6 Ways to Overcome Self Doubt

Hand with “Am I Good Enough” written on the palm.

When you doubt your power, you give power to your doubt.”- Honore de Balzac

SELF DOUBT.  A monster I dealt with for years. It’s a paralyzing beast that sucks any type of creativity out of you.  It keeps you from being your best and holds you from attaining success.  We’ve all dealt with self-doubt before; I’m not the only one. And if you haven’t, just keep living, you will!

What is Self Doubt?

By definition, self-doubt is the lack of confidence in one’s own motives, abilities, and decisions. It can stem from many different things including excessive criticism as a child, low self esteem, or having self-limiting beliefs. I found that for me, it stemmed from a fear of being wrong because I was a perfectionist. And even though we have been taught that being a perfectionist is a good quality, several studies have shown that being a perfectionist is actually a fast track to unhappiness.

I can remember experiencing self doubt even as early as grade school.  For example, I remember being in the classroom and my teacher asked a question.  I immediately knew the answer but hesitated in order to recheck my answer.  But by this time, someone else had raised their hand and given their answer. Yup, the same answer I had!

Recently, I had an idea about an arrangement for a song I wanted to cover.  It was completely different from the original and totally different from any other cover I had ever heard of the song.  However, I let self-doubt talk me out of doing it.  About two months later, I watched a video of a singer I admire do a cover of the same song with a very similar arrangement of the idea I had. Don’t you hate when that happens??? I was so upset with myself.

Black and white sign on doubt.

Self-doubt causes you to miss out on great opportunities. In reality, it can be a challenge to overcome.

Sadly for some, they will never know a life without it. But that means living in fear, regret, and never seeing your dreams come true. That wasn’t an option for me and it doesn’t have to be for you either.  I’ve found some great ways to overcome self-doubt, which has helped me tremendously in reaching my goals and living a life more fulfilled.

How can I overcome It?

1. Clean House.

You must get rid of beliefs that don’t serve you and make a habit of doing this on a daily basis. Do you focus on negative things and/or failures you’ve experienced in your past? Do you focus on positive things and the successes you’ve accomplished? Psychologists have discovered that the way you remember your past determines how you feel about yourself in the present. Your actions and how well they turn out for you are impacted by what you believe. You must realize that only have the power to control how your life plays out. Only what believe and say can be manifested.

I used to be the type of person who could never take compliments. Because of ignorance, I used to think that this type of response was a form of being humble. But in reality, every time I spoke those words of denial, I subconsciously stored those words into my mind. Overtime, those words became what I really thought about myself and as a result, self-doubt set in. It became easy for me to dismiss compliments and accolades because I didn’t see those things to be true for myself.

Listen, You are not powerless! Life is not happening to you. You are deciding every bit of it by either holding on to things that don’t work for you or changing your beliefs to things that do. Either way, only what you allow to come into your life can be.

2.  Get to know who you are by knowing where you came from.

I’ve never been one who was confident with my talents and abilities. I looked at so many successful people and felt like maybe I wasn’t destined to be great because I didn’t have the confidence about myself like they did. I heard so many of them say “I always knew I would make it”. I didn’t have that viewpoint and I couldn’t understand why. This was just the lies of self-doubt and as I came to find out, it had been paralyzing me for years.

I prayed and asked God to help me with this and this is what I got…

“Who am I? Because I made you in my likeness, you are all of those things too. Get your confidence from that!” So, I made a list of the qualities of God:

– creator

-inventor

-has a way with words

-influencer

-intelligent

-loving, forgiver

-people person

-loyal

-friend

Just to a name few. By the end, I was quite impressed.  I said, “Wow God, I’m pretty awesome!”(lol)

Realize the power that God has given you. Proverbs 23:7 says “Whatever a man thinketh in his heart, so is he…”. You are held back by your own thoughts. Until your mindset about yourself changes, you will never see progress. When your thoughts become higher, you will automatically start to behave in that way. That’s how God made us.

I challenge you to take the time to learn about God and his characteristics. You were made in his likeness. Take advantage of your capabilities!

3. Be aware of your desires.

Your ideas and dreams are given to you by God in order to be manifested so that he gets glory. So, when you doubt yourself and say the things you want to do are stupid or dumb, you are really saying that God, the creator of heaven and earth, gave you a stupid idea (it’s just not true).

Buy a journal and start to write down every idea and dream you have. Then, make a plan to start doing it or manifesting it.

You have to stop ignoring your desires. I recently heard my friend Teeya Skipper say, “We love to say we’re being obedient to this big God in the sky, but we ignore our spirit”. Well newsflash, those spirits are not separate! We all come from a source so God’s spirit is your spirit. When you ignore your spirit, you are ignoring God. Self-doubt means doubting the God within you.

4. Do the work.

If you have low self esteem and devalue yourself, you will easily ignore your ideas and desires. As a result, your potential to be creative will be nonexistent. It doesn’t matter how many self help books you read or how many motivational speakers you follow on social media, nothing will happen for you until you shift your mindset. Take the time to understand the root causes of your self-doubt. Your self-doubt could be triggered by a lack of skill. Make a choice to do something about it. Get the training or help you need to move forward.

5. Stop asking for validation. 

It’s great to receive input from others. However, always needing the approval of others before making decisions is actually diminishing your trust in yourself. You will find yourself changing your ideas so much that they become someone else’s. It’s okay to take advice, but make sure you listen to yourself and follow your heart in the end. If God wanted other people’s input,he would have given them the idea.

6. Don’t talk about your plans

As much as I hate the saying, “move in silence”, it proves to be a good tactic. Research studies have shown that when we tell someone about our goal, and they acknowledge it, we are less likely to do the work that is required to achieve the goal. This is because our brain mistakes the gratification that we receive from the acknowledgement as the feeling that the goal has already been accomplished. The satisfaction we feel in the takes away the motivation for doing whatever it actually takes to make the goal happen. Derek Shivers explains the phenomenon in more detail in this video.

Self-doubt may be something you’ve struggled with for a while, but you can overcome it. What ideas and desires have you buried because of self-doubt? Is it starting a new business, obtaining a new degree, or inventing a new product? Whatever it is, use the tips above and start working on it today!

I would love to hear your thoughts about this post. Please comment below and let me know what you think! Feel free to share this post if you know someone who could benefit from it. And, if you haven’t already, sign up for the email list for more helpful post like this one. I want to help propel you forward in your journey to living a life more fulfilled.

Live Free. Inspire. Be You!

-Adrienne Dione

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Adrienne Dione

I am a mentor, speaker, and author in San Diego, California who teaches ambitious individuals all over the world how to evolve into their best selves and create their own lifestyle design.