Self-doubt has been my best friend and my worst enemy for the longest time. As an enemy it has, at times, stopped me from doing what I dreamed of. As a friend, it has forced me to engage, stand up for my dreams, act against it or despite it, and make it to the other side.
The definition of self-doubt is the lack of confidence in oneself and one’s ability.
People often abandon their goals because of unrealistic expectations, timing, or self-doubt.
Self-doubt can stem from the messages we received early in life. It can be a tendency we were born with. It can be the product of our work or life experience. Whatever the reason, once self-doubt has taken root in our psyche, it becomes a habit.
It's up to us to work with self-doubt and overcome it. In my work with people who want to be successful without sacrificing what is important to them, I often see that once a dream begins to form, inevitably self-doubt will make a guest appearance. Its arrival signals a test to our resolve and commitment.
Self-doubt can take many forms. It speaks to us through the voices in our head, through the concerns and questions of well-meaning friends, or the lack of support from our partners. Sometimes it finds fertile ground in the direct opposition of people who do not have our well being in mind.
Unless we believe in ourselves, our goals, and our dreams, we will never muster the motivation to make it happen. It's hard to always believe in our ability to do or be everything we dream of. Even the most capable, confident, and determined people can have their dark moments.
What do these dark moments look and feel like? It’s when excitement and enthusiasm over a new project, a dream, or a new direction become curbed by the voice in our head that says sarcastically “Really? And when exactly do you think you will be doing such and such?” or “Not you dear! Maybe somebody else. Somebody who has the skills.” Or, “Come now, do you really want to go through all this trouble? It will be hard you know.” The voices keep whispering and we begin to feel uncertain.
We go to the people who are closest to us, seeking encouragement and maybe approval. It can be a wonderful and loyal friend, a partner, or a mentor. Before we have finished talking, we begin to sense that something is not right. There is silence, a slight raise of the eyebrow, a deep sigh, the body language that says: “Now, really?” They begin to tell us that what we want is unrealistic. These people exist in everyone’s life. Can you name a few?