“Our doubts are traitors,
and make us lose the good we oft might win,
by fearing to attempt.”
– William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure
There are few people in the world for whom doubt is never present, it is something that visits us all from time to time. Although it is not a useful way to feel, on the whole, it does have a role to play in our lives. Doubt can force us to take a look at ourselves and the way that we do things, and when overcome makes the victory and achievement a little sweeter. However, too much of the stuff and it can easily overwhelm, get in the way or significantly stunt your productivity. If you are in a moment where doubt appears to be taking control, try out some of these simple ideas.
1. Stop Them in Their Tracks
The thing about doubtful thoughts is that they don’t tend to come along one at a time. The tendency is that if you let one doubtful thought flow onto another, they can very easily and very swiftly begin to snowball. This downward spiral is no good to anyone. So, as soon as you feel the cloud of doubt looming over you, simply say ‘stop’!
Address your doubt and turn it around. No, not today thank you! This will help to break up the thought patterns that land you in a doubtful state and help you to move in a more positive direction.
It does well to reflect. Those things about yourself which you tend to doubt are rarely anomalies, the same things will niggle at you time and time again. So, when you feel it coming, sometimes it does well to remember. First of all, to remember a time when you felt this way, and how it was not a pleasing or useful state in which to get yourself. Then remember what it is you did last time to lift the funk. This will help in that moment, but also teach you how to trigger resilience in yourself.
3. One Moment at A Time
Doubt often comes to us in times of great importance. Often it is to do with a task, situation or event that we fear we might not be up to. In these intimidating times it works well to break down the situation and simply perform it one small moment at a time… without focusing to much on the ultimate goal or culmination of those small moments. Small hurdles are less intimidating than their sum… before you know it you’ll have reached and cleared the hurdle with relative ease.
4. Comparison is The Enemy Of Worth
To compare one’s self is really easy. There will always be someone out there who you perceive as being better, or happier, or more accomplished. Comparison is rarely useful as it serves either to make you feel worse that you aren’t hitting the mark, or inflated the ego against the shortcomings of another. Neither are particularly healthy. So, just do you. Focus on your goals and your achievements, as everybody’s journey is important and personal.
If your doubt is coming from concern that you may not be up to a task, that you may not be ready, then the solution is clear… get ready! I have found, from time to time, that I tend to put of preparation for a situation through fear of failure. I am avoiding addressing it. This is useless. Prepare. It may mean facing up to some anxiety, but ultimately it will see you being more successful in the end.
Self doubt, more often than not, is something that remains in our own heads. When our doubts are subject to nobody’s perspective but ours, it is easy to spiral and to convince yourself that you are not good enough. To eleviate doubt and avoid this emotional storm… confide in someone. By sharing we often find that, when these thoughts leave our mouth, they seem to have less relevance and power than the mind had given them. Add to that the kindness and perspective of a trusted friend, and you have a much healthier process for dealing with your doubt.
By Chris Thomson
Mastering doubt is one of the key skills when building resilience both inside and outside the workplace. Here are some other ways to build and boost yourself in the workplace: How to boost your Workplace Resilience
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