Everyone feels self doubt at times. But it’s when self doubt stops you from moving forward that it becomes a problem. Procrastination often goes hand in hand with self doubt and the more we overthink it, the worse it gets. So how do you overcome self doubt?
The trick is to acknowledge self doubt but do what you fear anyway. This may sound easier said than done but research has shown repreatedly that our anticipation of an event is often far worse than the actual event.
How many times have you freaked yourself out worrying about something only to find that it wasn’t nearly as bad as you’d predicted? The worst case scenario is usually far less awful than we expect.
So, what you need to do is remind yourself that you are engaging in unhelpful thinking. Namely:
Catastrophising – imagining the worsr case scenario
Predicting the future – no one knows for sure what might happen so try to keep an open mind . I often say to myself “I will cross that bridge when I get to it” when I find myself thinking “What if?” There’s no point in torturing yourself ahead of time. Stop it.
Ask yourself four questions:
What’s the best that could happen?
What’s the worst that could happen?
What’s most like to happen?
What could I do to cope if the worst does happen?
Sometimes it can help to briefly go through the worst case scenario and find ways that you could cope if it did happen. This visualisation process can help you to problem solve and find solutions. There is a difference between catastrophising and predicting the future and being solution focused about possible future problems. When you engage in problem solving it empowers you and gives you a psychological boost. You are far more capable and competent than you think you are or give yourself credit for.
The worst thing you can do is give in to the self doubt. This will reinforce your negative thoughts and emotions. Push through it and don’t allow it to overrule what you need to do. If we all waited till we felt 100% sure, no one would get anything done. Others may seem to be full of confidence but the truth is many people know how to hide their anxiety.
Focus on your strengths, minimise your weaknesses. Just think back to all the triumphs you have already achieved. When you focus on your strengths you will decrease self doubt. It’s all about focus.
Self doubt is a state of mind – even if you feel it, it doesn’t mean you can’t do the task at hand. Learning to detach from the self doubt is the best way to manage it. Feel the fear and do it anyway.