“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.” – Suzy Kassem
Doubt. We have all had that feeling once or twice at least! Doubt is one of those things that, although unpleasant, is necessary for many ways. It is necessary for success, it is necessary for learning, it is necessary for self-awareness and emotional intelligence. However, too much doubt can send us into spirals of panic. It is the thing that helps us to get into our heads too much and to get in our own way. Indeed, too much can even land us in states of depression. If you arrive at a moment that sees doubt overwhelming you and taking control, perhaps try one or two of these techniques in order to tame it or quash it all together!
1. Comparison Kills Self Worth
We all compare ourselves to others. It happens all the time and all too easily, even if you are aware of it. Sometimes, it can’t be helped! I wish my house was as nice as that, I can’t believe they got that promotion and not me… and so on!
There will always be someone out there who you perceive as being better, or happier, or more accomplished than you. Comparison is rarely useful as it serves either to make you feel worse than you aren’t where you would like to be right now, or it inflates your ego against the apparent shortcomings of someone who is not doing as well as you. Neither is particularly healthy. So, try to just set your sights on ‘you’. Focus on your goals and your achievements, as everybody’s journey is important and personal.
2. One Thing 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 too much on the big goal at the end. Small hurdles are less intimidating than their sum… before you know it, you’ll have reached and cleared the hurdle with relative ease.
3. Stop Them at The Door
The problem with nuggets of doubt is that many tend to come at you at once. If you let one doubtful thought get to you, that thought often flows onto another, and another, until they very easily and very swiftly begin to a snowball of negativity. 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 get you stuck in a gloomy rut and help you to move in a more positive direction.
4. Be Prepared
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 off preparation for a situation through fear of failure. I am avoiding facing it. This is useless. Prepare. It may mean facing up to some uncomfortable truths and emotions, but ultimately it will see you being more successful in the end.
5. Talk to Somebody
Self-doubt, more often than not, is something that remains in our own heads. When our doubts are subject to nobody’s perspective but our own, it is easy to spiral and to convince ourselves that we aren’t good enough. To alleviate 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.
It does well to reflect. Those things about yourself which you tend to doubt are rare 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.
By Chris Thomson
*The Conscious Professional is dedicated to delivering inspiring corporate mindfulness and professional resilience training, conscious leadership coaching and workplace wellbeing services at the level of professional excellence. Thank you for following our blog.