Even the most successful entrepreneurs will have had to overcome self-doubt at some point during their business journey. Feeling self-doubt isn’t the problem; it’s a normal feeling which will crop up every now and then.
Letting self-doubt control you, make your decisions for you, and rule your life can affect your business in a negative way.
In this blog post, we’ll explore self-doubt further; addressing some of the perils along with ways you can implement some small changes to reduce and overcome it.
What Is Self-Doubt?
The dictionary defines self-doubt as…
A lack of faith in oneself : a feeling of doubt or uncertainty about one’s abilities, actions, etc.
This is a very good definition, but it doesn’t fully demonstrate the problems caused by self-doubt and not believing in yourself.
To identify the definition for you and your personal circumstances, consider the following questions…
- Where does your self-doubt come from?
- How does self-doubt affect your life and business at the moment?
- How would your life be different if you didn’t have self-doubt?
Everyone has different issues and reasons for their self-doubt. It may have stemmed from negative childhood experiences, previous let-downs/broken promises, bad relationships, or difficult life challenges and situations.
All these difficulties can have a massive impact on your self-worth and confidence. You start to doubt in your own abilities and before you know it, self-doubt starts to hinder your business growth and stops you from reaching your full potential.
There’s a lot written online about self-doubt and believe it or not, there are some benefits of having self-doubt too. This article on Fast Company shares how you can use self-doubt to your advantage.
How Self-Doubt Affects Your Life & Business
If you struggle with self-doubt on a regular basis, it’s important to understand the potential damage you’re doing to yourself if you continue to hang on to it.
Self-doubt may have affected your past and it’s now affecting your present. If you don’t take action to overcome it, it could have a detrimental affect on your future happiness and success too.
Here Are Some of The Damaging Affects of Self-Doubt
- It Crushes Your Motivation
When you don’t think you’re capable of much, and don’t trust yourself to do things right, fear can get in the way of doing anything at all…so you just stop in your tracks. This can turn into a severe lack of motivation to do more than you have to in your business. You go through the motions of doing the bare minimum, with little care or enthusiasm.
- It Causes Defeatism
If you allow self-doubt to continue, you can start to become almost morbid in your belief that you cannot experience anything good, ever be happy or have a successful business. It’s essentially an acceptance of failure.
- It Makes You Procrastinate
If you doubt you can do things just ‘right’ then you may get caught up in perfectionism, which is just a way to procrastinate. You spend lots of time *working* but never really accomplishing anything.
- It Stunts Personal Development
When you have no faith in yourself, it’s hard to even think about improving yourself through growth activities, such as reading, meditation or training. Self-doubt causes you to think there’s too much to improve; the mountain is too high to climb. Maybe you even feel like you’re a victim of your own circumstances, to the point that you couldn’t even improve yourself if you tried.
- It Stifles Your Creativity
When you don’t believe in yourself, it’s hard to get inspired to start or create anything new. Ending the self-doubt will spark the creativity you already really have.
- It Leads to Feelings of Regret
When you miss opportunities which you wanted to take, you’ll undoubtedly experience regret. Self-doubt is often internalised, which causes toxic thoughts and behaviours, such as envy or bitterness. When left unresolved, regret can lead to chronic stress and anxiety.
Self-doubt can be really damaging and these are all good reasons to start working toward overcoming it and learning to believe in yourself today.
13 Ways to Overcome Self-Doubt
1: Remember You’re Not Alone
Everyone experiences self-doubt at some point in their lives and it can be reassuring to know that you’re by no means alone in your feelings. It’s all how you react to it that matters.
Find other people in business to talk about self-doubt with by joining Facebook communities or other types of groups and forums to help feel less alone with your issues.
2: Keep a Journal
One way to overcome self-doubt is to keep a journal to help remind yourself of your accomplishments. We so rarely look back at our achievements in business but it’s really important to recognise the great things you accomplished when you ignored your doubts and came out of your comfort zone.
Write down the feelings of self-doubt you felt and how you pushed through it, along with how you felt afterwards.
It doesn’t have to be a false representation of what you’re doing, but focus on the positives of each situation and what you learned from it.
3: Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
The worst thing you can do is to make comparisons of your life to someone else’s. This only breeds more self-doubt and even jealousy.
The truth is, you have no idea what other people have gone through to be where they are, or even if they’re really being honest about their situation.
You only know the truth about your own situation.
If you’re getting caught up in these kind of feelings, which are often fuelled by perfect instagram photographs or ‘show-reel’ sharing online, then consider un-following/un-liking the accounts which make you start to doubt yourself. Filter your world.
4: Learn Gratitude
With every single event in life, there’s something to be grateful for. It might not feel like that right now but even the worst things can be turned around to be a lesson that can help you in the next situation in your life.
People who have overcome the worst things that you can imagine – bereavement, addiction, illness – all have one thing in common: their ability over time to see the positives in their past circumstances. They feel grateful to have turned something negative into something positive.
5: Set Small, Immediate Goals
One way to overcome issues with self-doubt is to experience success. Start setting small goals that allow you to experience some immediate successes in your life and business.
Depending on where you are in your journey, a success could be as small as ticking 3 things off your to-do list, or buying a new goals planner, through to more challenging things like going to a networking event, or sharing a Facebook live on your business page.
6: Surround Yourself with Positive People
Spend more time with people who make you feel good about yourself. If you don’t have those people in your life, it’s time to seek them out.
Find people via forums and groups online, or at local networking events and meetups. The important thing is to start being around positive people more frequently, as their positivity and enthusiasm will start to rub off on you.
7: Stop Worrying About What Other People Think
Fact: what other people think of you is none of your business. If you spend too much time worrying about what other people think and making up stories in your head about what they might or might not be saying about you, your self-doubt will spiral out of control.
Other people are far too busy building their business to be concerned about what you’re up to – now it’s time for you to do the same.
8: Learn to Respect Life Challenges
Everyone has obstacles and periods in their life that prevent them from experiencing full joy and push them back into feelings of self-doubt. Everyone.
The way to deal with these issues is to respect the fact that you may have something to learn or gain from the experience. Is there a lesson to be learnt? How can you find solutions?
Find a way to respect the obstacles that are put in front of you and learn from them.
9: Learn from Mistakes
Instead of beating yourself up when you make mistakes, accept what’s happened and learn from it.
Sometimes it helps to journal about the experience with a focus on what you learned and how you’ll do things differently if that situation comes up again. We all make mistakes. Learn from failure.
10: Know When to Walk Away
Choosing to give up is not failure. There may be times where you try something but it’s just not working out for you, in which case, maybe it’s time to walk away?
It may be a business choice, a relationship choice, or something else entirely. If it’s causing you too much stress and worry that cannot be overcome, it’s time to leave it and move on.
Be confident that you have stepped into your power and made the right decision for YOU.
11: It’s OK to Be Uncomfortable
One thing to realise about life is that it’s okay and totally normal to feel uncomfortable sometimes. You won’t grow if you don’t experience some discomfort.
That doesn’t mean you have to be in some kind of mental, physical, or spiritual torture; it’s just that feeling a little fearful, uncomfortable or unsure is natural.
Many successful performers still experience stage fright and backstage wobbles but they channel all that nervous excitement into their performance, giving them a natural surge of adrenaline to perform at their optimum level.
12: Assess Your Strengths and Weaknesses
One way to deal with self-doubt is to honestly figure out where your strengths and weaknesses lie. You can then develop those strengths and work on your weaknesses.
You might even realise the way to improve a weakness is to actually let someone else deal with it! For example, if you hate dealing with accounts but don’t have the skills you need to keep them up to date (and have no desire to learn them either), then it’s perfectly okay to outsource the work to a virtual assistant, bookkeeper or accountant.
There is always a way around a weakness. The strengths you possess naturally can also be improved upon with small, consistent effort.
13: Find an Accountability Partner
When you’re trying to overcome self-doubt, it can be helpful to have someone around who can offer accountability.
Your accountability partner could be a business/mindset coach, an online group, or a supportive friend/family member who has a good understanding of your business and what you’re trying to achieve.
Hiring a business coach is a great way to help build your self-image and overcome self-doubt. They will be well versed in the challenges this mindset can bring (and the common excuses people use not to take action) and will be able to support with strategies you can apply to grow your confidence…and business.
These strategies will only work if you implement them. Don’t be stuck in a life that you don’t want because self-doubt is holding you back, as this can lead to chronic stress and anxiety, or even depression.
If you really want to experience true joy in life, start to believe in yourself and your abilities! Get rid of the debilitating self-doubt you’re experiencing and start implementing some simple changes today.
Have you overcome feelings of self-doubt and if so, what worked for you? Share your experience in the comments.