“Seriously…I can’t even believe the effort you’re making. Why are you even trying? You’re never going to be as successful as you want to be. Don’t deviate from the norm. Stick to what you know. It’s is just another project you’ll fail miserably at. Move on.”
Oh boy, there’s that self-doubt again. It always seems to creep up at the worst time, doesn’t it?
You might be thinking that this dialogue is so mean – who would say that to themselves? It’s horrible! But be honest – you opened this blog so you’ve said a variation of this to yourself. And you are right – it’s so mean!
In a perfect world, we would be our own coaches 100% of the time. We’d never feel like we didn’t measure up. We’d do everything we’ve always wanted to do and do it with grace and success.
But…a perfect world doesn’t exist! So, we talk to ourselves like we don’t like ourselves (and even if you feel like you do…you’ve probably done this in a moment of doubt.) I know you’re sick and tired of your inner critic. You wish she would just pack up her bags and get the heck out of dodge!
This behavior pattern is keeping you from being the best you can be. Whether you’ve been at your job for 10 years, you’re a second-time momma, or you’ve just started a new hobby, it’s a roadblock on your path to success.
While the self-doubt won’t go away overnight, you can start healthy habits today.
Don’t be so hard on yourself.
Yeah yeah. I know. Cliché. But it wouldn’t be cliché if it wasn’t true. Give yourself some grace. In whatever we’re working on, whether we’ve been going at it for years or we’re newbies, we are not exempt from human error.
Alexander Pope, a man regarded as one of the best poets of the 16th century, once said: “to err is human; to forgive is divine.” While he was talking about forgiving others, I think we could learn something here.
Think about it like this, what if you were as hard on someone else as you are on yourself? Pause for a moment to think about how it would be perceived. You wouldn’t tell your friend who is starting her new business, “oh, you messed up one time? You totally suck, and your business is going to flop!”
What do you think could happen if you extended the same forgiveness you give to others, to yourself?
Give yourself time.
Even professionals don’t know all that there is to know, no matter what it is they do. So if you’re a newbie, how can you expect yourself to be the bearer of all knowledge when it’s your second day on the job?
I know how it feels…you are so eager to see results right away. It’s so tempting to aspire to have it all figured out. But friend, that’s just a waste of time!
I’m not saying you shouldn’t try your best or chase your dreams. No-no-no. You should always give it your all. It just goes back to what my last point was – don’t be so hard yourself. That includes giving yourself the freedom to explore your options, try something new, stop taking the easy way out – all so you can learn something from it.
The Harvard Business Review once covered ways to master a new skill,
“’Too often, we approach a new skill with the attitude that we should nail it right out of the gate…the reality is that it takes much longer. ‘It’s not going to happen overnight. It usually takes six months or more to develop a new skill.’”
Do you hear that? It takes time to even just develop a skill, not master it. And these Harvard people usually know what they’re talking about.
Remind yourself of your why.
When you set out to start, did you do it so you’d be occupied for a few days and call it quits? Probably not. You started because something was tugging at you to venture out and follow your passions. When things get hard, remind yourself of what exactly it is that made you start in the first place.
It could be because you wanted to make a positive impact, or because you wanted to finally do something for yourself. It could have been your curiosity, or because it genuinely brought you happiness. No wrong answers here.
Write it on a sticky note and put it on your bathroom mirror. Put in in your planner every month. Write it down and make it visible. The act of writing things down is proven to seal it in our memory. Making it visible puts into practice by reaffirming ourselves with what matters.
Whatever challenge you’re facing today, know you aren’t alone. We all have carried the baggage that doubt brings. And know it gets better. Don’t let yourself be consumed with it. You are stronger than you think and more capable than you believe.
What will you find on the other side of your self-doubt?