• Janie Sterling

How to Quiet Self Doubt


Do you have a little voice inside your head that tells you that you’re not doing something right, that you’re not good enough, or that you just can’t do something? Say "hello" to self-doubt! It rears its ugly head whenever you start to think about your capabilities and the opportunities available to you, and it quickly shuts them down. Those little voices can halt your successes, but you can rid yourself of these thoughts. It is possible! And the key is to doing so is to recognize when it is self-doubt talking. Once you can recognize you own internal voice of self-doubt, the more easily you'll be able to apply these tactics to quiet it.


What is Self Doubt?


First thing's first: what is self-doubt? Self-doubt has two main ingredients: negative thoughts and lack of confidence. Mix these two together and you have self-doubt. Negative thoughts about your capabilities, skills, successes, and opportunities are the life force of self-doubt. Self-doubt is when the positive thoughts you should be having turn negative. Thinking about your wins in a positive light could be a foreign concept to you. The negativity can overtake the reasonable thoughts you have about yourself and turn them into self-doubt. This can be devastating to your outlook on life.


The Destructive Effects of Self Doubt


There are many ways that self-doubt could destroy a person’s well-being - in fact, self-doubt is probably much more destructive than you realize. But the thing is: success happens in the mind... so lack of success happens there as well. And self-doubt is a huge contributor to this negative mindset.


The negativity of self-doubt could restrict a person’s potential to not only explore their strengths, but also hinder their success and happiness in life. The belief that what they do, who they are, and how other people perceive them could be tainted in a negative way which could ultimately result in not only stagnation but also retreat or even withdrawal. These are all scary situations, but self-doubt is a scary thing. To constantly hear a voice inside your head that tells you that ‘you can’t’, ‘you’re not good enough’, or ‘what just happened isn’t real’, can be crippling, as I'm sure you can imagine (and you've maybe even experienced yourself!)


Tips for Quieting and Overcoming Self Doubt


Recognizing your negative thoughts and being aware of the negativity in your own mind is the first step to changing your perception of yourself. Once you recognize the negativity, you are then able to stop it in its tracks, and turn it into a positive. This may be difficult at first, but the more you practice this the better you will get and the more natural it will become. Then, it will become second-nature to you. You will automatically look at your capabilities, skills, successes, and opportunities in a positive way before the negative. It’s basically retraining your brains’ thought process!


My Favorite Strategy for Dealing With Self Doubt


One of the most helpful strategies for identifying and quieting self-doubt is to be aware of the ‘self-doubt voices’ inside your head. Recognizing these different voices and being conscious of where they come from is the key to overcoming self-doubt.


Here's my secret: To help you recognize your voice of self-doubt, give it a name. For me, I call my own self-doubt voice ‘Alice’ (yes, as in Alice in Wonderland). Most of the time you hear Alice say things like, ‘I don’t know how to do it’ or ‘I just can’t’ - see why I named her that?


So try this for yourself - the next time you catch yourself thinking negative, doubtful thoughts, stop them in their tracks by identifying and acknowledging them. Give your self-doubt voice a name. The more familiar you get with this voice, the easier it will be for you to recognize it, and learn to tune it out! It’s very important to recognize your own ‘Alice’ voice and catch her in the act, so then your thoughts automatically switch from ‘yes, I can’t do this’ to ‘oh yeah, I know who this is, this is Alice’. This is a great exercise for identifying other sorts of negativity in your mind. Plus, giving your negative voice a playful name can really help you determine who is talking up there so that you can get your thought-process on the right track. Thinking of your self-doubt as a separate entity that you can rid yourself of will help you recognize and separate those thoughts and empower you to overcome that hurdle.


Final Thoughts on Overcoming Self-Doubt


You can do this. You can quiet self-doubt. It is possible! (Repeat that out-loud right now if you need to!)


Self-doubt can be the thing holding you back from your potential. It is a powerful way of thinking that can have a severe impact on a person’s well-being. Being able to recognize when you are in the midst of self-doubt can be the key to changing your mindset. Being aware of the negative thoughts you are having about yourself and changing them into positive thoughts is the first step to change. Your mindset is a powerful thing. It can create the negative voices that can hold you back from success and to keep you from stepping outside of your comfort zone. But, if you can recognize when it is "Alice" talking, then you can rationalize your thoughts and change them. So, when you hear Alice telling you ‘you can’t’, ‘you aren’t good enough’, or ‘it wasn’t real’, kick her to the curb!


Need help recognizing and quieting self-doubt in your own mind? I can help! Schedule a free coaching call with me here.


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