Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy. ~ Norman Vincent Peale
Let’s be honest, almost everyone has serious moments of:
I’ve bitten off more than I can chew.
I’m just not capable of pulling this off. Or worse, I’m a useless, colossal failure.
Feeling inadequate, insecure and lost at sea can seriously sabotage every area of your life.
It can feel like you’ve fallen behind everyone else.
And when you look around at your friends, or colleagues it might look as though it’s true. You’re far behind others who are doing the things you want to do, and thought you would be doing by now.
In fact maybe they’re living the life you’ve imagined for yourself, and you’re caught up in the pattern of self-doubt that plagues us all from time to time.
I know it plagues me.
These last few weeks on my sabbatical I found myself wondering whether it was time for me to give up what I do because I’m just not really that good at it.
At the same time I knew these feeling are often temporary, as so many of our negative thoughts about ourself are, so I turned to some little tricks of mind that I knew from past experience could have a huge impact on reality.
I share this in the hope that if you’re in your own personal battle with self-doubt or lack of confidence it might help you too.
1. Don’t second guess yourself
Do all that you need to do to make a good decision, then make it.
I had to make a few tough decisions this past few months and then had to continue to believe they were the best decisions I could make. Because at the time they really were the best I could do.
If you consistently review deals and decision and begin thinking you could have done better, or you go over and over conversations in your mind with the thought that you could have made your thoughts more clear…it only leads to dissatisfaction, self-doubt and self-criticism.
Life’s richness doesn’t consist of not making mistakes, or never taking the wrong path but of growing stronger from each decision made, good or bad. This is where you discover the magic of life.
2. Accept discomfort
Being comfortable doesn’t mean we’re always going to be happy. Sitting in your comfort zone isn’t really living, it’s settling. And you were created to live, not settle.
Comfort is a siren call that can lead you to merely exist through life instead of being out there, learning and growing and experiencing all the joys and heartaches that come with a life well lived.
I knew I needed a little push. I was complacent in my self-doubt, settling for doing nothing, because I was comfortable doubting myself. I might not have liked it, but it was familiar.
3. When to push and when to relax
We all need to push sometimes because in those, hopefully not too frequent places of struggle, exciting things happen.
But paradoxically it doesn’t do you any good to push too hard for too long. According to Herbert Benson of The Breakout Principle, this is counter-productive and we end up anxious and probably filled with more self-doubt than ever.
The trick is to stop before you get to that point, and by turning to some soothing activity, be it exercise, meditation, a walk in the woods, or whatever you find relaxes you most, you start a chemical reaction that leads to new insights and a more creative performance.
So pushing to a point, then relaxing does the trick. This is it in a nutshell:
1. Push yourself to focus on the challenge.
2. Stop your focus and do something that switches the mind in another direction. A massage and some herbal tea don’t hurt!
4. Imagine your end result in wonderful, technicolor detail.
5. Allow your sub-conscious to percolate and present you with some new ideas or a solution.
4. Weed out the unnecessary
I can tell you this: if you have too many plates balancing in the air you can be certain one or more will come crashing down sooner or later.
Think like Henry Thoreau who was a pretty strong, powerful role model. He was obsessed with keeping a ‘broad margin of leisure’ in his schedule. So he pared down his to do list to the essentials: thinking, writing, keeping his own company and taking care of the seeds he’d planted.
Our interests might differ somewhat, but the principle is still the same.
5. Be a good manager
I went back to managing my life by starting to say no to the things that felt like obligations.
No to the things that were eating up my energy and time, giving myself more space for what was important to me right then.
So choose one thing to put all your attention on. One thing that you’re willing to pour your energy on.
You don’t have to give up all the others, just put them on one side for now.
If you’re not sure how to choose, pick one that will have the greatest impact on the fulfilling of a desire.
Just this one step has the ability to fire up your creative juices and tamp down those traitorous self-doubts that blind you to your spiritual inner strength that have got you this far on your journey.
6. Remember the ‘being’ part of being human
Self-doubt can catch up with us all from time to time, maybe more often than we’d like to admit. And that’s okay.
We are imperfectly perfect, we are human beings, not human doings which means we are not meant to be constantly firing on all cylinders, we’re meant to take time simply to be, to rest, to recharge our batteries.
I’m still feeling a little off my game, but I took one small step at a time. Opening up my journal. Writing a line.
Such small, insignificant things, but they led me to the next small thing.
And I’m feeling better, because I took these steps. You will too.
7. Spiritually speaking
Every experience exists only as a mere possibility until you bring it into your conscious awareness. When you think of the experience you desire to have as already yours and live in your imagination as if it’s a done deal, then you are calling it into your current reality.
Change what you focus on from ‘What do I have to do’ to:
‘What’s my outcome?’ ‘What is my end result?’
It can’t be emphasized enough that the questions to be answered are: What do I want that’s most important to me? What’s the result I’m committed to getting?
This is the great secret for manifesting your desires. The same secret used by inventors, artists and sportsmen and women throughout the centuries.
Then you can do what every confident, successful person does, rise to your feet, brush off self-doubt and get moving in the direction of your dreams.
Encourage one another.
And as always, thank you for being here.