How to overcome self-doubt
Think of the most confident person you know. They have strong body language. They always know the right thing to say. When they enter a room, people notice. When they speak, people listen. You may think this person has never had a single insecure thought. But we all struggle with how to overcome self-doubt – including the most confident among us.
We are all human. We will not always feel confident. But it’s how we deal with those feelings that separates the goal-achievers from the just-dreamers. As Tony Robbins says, “I don’t have to get rid of the fear, I just have to dance with it.” Achievers have mastered this dance and use their self-doubt as fuel to reach higher, go faster and be stronger – and you can, too.
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Why do I doubt myself?
Self-doubt is learned. No one is born with self doubt – children typically move through the world with plenty of confidence. By the time we reach adulthood, our natural confidence has been undermined by the opinions of others and by our own experiences.
The biggest influences on our lives are the people who raised us. This can mean two parents, a single parent, grandparents or anyone else. These are the people we spend the most time with, and when we are young, we soak up their influence like a sponge. We also crave their love. We mold ourselves into what we think they want us to be in order to identify with them and earn affection.
This isn’t always a bad thing. Connection is one of the six human needs. But this craving for affection can obscure who we really are and cause us to doubt ourselves. If you grew up having to constantly prove that you’re worthy of love, or with a caretaker who planted seeds of doubt instead of lifting you up, you have your answer to the question, “Why do I doubt myself?”
If you’re wondering how to deal with self-doubt that seems to have come on suddenly, it could be the result of a specific experience. For example, if you were passed over for a promotion, you may feel less than confident not only at work but in other areas of your life. It’s important to identify and acknowledge the triggering event so you can move past it.
Wherever it comes from, self-doubt is a defense mechanism. It’s our brains protecting us – from failure, from embarrassment, from heartbreak. But it’s also driven by fear and it prevents us from achieving excellence. At Unleash the Power Within, Tony teaches that there are two kinds of fear: fear that you’re not enough and fear that you won’t be loved. The key to learning how to get rid of self-doubt is to identify and overcome these fears.
1. Identify your limiting beliefs
Our beliefs are our roadmap for life. They can take us in bold new directions, or they can cause us to feel like we’re just treading water, too scared to go after what we really want. If you’re in the “treading water” category, examining your limiting beliefs should be at the top of your list for how to overcome self-doubt. Once you identify what’s holding you back, you can change your mindset.
2. Change your self-talk
Our words create our reality – and that includes both the words we say and the words we think. Identifying your limiting beliefs is the first step – now you must fight back against them. Changing your self-talk is a powerful way to turn self-doubt into self-confidence. Stop believing everything your inner critic says. Argue with it. Eventually, your inner critic will turn into your inner champion.
3. Focus on your desires
Tony will tell you that “Life is found in the dance between your deepest desire and your greatest fear.” Discovering how to overcome self-doubt means giving more power to your desires than to your fears. When you are more afraid of what you’re going to miss out on than of any negative consequences that will come from failure, that’s when your life leaps from ordinary to extraordinary.
4. Surround yourself with support
No one masters life by themselves. Tony himself has several mentors. To learn how to overcome self-doubt and climb to the peak of achievement, you’ll need people to lift you up. Find someone who has what you want and emulate them. Practice peer elevation as well: Minimize relationships that bring negativity into your life and surround yourself with positivity and support instead.
5. Take action
Decisiveness is a sign of confidence. Leaders know that at some point, you need to stop wondering how to get rid of self-doubt and take action. Stop making excuses. Stop seeking advice from every friend and acquaintance. Start working toward real, actionable goals. It’s okay to start small. The more you achieve, the more you will build confidence and eliminate self-doubt for good.
6. Build resilience
Setbacks are a part of any transformation. If you don’t hit a wall once in a while, you’re not pushing hard enough. The difference between those who know how to overcome self-doubt and those who let it hold them back is inner strength. They see self-doubt for what it truly is: fear. This allows them to find the lessons in their failures, get up and keep going.
Self-doubt can sometimes feel like an old friend: familiar, comfortable, easy. But it isn’t the type of friend you want around. You must figure out how to overcome self-doubt and leave that bad relationship in the past so you can move forward with confidence.
Ready to eliminate self-doubt?
At Unleash the Power Within, you’ll learn the answers to questions like, “Why do I doubt myself?” and real solutions to help you let go of fear for good.