We live in a constant state of conversation with ourselves, and if we are not aware and do not pay attention, the direction of our self-conversation can steer us to worlds far from where we want to be. Most commonly, the undercurrent of self-doubt and self-limitation leads people to a world of self-containment and stagnancy. It is a world of wishing things were different but feeling stuck and like nothing will ever change. It is a world of self-pity and self-criticism, of hopelessness and mediocrity. We don’t have to end up there – even if we are there or have been there – we can be somewhere else, somewhere we want to be – somewhere where we are fulfilled, inspired and able to do anything. It all weighs on where our thoughts take us, particularly, the thoughts we think about ourselves, our potential, our capabilities, our courage, our strength and our callings. We are all capable of training our minds to maximize our experience of life, we simply need to choose to engage the training of our thoughts, and the first place to start is with addressing thoughts associated with self-doubt.
In order to help you squash the sounds of self-doubt that keep you on the sidelines of life, playing the cautious card of comfort and of the known, I put together a simple list of seven strategies you can employ as you train your brain to look self-doubt in the eye and do that thing you want to do anyways.
7 WAYS TO START SQUASHING SELF-DOUBT RIGHT NOW:
(1) WORK FROM THE TRUTH THAT EVERYONE HAS SELF-DOUBT
When you realize that self-doubt is not unique to you, it becomes easier to depersonalize it from dominating your thought patterns. By thinking about those you admire struggling with self-doubt, you can quickly realize just how ridiculous and unfounded such limiting thoughts really are, and at the same time, you can be inspired to know that those successful, happy people you want to emulate have successfully worked through their own inner conflicts of insecurity and self-doubt. If they can learn to silence the lies of self-doubt and press on into life with confidence and courage, then you can too.
(2) IMAGINE SELF-DOUBT AS A TRAIN YOU CHOOSE TO LET PASS
Every thought we think is a suggestion, thought we sometimes confuse them to be mandates. Think about your thoughts like trains, and you are standing on a railroad platform. You, and you alone, get to decide what destination you want. You have the power to choose to let a train pass by you – and you’ll know which train to let pass by looking closely at it, for, when you do, it always tells you where it’s going and where the train will take you. Empower yourself as a passenger in control and only jump onto the trains that take you the places you want to go. Let the other trains go by and wait for the train that takes you somewhere beautiful.
(3) TAKE THE POWER BACK BY TAKING ACTION
Self-doubt causes paralysis. It suggests inadequacy and invites us to hide from the world, shrinking back into the shadows of our own overthinking, leading us to a place of a lot of talk, and not a lot of action, which, inadvertently deepens the grooves of self-doubt. Instead, break free from your place of prison by taking action. Take action and move forward, even when you feel scared, even when self-doubt is speaking more loudly than your confidence, because in doing so, you will prove to yourself that the self-doubt is weak and you are strong.
(4) LET YOUR WEAKNESS BE GOD’S STRENGTH IN YOU
When you can learn to see your self-doubt as a blessing, that’s the moment you are able to take the reigns of control back in your thought life, and you can do just that when you learn to be thankful for the humility self-doubt gives you. For me, my thought-life battles teach me that I am human, and I am weak, and it is those very facts that make me strong. I don’t have to be the one who is strong, because I am strong in God. As a child of God, my weaknesses shine His strength and I have faith that He works through my weaknesses, even weaknesses like self-doubt, to make me stronger.
(5) CREATE A GAMEPLAN FOR FOLLOW THROUGH
It’s one thing to talk about training your thoughts and having a more empowered attitude about the gift of life you have to life, and it’s a completely different thing to actually create a game plan for yourself and put it into action. Be someone who follows through on their word: do what you say you will do. Wherever you need more action and follow-through in the training of your mind, set activities for yourself to do, put them in the calendar and be proud of yourself for being a one percent better version each and every day of your self because of your commitment to personal growth.
(6) GET A CHEERLEADER IN YOUR CORNER TO HELP YOU SEE YOURSELF AS YOU REALLY ARE – NOT AS YOU HAVE CONVINCED YOURSELF YOU ARE
I have been blessed to have mentors and family members speak words of life into my mind. My husband in particular has been especially instrumental in helping me see myself as he sees me, and as God sees me, in order to help me retrain my thoughts and my own ability to see myself as I really am (as opposed to as I have convinced myself I was). If you don’t have someone speaking words of truth and life into you, and challenging you to see yourself with the beauty, blessings and bounty you have, then please consider me that person for you.
(7) START CARING MORE ABOUT CONTRIBUTION
The single most powerful way I have learned to push through self-doubt, fear and self-limiting thoughts is by focusing on my why. My why is my calling, it is what I was created for, it is my purpose in this world…if you will, it is my opportunity to make a contribution. This focus on contribution emboldens me to step out when I am nervous and it inspires me to get outside of my own head and own vanity to step outside of my comfort zone. By focusing on how much I love other people, and how motivated I am to contribute to their lives in a significant way, I am filled with courage to silence my self-doubt and rise up with unstoppable confidence.
In short, the best way to overcome self doubt is to do that which you want to do, no matter what the voice in your head says. As the great Amelia Earhart once said, “the most effective way to do it, is to do it,” and I couldn’t agree more. When it comes to self doubt, you have three options – turn the volume of it up in your mind, turn the volume down, or turn the volume off completely, which you do by taking action. Take action. Press the mute button on your self doubt. Go do that thing you intend on doing, and do it now