forget what everyone else is doing. Remember, this is your life, your journey, your path.
Tip #3: Take Care of Yourself
A common way to handle self-doubt is to get angry at yourself and your lack of motion. To try to beat yourself up as a way to get yourself to move forward. That does not — in my experience help that much. Being kind and constructive when feeling self-doubt is a better choice.
When self-doubt and negative self-talk run on a constant loop, you can be left feeling drained, exhausted, and discouraged.
When this happens, do what you can to drown out the negativity and take care of yourself. Drink plenty of water, eat well, and get enough sleep. Keep your work and home life balanced, and take the time to engage in your favorite hobbies. It’s no secret that we function at our best when we take the time to care for ourselves!
One of the biggest predictors of your self-confidence is how you talk to yourself.
Over the course of your life, you will listen to yourself more than any other person — so what you say matters. Stand up to your inner bully. Replace negative thoughts about your potential with constructive thoughts about your performance.
While it’s easy to extend compassion to others, very few people are able to temper their self-criticism with self-compassion. Self-compassion is simply being kind to oneself.
Self-compassion develops emotional resilience. To become better at this, notice your own suffering, especially when it’s caused by your self-judgment or self-criticism; don’t be cold-hearted toward yourself, and remember that imperfection is a part of our shared human experience.
A sure way to waste time is by beating yourself up and choosing to feel miserable. Give yourself permission to move on.
You’re human. Things do go wrong and you’ll make mistakes. You might fail but damn, at least you tried. Don’t beat yourself up. Get up off the ground and start chasing your goals again because you deserve to love your life.
Tip #4: Start Shipping
There is one voice that is tirelessly pushing every budding leader to stop stalling and go make something happen. You may be holding back because you don’t want to be vulnerable — exposing yourself and your ideas to the world and running the risk of criticism, or failing.
Self-doubt is mental paralysis. The only cure for it is having the guts to get started.
Start with five small goals you would like to achieve and what you need to achieve them. Developing strategies will make reaching your goals a little easier. As you progress and achieve your small goals, you can add larger, long-term goals to the list. A plan will help you stay focused and grounded, making you feel a little more in control.
Goals provide direction. You can set goals for desired outcomes as well as for overcoming obstacles.
Your self-doubt may stem from a plan that no longer feels fit for purpose. Perhaps you have moved on; maybe your situation has changed, or perhaps it’s simply time to shake things up a bit. Go back to your goals and Why, and start working through how you want to get there given your current situation and knowledge.
Goals are not achieved in one giant burst of effort. They come from doing your work consistently.
When you’re working toward a big goal, a hard goal, and you’re not sure you can do it, stop thinking about the destination and simply focus on the next step. If the next step feels too big, divide it into smaller steps until you’re confident enough to move forward.
Don’t miss out by sitting on the sidelines. You can’t scale the mountain in a single jump, but you can take the next step.
In addition to adopting ambitious, long-term goals, remember to establish attainable, short-term ones. It’s easy to let doubt creep in when your big goals aren’t immediately realized. By achieving smaller goals along the way, you can constantly bask in frequent wins.
Tip #5: Face Your Fears
Once you realize that you have power within you, you can take responsibility for your life and your actions and do the scary things anyway. It all comes down to your mindset and whether you believe you are worthy of having the things in life that you want.
When your inner doubts bubble up, be quick. Don’t let them spin out of control or grow from a whisper to a stream of discouraging sentences.
Instead, talk back to that doubtful part of yourself. In your mind, say or shout something like: No, we are not going down that road again. By doing so you can disrupt the thought pattern and stop that inner self-doubter from taking over.
Fear can create a sense that a challenge is insurmountable. It often presents itself as a fight-or-flight response, which can be paralyzing.
In such a situation, ask yourself what is the worst thing that can happen. Turn your energy to fighting, instead of flying, and say yes to things you may be avoiding. Sometimes you simply need to give a thing a try to overcome the fear that holds you back.
Be honest with yourself, then sit down and make two separate lists.
First, list all of the reasons you think you can’t do the task ahead. On the second list, write down all the reasons you think you can. Writing the list out in this way creates a visual that will help you stay on track and eliminate, or at least diminish, your negative thoughts. Plus, chances are you will see far more reasons to believe you can do the task than reasons you can’t.
Do not let fear or self-doubt dictate how you lead your personal life.
Self-doubt often makes us rationalize a situation to fit our emotional state. We may be afraid to fail, afraid to look bad, afraid to take on more than we think we can handle. So we become adept at making a lot of excuses for why an opportunity that presents itself isn’t a good fit.
Tip #6: Know Your Purpose
Remembering why you got started is important because it gives you momentum. This journey will be a road of tears, sweat, confusion, and self doubt but if you honed in on what your true desires are and have found the reasons why it is so important to you, this will help you weather the storm.
Self-doubt often creeps in when we lose sight of our purpose. So take a moment to think back to why you started your journey in the first place.
Life is a journey. So it’s perfectly normal to have days when or when nothing goes right and your motivation takes a nose-dive. Having this clear sense of purpose can make it much easier for you navigate these days and move forward.
Why would you lay your reputation on the line? Why would you take a chance on that dream?
Only when you are clear about your big ‘Why’ can you find the courage needed to step through your doubts and risk failing. You need to be able to find a clear and compelling answer to the question “For the sake of what am I willing to be brave?”
When you know what you stand for and what is important to you, it becomes easier to make decisions that are aligned with your values, with what matters to you.
Self-doubt cripples our ability to make important decisions — knowing yourself and living your values is one of the best antidotes to self-doubt. Values help you understand the driving forces for your thoughts, emotions, and actions. When you live according to your values, you will be more equipped to respond to situations with more confidence and clarity.
Some of us had a deep sense of mission and purpose at one point when life was less complicated, but life happened and we lost that sense.
Or it could be that we have never explored our purpose and mission because we have been busy living a life of duty and obedience to everyone’s expectation of us. I believe that reconnecting to our deepest mission and purpose will give us meaning and a driving force behind what we do that can make us virtually unstoppable.
Tip #7: Call Out Your Inner Critic
Sometimes the longer we feel stuck in a situation or emotion, the harder it is for us to come out. Just take a moment to relax and shift your focus to something totally different. By doing so, it can allow us to clear out mind and look at things from a new and fresh perspective.
Remind yourself of prior successes. Give yourself full credit for your triumphs.
When the uncertainty inevitably hits, instead of dwelling on negatives, reflect on what went right and recent achievements — with each accomplishment being another step along the path toward reaching bigger goals.
Our inner critic lives within our subconscious which changes our behavior and shapes our thoughts and feelings.
When your mind tells you you cannot do something, your behavior will follow suit. This is why we have to call out our inner critic. Being able to recognize your subconscious thoughts will take time and practice. In your journal, it is a good idea to keep a log of your defeatist thoughts and feelings.
Think about a time when you have been anxious about something in the future, or doubtful of how things would go. Did you make it through?
This information is golden to help you conquer self-doubt in the present moment. Think about the times when you experienced doubt and pushed through anyway. Remind yourself that you have done it before, and you can certainly do it again. All you have to do is actually do it!
It can be hard to separate yourself from bad experiences. You might do everything exactly right and yet sometimes things simply don’t work out.
Remind yourself of that when you begin to doubt your abilities. And it’s important to take a step back and remember that you’re not the center of the universe. Other people have their goals and achievements, troubles and interpretations of situations.
Self-doubt can hurt you both personally and professionally, making you may feel inadequate, overwhelmed, and insecure when it creeps in. But the bottom line is that it is your own personal battle.
People who are afraid to fail never move forward or grow, personally and professionally.
The more you push yourself, the more you’ll realize what you are capable of. Eventually, you may even be able to reverse the negative effects of self-doubt and use it to challenge your limitations and achieve greatness.
Self-doubt is a human response to all the challenges life throws your way. Even still, it doesn’t have to stop you from overcoming obstacles and reaching your goals.
It’s common and normal to doubt ourselves, but you need to understand that staying stuck and panicking for too long won’t do you any good. Try to get out of the loop as soon as you can and spend time on improving yourself. Self-doubt doesn’t have to hold you back.
I don’t know how to say this without sounding cheesy, but you are good enough.
If you’re not doing the things that scare you simply because of fear, it’s not a good enough excuse. I don’t want to see you sitting around, feeling stuck because you’re scared of making that big leap into the thing that could truly bring you joy. I want you to start taking those baby steps and make it happen someday, rather than never.
Be as kind to yourself as you would be to your best friend because, in the end, you are the driver of your life. So be and do all the things that you feel are you called to do. Life is too short to play small.
These tips are strategies for overcoming self-doubt that have worked pretty well for me. The next time you have a wobble, try them out and see which ones work best for you — you might even find that approaches suit different wobbles. If you have any additional experiences or tips to share, then add them in the comments below, I’d love to hear them!