5 Ways To Replace Self-Doubt With Confidence

5 Ways To Replace Self-Doubt With Confidence

“Nobody can give you wiser advice than yourself.” – Cicero

It’s common for us all to experience self-doubt at times, especially when we are feeling stressed or overwhelmed. It can hold us back and prevent us from expressing whom we really are and what we want to do because we fear of failure or rejection. Comparing ourselves to others can exacerbate self-doubt. Finding our true voice and purpose isn’t always easy. It means having to confront our own vulnerability, but this is where we can start to build our inner strength and resilience.

I spent too much time my first job, in the fashion industry, in a persistent state of fear and self-doubt. Having only just graduated from university, I was given the responsibility for totally re-branding and designing all the collections. The responsibility was enormous and the pressure intense. I started to doubt my ability to produce what was required. I often worked sixty or seventy hours a week trying to prove I could live up to the company’s expectations and climb what I believed to be the ladder of success. I never thought of the consequences on my health and wellbeing until I was overwhelmed with stress and physical and mental fatigue.

What I learnt from my experience was that I needed to change the way I responded to my self-limiting thoughts. I took a step back and allowed myself to be vulnerable, which was not an easy thing for me to do. The first thing I did was to ask for help. I then started to explore and learn how I could find ways of overcoming my self-doubt. The biggest step for me was to be realistic in acknowledging my abilities and capabilities. I was scared of admitting I couldn’t handle the huge workload. Instead I had pushed myself to do the work of 2 or 3 people and this was unsustainable.

Self-doubt and entrepreneurs

Many clients I have worked with have experienced self-doubt and the resulting negative impact it has had on them. I work with female entrepreneurs and they often feel they have to be good at so many different things to get their business started or to grow their business. They often doubt their abilities to handle all the responsibility and this can lead to them feeling stressed and overwhelmed. If left unchecked this can result in them feeling paralysed when having to make decisions.

But the good news is that Self-doubt is not always negative.

The nervous energy you feel from the stress and anxiety caused by self-doubt can work for you. If you can harness that energy in a positive way it can help you to motivate yourself and to take action. It will also help you to be more resilient.

Here are 5 ways that can help you to replace self-doubt with confidence 

1. Is your self-doubt realistic or unrealistic?

Realistic self-doubt is when you can acknowledge that you have set out to do something that is more than you feel you can achieve at the moment. That’s okay as it makes sense. By owning it you can then act on this realistic knowledge and make a decision about what action to take in order to make it more achievable. For example, perhaps you could take a course or ask an expert in that field for their help.

Unrealistic self-doubt is when you know you have got the resources and skills to achieve what you are trying to do. Change the way you respond by thinking about something you may have done similar before. It may be challenging, but you know it’s achievable with effort and commitment. In this case your initial feelings of self-doubt are likely to be untrue and there is no real reason to doubt your capability.

2. Trust yourself

If you have a decision to make you may ruminate on it too long and that just feeds your self-doubt. Self-doubt can lead to you look for reassurance from others. The best way is to trust yourself and go with your first reaction. How many times have you chosen to follow someone else’s suggestion and then realised that you should have listened to your gut instinct and gone with that. Make a decision and trust yourself that you know what’s the best course of action for you. This is a great way to build your confidence.

3. Clarify your values and what matters to you

When you decide what really matters to you and you find your purpose and meaning in life, your self-doubt will diminish. This will help you to connect to yourself and to others, and will help you manage the challenges and decisions you have to make. Ask yourself is your purpose aligned to your values and strengths?

4. Treat yourself with self-compassion

I remind myself daily to practice self-compassion. If you constantly judge yourself or are seeking to be perfect at everything you do self-doubt or your inner critic will creep in as a form of protection. Imagine how you would respond to a close friend who is struggling with the feelings of self-doubt and respond to yourself with the same words you would say to your friend. Stress experienced from self-doubt can be exhausting so take a break, spend some time with friends or just go for a walk or a run. Self-care is the number one priority and builds your confidence physically and mentally.

5. Don’t compare your accomplishments to others

Comparing yourself with others serves no purpose. Everyone is an individual and on their own journey. What matters is that you are following the path that serves you well. Are you doing what really matters to you, what works for you and is personally fulfilling? Gain confidence through doing what you love and enjoy. This is what makes you feel good about yourself and it doesn’t matter if it is different to what someone else is doing.

Let’s talk

If any of this has resonated with you and you would like to find out more about how to replace self-doubt with confidence please contact kate@finerthinking.com or call 07736 649584. Let’s talk.

‘Ask The Expert’ feature in the October 2019 issue of Psychologies Magazine

I was delighted to be asked by Ali Roff of Psychologies Magazine to be their guest coach for their ‘Ask The Expert’ feature in the October 2019 issue. Suzy Walker, Editor-in-Chief of Psychologies Magazine is passionate about the benefits of coaching and is a wonderful supporter of coaches like me who were trained by Barefoot Coaching, a leading and established training organisation, led by the inspirational Kim Morgan. Qualified Barefoot coaches  feature on Psychologies expert blogging platform Life Labs. Check out my profile here.

Click to download the full article here

Change. Opportunity or Threat?

Change is a constant and inevitable in our lives both professionally and personally and is frequently present in things that we find stressful. We tend to fear change because it threatens our need to be in control and to feel secure.

The body responds to stress with the fight or flight response which is a primitive animalistic instinctive reaction to physical threats. This was crucial in keeping our ancestors safe many thousands of years ago when they had to respond very quickly to survive. The fight or flight response took the ‘thinking’ out of the equation so that they could react immediately to physical danger.

Now change is much less physically dangerous but far more complex, constant and the consequences can be unpredictable. However we still retain our evolutionary instinct that leads us to trigger the same fight or flight response to even the slightest possibility of change, even though there is no real threat to survival.

It means that when you feel unable to cope, be whether it a perceived or imagined threat, you react the same way as if your life was threatened, rather than thinking and using all your competencies. Responding to change with a sense of fear and anxiety can undermine your resilience.

Studies have shown that people tend to react either by seeing danger or fear in change while others can see opportunity and potential and are more resilient.

If you are aware that you tend to be fearful or resistant to change then your brain can get high jacked by strong emotions and you act without thinking. This is survival mode and it is exhausting and distressing if repeated over time. It is important to learn how to develop another way to respond to change.

If you respond by seeing opportunity in change you are acting in competency mode where you have full access to your brain and its functions that allow you to make full use of your abilities, potential and make healthy decisions.

You are more likely to approach change with more:

  • Flexibility
  • Creativity
  • Organisation
  • Preparation
  • Optimism
  • Enthusiasm
  • Focus
  • Realism

The ability to respond with flexibility is essential quality of resilience and an important quality to develop.

How you can learn to see change as an opportunity not a threat.

The only difference between someone who allows the fight or flight response to keep triggering and the person who embraces the opportunities and possibilities of change is that the latter will interrupt the fight or flight response. This is a skill that requires awareness, commitment and practice but is well worth the effort.

Change can be challenging, but by taking time to assess the situation thoroughly can help you to gain clarity, confidence and motivation to make the most of the exciting possibilities change can also present.

Take time to consider your answers to these questions about the current and potential changes in your life:

  • What are your anxieties about the current changes in your life?
  • What could you lose from these changes?
  • What is it about these changes that you could be excited about?
  • What could you possibly gain from these changes?
  • Having considered these questions how do you feel now about the changes?
  • Write down your thoughts and reflections on your responses.

Between stimulus and response, there is a space.

In that space lies our freedom and our power to choose our response.

In our response lies our growth and our freedom.

Viktor E. Frank

Working with a coach can support you to explore how you could embrace change and maximise the opportunities change offers. If you would like time to think and plan with clarity and confidence then contact  kate@finerthinking.com or call 07736 649584