How to fight Self-Doubt

I tweeted today that I was fighting off the “self-doubt monsters.”  I was winning, but they currently had exceptionally loud voices.  An awesome online Twitter friend, @steadyrock, asked what I was doing to fight them.  I figured a blog post was as good as a place as any to answer that question. 

Self-doubt is a very powerful feeling. The key is to combating self-doubt  is to remember it is just that,  a feeling, not a fact.  It is never appropriate in business, or in life, to base decisions off of a feeling alone.  Feelings are a part of the information gathered in making a decision, but only a part.  Self-doubt is a feeling that when allowed to run rampant, can stop you in your tracks and hold you down.  It can even cause backward movement. 

When I feel self-doubt creeping in, as I did today, I identify the feeling for what it is and go directly to what I know to be true.  Feelings, by themselves are not right or wrong, but powerful feelings can tell us lies about ourselves or that which we are pursuing.  For an example, I had an unfortunate opportunity to realize how little I knew about a particular, but very important, aspect of my business.  I felt dumb and unprepared for the road ahead, and self-doubt told me there was nothing I could do about it. 

The moment I felt those negative feelings come up, I had two choices; believe what that feeling was telling me, or question it’s truth by stepping back and assessing what I knew to be true.  I often asses the situation, as I did today, through a conversation with a friend whom I trust and has prowess in that particular area.  Today, that person happened to be my assistant because it related to our business.  If an issue dealing with parenting comes up, I have a person for that in my circle of support as well.  I talk extensively about seeking out mentors in all aspects in your life in the “Actively Create Your Own Wisdom” chapter in ONO

After a short conversation with that significant person in my life, I can give the feeling a voice and that allows me to process it through conversation.  I can then find the truth in the matter and easily come up with a move forward solution.  I acknowledge and deal with the feeling, but I separate the truth from the lie and create a solution.  It is only in the move forward solution where I feel the impact of the self-doubt begin to die down. 

If that doesn’t quiet those voices, I turn to faith.  I ask God to take care of the unknown.  My strong faith and conscious contact with God assures me that there is no feeling that can’t be overcome.  Remember to always tell yourself, when you are dealing with intense feelings, that it is inappropriate to base decisions off of them.  Find a mentor, friend or higher power and talk about it. Deescalate the feeling and the truth and solution will present itself. 

Successful people battle self doubt just like the rest of us, the difference is that they know how to overcome it.

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Marc, This was very helpful


This was very helpful to me. My husband and I own our own communications business. The work has remained steady over the past three years since we began working together. However, lately, I have found myself so focused on the next six months and the doubt that new work will come that I am not present in the now with my existing clients, children, partner and husband. I related to your posting but any other thoughts of wisdom you can share?