Dealing with Your Doubts
Doubt, contrary to popular opinion is useful. Leaders with doubts are wiser than those with none. Doubt asks, “What could go wrong?” Self-doubt says, “I could be wrong.”
Only fools have no doubts.
Don’t feel bad if you have doubts. Confidence without doubt destroys leaders and organizations.
Confidence without doubt:
- Closes ears.
- Minimizes obstacles
- Ignores problems.
- Sets unrealistic goals.
- Knows without investigation.
- Refuses to reconsider.
- Sacrifices people for achievement.
- Takes offense at being challenged.
- Rejects options.
- Doesn’t have a track record.
Bonus: Confidence without doubt, like a two year old, wants its own way.
Confidence without doubt is:
- The result of dreaming without work.
Over-confidence believes declaring goals is the same as achieving goals.
- Listens. Leaders, who aren’t sure, search for certainty by inviting input.
- Prepares. Doubt, combined with drive to achieve, opens minds and motivates work. Doubters know noble goals aren’t magically attained. Fear that things could go wrong drives leaders to prepare for the worst while reaching for the best.
- Develops relationships. Healthy doubt welcomes, connects, and depends on competent teammates.
The tension between doubt and confidence
is solved by clinging to both at the same time.
Doubt and confidence:
- Finds solutions by saying, “I don’t know but let’s find out.”
- Believes doing the work, not dreaming, delivers results.
- Remains flexible and open to criticism or suggestion while focused on making things better. Listen and constantly ask, “What’s next?”
- Adapts and learns as it goes. Confidence, on its own, won’t adapt.
- Gets busy.
Bring your doubts to the party. Don’t bury them. Successful leaders invite doubt and confidence to dance.
How can leaders deal with their doubts?
Great post Dan- of this I have no doubt!!
🙂 … Thanks Lori
Doubt is a great risk management tool. We are only wrong in the past. In the present, we always think we a right. It’s not until time passes the we see the we were wrong in the past. In the present, it’s important to remember that, “I could be wrong.”.
Love, “In the present, we are always right.” One reason is we haven’t put feet to our “brilliant” ideas yet. I’m glad you added a nugget of insight.
Doubt gets a bad rap because it, in and of itself, has stopped so many from moving forward. In an unpredictable and unstable environment, doubt will always be part of the landscape. The challenge is to keep doubt from draining the energy from your team. Thank you for this post, Dan. -Jeff
The danger of doubt is letting it stand on it’s own. YOu are so right, doubt has been the end of many a dream.
Just the acknowledgement that doubt will always be present in unstable environments helps us feel better about our doubts. There’s nothing wrong with doubting. It suggests we have a firm grasp on reality.
Whew! Great topic Dan.
Show me a man or woman who has no doubt you have introduced me to a LIAR!!!!!!!!!! LOL
Part of the game, yin, yang! In, out, up, down, all around!
Uh, number two in D&C, without Dreams FIRST no need to worry there will be no work. Number two for me is in this order….Dream, Work, Results, Ponder, if getting closer to what I want, REPEAT, if not ADJUST. What we think about, we bring about, no exceptions.
Number 5 in C without D I like, “contempt prior to investigation”, to always give props to Herbert Spencer masterful quote found in the back of the AA Big Book! Gives the idiot doing it an insult with more teeth. And yes, sometimes I am the idiot!!!!!!!!! OUCH!!!!
C without D number 3 with no dreams, no work. Horse before the cart always works better for me. Not minimizing massive work but got to have the why first. With no fuel in the engine no one is going to put forth maximum effort. At least no one I know.
Also the concept of having two opposites going on at the same place at the same time…………try putting two ends of a magnet together. In a word, NOT.
Lights are either on or off. I am either breathing or I am not. I am either living in fear or love…..two opposites are not happening at the same time at the same point, not according to the laws of physics. Train coming down the tracks, can I go left or right? Yes, either or. can I go both directions at once? Not really sure how I see that is possible. Make a decision and DO something, anything Bueller!
Understand your point Dan, just the way you put it caused me to do a double take.
For me prayer is the balm to calm the beastly fear and doubt. Then knowing some result will occur, no doubt. Then I can examine said result and see if the behavior I have been demonstrating is one I choose to repeat. I either ultimately Trust God or I don’t. I am either believing I am following Gods Will which is gonna prevail or thinking of applying my own self will! That one, dead bang loser, for me in my experience.
We have nothing to fear but fear itself, but HOW real it seems at times. Good thing is it is only an illusion of the ego. Faulty Evidence Appearing Real.
Last thing, folks who study the human mind and consciousness say we are only operating at about 7% of our potential of our mind and consciousness. Understanding this as fully as I am able I am likely to be WAY WRONG most of the time. With 93% of the available info to make a quality decision not on the table is it any wonder I might just be wrong?????
So I just do the best I can to wear the world like loose clothing and do what I can to just be aware of wonder! You know see the world like a child might. Incurably Curious!! Got to be a pony in here someplace, you might say!!!!!!!!!!
Great thought stirring stuff Dan, thanks.
Have a great one!
SP back to being aware of the wonder, now!
Thanks for your long comment, Scott. Have a great one yourself.
It is interesting how important the balance of doubt and confidence really is. Together and in the right proportions, you have self-awareness. Too much doubt either causes inaction or breeds the bully. Both are difficult and dangerous in an organization. Thanks, Dan.
I’m glad you brought the idea of the bully to the conversation. Doubt, when it’s out of proportion, can make us belligerent. Nice add.
All too often we view doubt as a weekness. I think I should introduce my doubt to my confidence and teach them the tango. I think they would hit it off just fine.
Thanks for making me more confident about my doubt.
Love the idea of being confident about doubt. Cool! Perhaps the title of this post could have been: Being confident about doubt.
Love the post, Dan. Our dreams and doubts form a sacred relationship. They are not enemies. The work hand in hand. When I see doubt as a partner to my dream/work, it reduces anxiety and increases awareness of obstacles — whether they be tangible or a limiting belief on my part. Either way progress can now be made.
Beautifully said. Fighting against doubt is fighting the wrong battle. The fight is bringing doubt and dream together. In this case, it doesn’t feel like rejecting something that’s true. It feels like acknowledging what is and working with it.
Just so long as you don’t make “perfect the enemy good”. That can lead a never ending search for the “best” answer.
Doubt carries a negative connotation. We have all heard of doubting Thomas in the Bible. He had to see and touch before he would believe. We all have our doubts about things….similar to how we may all have butterflies before an event or speaking engagement. The most important thing is not the doubt but how we can overcome it. There are many ways: faith, training, knowledge, work ethic, persistence, support network, etc. Doubt is a part of life. We cannot let it hold us back from reaching our dreams, goals and desires.
This post was absolutely amazing! This gave me so much insight on doubt and confidence together. I always considered doubt to be something that you wouldn’t want to have, but the way that you explained it helped me to change that theory. Wonderful topic!
Great post Dan. Until recently I had always considered doubt as the enemy of success. Lately I have had experiences where doubt, and a drop in confidence, have been the pre-cursor to achieving amazing results. Now I believe both confidence and doubt help to maintain balance. Doubt serves confidence by keeping arrogance in check. Confidence serves doubt by focusing on what’s possible. Thank you for sharing your insights.
“If a person will begin with certainties, he will end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he will end in certainties.” – Sir Francis Bacon