The Self-Doubters 3-Step Guide to Banishing Self-Doubt

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I was excited for my first international speaking presentation ever and at the same time I was shaking in boots. I’d been invited to be on a panel of young entrepreneur speakers here in the Bahamas and let’s just say I kinda freaked out.

What if they think I am weird? What if they hate the presentation? Sometimes I have a hard time understanding the Bahamian dialect would they be able to understand mine?

What if my ideas were too far out there for them? Bahamians seem to be pretty conservative in their thinking.

In retrospect, I was being a little melodramatic which goes to show how crippling self-doubt can be.

Seriously, I even thought about canceling.

Maybe I’ll say that I am sick or I went back to the U.S or something.

Tip #1- Self-Doubt Can Make You Better

Then I had a big A-Ha moment, why was I letting this douchey whisper in my head bully me into quitting?

Oh no siree! I’m not leasing out space to pesky little thoughts in my mind and I sure as hell wasn’t going to let them manipulate me into cowardness.

I was going to rehearse my speech until I was blue in the face and I was going to cross all my t’s and dot all my i’s so that I could deliver the best damn presentation these young striving entrepreneurs had ever experienced in their short lives!

Or at very least, the best damn presentation I had ever experienced of myself in my own short life.

I used self-doubt as fuel and energy to propel forward. To raise my standards and expectations of myself and give it my all. 

With that mindset I delivered a show-stopping (self proclaimed, obvi ;)) presentation that derived from sweat, blood, and a splash of tears.

At the end of my speech, another  a-ha moment hit me like a ton of bricks.

I learned to lesson behind the challenge. This lesson was about me showing up despite paralyzing fear and about giving myself fully to that speech because at the end of the day, that is all I will ever be able to offer.

That’s all any of us can offer, to show up the best way possible for any scenario no matter how displeasing it may seem.

 All that the Universe ever asks for you is that you show up as powerfully as possible. It doesn’t ask that you be perfect, or that you get a standing ovation, it simply needs you to show up. 

Because when you show up you, you begin to create with the a power greater than yourself and that’s when really cool sh*t begins to happen.

The organizer ended up loooooving the presentation and days later she wrote to tell me she has been spreading her new found knowledge with friends and that her audience was incredibly moved by the speech as well. 

Heelll yeahh…

I would’ve never done it without self-doubt. Had I not used that blood-sucking energy productively the story could’ve ended up differently. Much much differently. Like me never showing up at all differently.

See?

Self-Doubt is not ALL bad. On it’s defense, it’s just trying to protect you from embarrassment and ridicule in the case you decide to not think twice about wearing leg warmers to the beach or to not check your fly before a speaking presentation in front of hundreds of people. (Which may or may not have happened to me.)

Heck,  you could self-doubt your way to the top by using it to push you to do your absolute best. 

But I believe in balance and you could potentially push yourself over the edge if you don’t have other techniques in place to help you deal with chronic self-doubt. 

Tip #2- Stop Picking Up Garbage Off the Streets

So here’s another nugget of wisdom in case you happen to be a serial self-doubter, thoughts are just energy floating around in the ether and just because your mind happens to acknowledge them doesn’t mean you have to claim them as your own.

And just because you hear them, it doesn’t mean you have to LISTEN to them.

Doing that is like picking garbage off the streets and feeling the burden of carrying it around with you forever and identifying with the trash just because you came across it. 

Umm….. no.

You are not your thoughts.

Thoughts are just… thoughtsSure they show up and try to screw with you but you decided whether to give in to their devious schemes or not. 

You always have a choice!

See it as the little devil and a little angel over your shoulder, one of them is trying to get you to do something that is flat out wrong, while the other is asking you to be courageous and holy. Which do you chose?

Tip #3 – Make Self-Doubt Lose It’s Cred

Another thing you can do, because let’s face it, self-doubt will inevitably creep into our minds again and some people, I am not saying you, but others will want to identify with whatever BS the thought is feeding and they will need all the practical tools they can get to combat nonsensical beliefs.

Here it goes.

I was watching this YouTube video from PeakYourMind and the guy hosting the video said he likes to think of negative thoughts in a funny/stupid voice because it looses it’s credibility that way.

I really dig that.

So in the case self-doubt grabs you in a chokehold and you can’t yet use it as fuel, re-think those negative thoughts a second time around or say em’ out loud but in the dumbest, cornball, voice humanly possible.

Seriously, do your best Beavis and Butthead impression-  after that it should be really hard to take those thoughts seriously. Then laugh it off. Literally laugh, you know, just to add effect.

There you have it. Your complete guide to navigating self-doubt.

Quick Recap

So whether you have to give an award winning presentation at your job, starting a new business, writing a book, pitching to investors, or going on a job interview, engrave the following on your brain:

  • Use self-doubt as fuel to do your absolute best
  • Don’t identify with the self-doubt. It’s trash on the street, remember?
  • Ridicule it, mock it, poke fun at it, take whatever means necessary to make it lose it’s cred.

Lastly, realize that self-doubt is normal and natural. Minimize it so that it doesn’t set up shop in your mind but other than than, hear it out and keep marching forward anyway.  Sometimes it just wants to be heard.

Ta da! You are now ready to go out into the world and continue the wonderful work you are doing in it.

But not so fast! First take positive action by telling me in the comments which self-doubt step resonates the most with you and how you will be using it, OR tell the rest of us about a time when you defeated self-doubt.

I’d love to hear.

Until next time,

Sol

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3 Comments

  • Jessi

    Reply Reply June 22, 2015

    I love this! I am going to try the Beavis and Butthead tip.

    • solballard

      Reply Reply June 22, 2015

      That’s an awesome tip! I loved it too when I first heard it.

  • Nadine

    Reply Reply June 22, 2015

    This came at the right time! I am working on a project for work and I have thinking that maybe I won’t be able to pull it off. I am will be using these tips to help ease the fear that keeps creeping in.

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