Five Ways to Overcome Self-Doubt

by Katie on January 30, 2014

“If you hear a voice within you say “you cannot paint”, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.” 
Vincent Van Gogh

Self-doubt. That demoralizing feeling that you aren’t good enough, smart enough, cool enough. Convincing you that no one will care, that you have nothing to say, that what you want doesn’t matter. That everyone will laugh and criticize. Better to throw in the towel before you even begin. Usually cropping up when you’re about to do something really big and important to you.

Sound familiar?

I have a history of underestimating myself. My default mode when faced with an uncertain endeavor usually sounds something like “I won’t be very good at that” or “someone else could do it better” or “I don’t know what I’m doing”…

I have gotten better at not listening to this doubtful voice, but it is a constant practice. I can now recognize when doubt (aka fear) is in the driver’s seat and is holding me back. I have learned that the doubtful voice will inevitably show up, but there are ways to lessen its power.

The next time you start doubting yourself, here are five ways to break out of the spiral:

Stillness: Bringing yourself back to the present moment is essential when your mind is racing. Take a deep breathe. Go for a long walk. Write. Pray. Meditate. Ask for Divine guidance. However you can be in communion, and in alignment. Getting still reduces the noise, and brings clarity. It brings you back to center. More in touch with your true power.

Remember your wins: You have undoubtedly had many wins and successes in your history. Remind yourself of all the times you’ve rocked it. Especially when you had initially doubted your abilities. Write them down, reminisce, allow yourself to think really highly of yourself—because you should.

While you’re at it, write a list of all your strengths, everything you’re amazing at. Don’t be shy—write it all down. Especially the things that come most naturally to you. The stuff you undervalue because you assume it must come just as easily to everyone else. It doesn’t—those are your gifts. That is where the magic lies.

Practice courage: You know that thing you’re scared to do? That idea that makes you simultaneously excited and terrified? Do it. Take that risk. Yes, it will scare you. You may be overcome with tons of self-doubt, and wonder what the heck you are thinking.

Do it anyway.

If you want to play big (and I know you do), then you will inevitably have to do things that scare you sometimes. Things that are way out of your comfort zone. So start to flex your courage muscle. Just like any other muscle, it will get stronger with use.

Solicit Positive Feedback: This isn’t about false praise. Or blowing smoke. Sometimes we can’t see our own greatness, and we need others to remind us of how uniquely awesome we are. People that we trust, that we love, and that love us for all of our beautiful imperfections. We often miss our own extraordinary presence because we’re too locked in our own self-doubt and feelings of unworthiness. Your loved ones see your brilliance. Let them remind you of what has always been there.

When all else fails, just dance: Music has always been my inspiration. If you’re spinning in self-doubt, put on some music that lights you up, makes you feel courageous, and gets you out of your head. Dance, rock out, let go. Whatever you need to break the self-doubt cycle and get you going.

Self-doubt is a part of life, of human existence. It informs us when we are about to do something big and in alignment with our deepest desires. See it for what it is and continue moving forward. Pretty soon you’ll be adding even more to your wins list.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Diane January 30, 2014 at 3:32 pm

Katie what a great message.


Katie January 30, 2014 at 5:37 pm

Thank you Diane. Self-doubt can be so powerful, but these tools have really helped me move though it.


rich archbold February 6, 2014 at 11:23 am

Hola, Katie!

This is great advice! As Larry Allison used to tell me, “Live fearlessly!” Take a risk. You can do it. Great job!



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