“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.”
Even when we know the answer to something, we are afraid to speak up. We constantly second-guess our actions, and make ourselves crazy as a result. Finally, the worst one of all – Although we have the resources to reach an objective, a little voice in our head just keeps telling us that we can’t do it.
Needless to say, self-doubt significantly holds us back. When we lack assurance, we prevent ourselves from progressing. Unfortunately, the solution is not as simple as snapping our fingers and zapping our nagging uncertainties away.
Here are 5 ways to stop doubting yourself:
1. Don’t get too caught up in planning every little detail.
Being organized is a great characteristic to have. However, when we become too meticulous with our planning, we get irrationally upset when something doesn’t go precisely as executed.
Once one thing goes wrong, it’s a slippery slope from there on out. We can’t help but exert that same lack of confidence toward future situations.
Maybe you planned on contributing a seemingly brilliant idea during your staff meeting. You practiced what to say beforehand, and carefully executed your words. Expecting to be praised for your valuable insight, your idea was shot down completely. Because things didn’t work out the way you hoped, you may be afraid to speak up again.
Plan, but also make sure to be adaptable and realistic. Things happen – life happens. No matter how much we try to control the outcome, we have to accept that we can’t always predict how things will pan out.
2. When you catch yourself wasting time overthinking, just hit “send.”
Have you ever stared at something for so long that you could actually feel your brain turning to mush? Personally, I overthink the wording of my emails, deleting the content multiple times before getting it just right.
Attention to detail is important. Employers stress it often, and with good reason. However, it is also critical to recognize when you are investing entirely too much time on something trivial.
Therefore, when you notice that you are overanalyzing something when you could be attending to a larger task – stop, catch yourself, and move on. You’ll be glad you did.
3. Stay inspired.
“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela.
In case you couldn’t tell, I might have a slight quote obsession.
During a particularly stressful work-related moment, I wrote this quote on a post-it and put it on my bulletin board. Whenever I got discouraged and convinced that I wasn’t going to get everything done in time, I looked at it. Cheesy? Without a doubt. Surprisingly effective? You bet.
Sometimes we just need a little extra push. It doesn’t have to be a philosophical quote, either. All those times when your mom told you how proud she was of you, and you rolled your eyes and brushed her off? Especially as we become older and increasingly independent, encouraging words from your parents can be just what you need
4. Remember that you are your own worst critic.
When we fear making a mistake, we have the tendency to worry about being judged or viewed negatively by others. The truth is, that would require others to be constantly in tune to your every move.
The truth? Nobody actually cares – at least as not as much as you think they do. Everyone is focused on their own individual obligations, and therefore do not put that much effort toward concerning themselves with what you are doing. (If they do, that’s not someone you should aim to be impressing anyway.)
While doubting ourselves already damages our self-esteem, distressing over what others think will just increase the magnitude of your worries. So don’t do it to yourself – it’s not worth it.
5. Give off an air of confidence – then trick yourself into feeling it.
Often times, our lack of abilities isn’t the real issue – it’s our lack of confidence in those abilities.
You may be quivering with fear about an upcoming interview, but don’t sell yourself short because you think you may be under-qualified.
By simply composing yourself as self-assured, you will be perceived as somebody who has faith in his or her potential.
Slowly but surely, you may even start to believe it yourself.