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Self-doubt can be a bitch.
It can cripple our lives and hold us back from achieving great things.
When self-doubt comes a calling, we tend to package our feelings under the low self-confidence label. That’s of course, if we even take the time to examine our feelings at all.
But it’s not always that straight forward. For example, if you are job hunting you might have some fears and self-doubts about winning and starting a new role but feel completely confident in other areas of your life.
So I thought I would take a closer look at why we tend to doubt ourselves. Taking the time to examine why we struggle with self-doubt can help us on the road to finding a solution and get us back to feeling good about ourselves.
In this post, I’ll be talking more with the why rather than the how to find a solution but rest assured each of these doubts can be worked through when they raise their not so pretty heads.
Here are some of the reasons we doubt ourselves. See if you recognize any of these within yourself.
We don’t have the required skills
We all have to start somewhere regardless of whether we are starting our first job, our twentieth job or inventing our career in a new industry. I’m sure most first time parents don’t have all the skills required for being a parent right from the start.
At different points in our lives we might not immediately have the skills we need to feel fully confident. Consequently we may start doubting ourselves.
This is completely normal and thankfully completely workable.
We don’t have the experience
Starting out with no experience can be daunting.
Not having experience can also be a double-edged sword. We have all heard the cycle of trying to get a job – you need experience but no one will give you the chance to get the experience.
Many people wouldn’t dream of travelling the world on their own but once they take the plunge and have some experience it becomes much easier.
With persistent focused action our attitude to experience and self-doubt changes.
Past mistakes particularly those big ugly ones that have lasting repercussions can have us seriously doubting ourselves.
Whether it’s bad relationship choices, unpleasant situations at work or family dramas, mistakes from our past can rattle us to the core and leave us filled with self-doubt.
They can also be major learning opportunities that help us more forward onto bigger and better things.
Past experiences can really shake our belief in ourselves.
When I was fired suddenly without justification I was shocked. The whole experience left me filled with self-doubt and insecurity which took a long time to overcome.
Someone else’s voice in our head
Have you got Mum or Dad’s voice in your head telling you – you aren’t good enough or that you are not good at certain things? Yep that will do it. This is one of the common reasons we are filled with self-doubt.
Fear we aren’t good enough
This one can eat away at our very core. For no particular reason (or often for a combination of a few things on this list) we struggle with not feeling good enough.
From personal experience, I know this fear is incredibly important to face head on. Eliminating this fear can be a massive turning point in your life.
This one is about having your own voice in your head telling you nasty, untrue stories about yourself. Nasty stuff like I’m unlovable.
The positive news here is that we can crush our self-limiting beliefs with a little work. Yes, it might be hard at times but thoroughly worth it. Once you truly know your worth the sky is the limit.
It’s a habit
I know this might sound a bit odd but doubting ourselves can become a habit.
Like any bad habit it can stick around and get ingrained into our daily lives. Thankfully like all bad habits it can also eliminated.
Who will listen to me?
This one is big when you are first starting out and particularly when you are trying to move from one industry to another or are taking on a completely different role.
If we don’t feel like an expert we may doubt our abilities and wonder why people will buy from us. This self-doubt affects a lot of people starting out in business.
What if my best work is behind me?
I somewhat naively believed that self-doubt was reserved for those of us that are starting something new and therefore struggling to find our feet. Basically I assume that once you were successful all the self-doubt faded away.
It wasn’t until I attended B School run by the super successful Marie Forleo that I realized that successful people have doubts as well. One of those is that there best work could be behind them!
Authors can feel this way when their last book was a massive bestseller and they are worried their new book won’t do as well.
Believing it’s all luck
Some people doubt their abilities even though they are hugely successful because they believe they were simply lucky.
Instead of fully appreciating their talents and gifts and the hard work that comes with success, they attribute their success to pure luck, which leaves them open to feelings of self-doubt.
This one is quite common for people who are highly successful. They believe that someone is going to come along and expose them as an imposter.
This can be bought on by people secretly believing they are a fraud, that they don’t deserve the recognition they have achieved or they are aren’t as good as everyone says they are. Hence they feel like an imposter and have a fear of being exposed.
Fear we don’t have the stamina for the long haul
Sometimes it not our ability or skills or our beliefs that we doubt, sometimes it’s the fact that we know to achieve a goal or finish a big project, we have to show up time and time again and do the work.
We may doubt that we will have the energy, courage, persistence or a combination of all three to keep going and get our big kick-ass project over the line.
Writing this post was extremely liberating for me because it made me laser focus on my own doubts. It made me realize how many of my self-doubts I have eliminated. It also highlighted a few that have changed and evolved over time.
The purpose of this post is to identify the key reasons for doubting yourself. When we feel self-doubt creeping in, it can help to drill down and identify exactly what we are feeling so that we can find a solution to a specific concern.
Which ones can you identify with?
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