Self-doubt can be debilitating. For years I have struggled with those pesky negative thoughts: “You can’t do this. You are not good enough. You are not smart enough.” It has paralyzed me from making the positive changes that I needed in my life, whether it be in my professional or personal life. But let me reassure you, this is not permanent. Just like I did, you can eliminate self-doubt, boost your confidence, and accomplish your biggest dreams.
While everyone is different and finds a wide variety of methods to help them overcome this area, here are five things that I practice that has worked wonders for me.
STOP – EVALUATE - REFRAME
When I get in my head, my thoughts start racing, and usually, these are not positive thoughts. My thoughts tend to be around concepts that I am not good enough, I am not creative enough, or business-minded enough. When this happens, I stop. I evaluate these thoughts by asking myself:
What is causing this doubt?
How am I really feeling?
What am I scared of right now?
By asking myself these questions, I can think objectively about the situation and usually discover that they are fear-based thoughts and begin on step 2, making a list of my positive attributes, accomplishments, and why I AM good enough, smart enough, and more.
MAKE A LIST OF YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND POSITIVE TRAITS
Julia Roberts said it best in the movie Pretty Woman, “The bad stuff is easier to believe. You ever notice that?” While it’s easier to believe the worst of ourselves, you can train yourself to believe in the best. Start with making a list of all the great things about you. Here are a few things on my list:
I am smart.
I run a successful business that makes a difference in other people’s lives.
I have a unique and interesting perspective on job hunting.
I have built a successful career and am talented at what I do.
These are just a few examples of what you can list. Focus on what you have done, what you do well, and what value you bring. And repeat. Often! Keep this list and build on it. Review this list every morning and add something new to it until you are able to believe it. Trust me, you are awesome. You have amazing skills and abilities that are unique and valuable!
As Dr. Seuss said, “Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!” You are not like anyone else. Your achievements are different, your failures are different, and you operate differently. Stop comparing yourself to others. This will just rob you of your joy. Be successful by focusing on what feels good for you and what works for you.
This might be one of the most important steps. Regardless of where you are in your life (or career) appreciating the good around you will help keep you present in the moment and shift your mindset to being very positive.
Every morning and evening, I jot down a few things that I am grateful for. Big or small, I write it down. This can be that I am grateful for my crazy dog, Rosko, for waking me up in his goofy way which makes me laugh. Or that I have the opportunity to work with inspiring, creative professionals. Even on the days that I am struggling, I can go back to the basics. I am grateful that I am alive, healthy, have a roof over my head, and food in my fridge. Reminding myself of these simple things are sure to change my perspective, bring me back into the present moment, and eliminate those pesky negative thoughts.
SEEK OUT POSITIVE SUPPORT
You are not an island and do you need to go about this alone. Seeking advice, guidance, and support from friends, family, and peers will help reassure you along this path. Think about people in your life who have always been your biggest cheerleader. Ones that have been there and supported you through the tough times. The ones that will challenge you, listen to you, and provide emotional support. Having a positive influence in your corner is sure to boost your confidence and remind you how awesome you are! But be careful - we all have negative nelly’s in our lives and negativity can be contagious. Avoidance is okay, but if you can’t avoid that person, remember that you can set boundaries, not engage in the negativity, and focus on the positive. It’s not easy, but going back to your affirmations list will help lift you back up.
These methods have worked for me, but find what works for you. Maybe it’s going for a walk, or talking with a friend. Maybe reading a great uplifting book or listening to an inspirational podcast will help. Whatever works for you, practice it each day and remember to be kind to yourself. Remember – you are awesome!
“Each time we face our fear, we gain strength, courage, and confidence in the doing.” - Theodore Roosevelt.