5 Powerful Ways to Answer Self-Doubt and Step into Your Greatness
The Little Engine kept saying, “I think I can,” until he climbed the steep hill. But the story is wrong.
Thinking you can is helpful, but never enough to step into your greatness.
Doubters are protectors and preventers. You don’t have to face big challenges if you’ve already concluded you’re incapable.
Self-doubt prevents imagined failure. When self-doubt rules, a dissatisfying present is better than the imagined pain of failure.
Self-doubt justifies a dissatisfying present.
5 powerful ways to answer self-doubt and step into your greatness:
#1. Be transparent with self-doubt.
“Being real is the first step to being great.” Lolly Daskal, The Leadership Gap.
Lolly writes, “Most of the people you work with doubt themselves.”
Tell someone you trust that you doubt yourself. You don’t have to tell everyone. You must tell a friend, colleague, adviser, or coach.
Confidence never results from lying to yourself.
#2. See advantages in self-doubt.
You’re out of touch with yourself and reality if you don’t have some self-doubt. Self-doubt – in small doses – is an advantage that:
- Invites self-reflection.
- Encourages vigilance.
- Increases urgency.
- Elevates energy.
- Fuels drive.
- Inspires creativity.
- Intensifies openness.
#3. Know and leverage your competence.
“Confidence doesn’t come from saying the things you can do – it comes from doing the things you know you can do.” Lolly Daskal
#4. Make a list of your accomplishments.*
Bad is stronger than good. You need to intentionally turn to your accomplishments from time to time.
Don’t make beating yourself up the national pastime.
#5. Find a ‘competent other’ when stretching your own competence.
Self-doubt prevents you from trying big things. Answer self-doubt with a ‘competent other’ – a go to person who has competencies and experience you aspire to develop.
A safety net emboldens people to reach for something that’s just out of reach.
How might leaders answer self-doubt in themselves and others?
*This post is inspired by Lolly Daskal’s new book, The Leadership Gap. I recommend it!
Follow Lolly on twitter: @LollyDaskal
Visit Lolly’s site: Lolly Daskal
I may have touched on this one before, but the quote about the first step reminded me.
In my old MBA class on leadership we talked about the Wallenda Principle, named for the circus high wire act.
The key to erasing self doubt and to ultimate success is to focus all your energies on getting to the other side. On a high wire. Or a critical business or career event.
Brad James, author The Business Zoo
Thanks Brad. Wonderful insight. It’s difficult and dangerous to look back and try to leap forward at the same time. I think self-doubt may even be a self-fulfilling prophecy. It just feels safe to live with doubt and then when we fail say, “I knew it.”
Developing confidence is one success at a time, you never know until you try. Believing in oneself develops over time, some people seem to blossom others seem to wilt. For “self- doubter’s” they need success to develop themselves, beyond that they need, Teachers, parents, “Leadership Freak”, friends to assist them whether it’s just a simple ” job well done”! Just like a child crawling, speaking, etc. being nurtured to have confidence. Sometimes we all get nurtured even if its “humble pie”.
Thanks Tim. Yes! I think Lolly’s idea of staying with your competence is important. Success is built on our competency, not our weakness.
We can’t minimize the importance of others on the journey. Watch out for the energy vampires as Jon Gordon says. Find a cheer leader!
This is such a powerful post. I see many of my clients doubting themselves, turning to me for mentoring. Thankfully I manage to turn the great majority of them around with my coaching sessions
Thanks Chris. Everyone needs a ‘with’ to make radical progress.
We all encounter self-doubt everyday as long as we are willing to be honest with ourselves. When faced with self-doubt, reach out to someone you trust who doesn’t fear your success. Try to avoid revealing self-doubt to those narcissist that work among you, because you will become their excuse for their failures.
Thanks Jim. I’m with you. There’s nothing like someone who sees and acknowledges our strengths and success to fuel our self-confidence.
I think being a newer manager, self-doubt is something that I unconsciously deal with. Am I capable? Can I do this task they ask of me successfully? Do I have something meaningful to contribute? This self-doubt definitely prevents me from trying big things. Great suggestions on how to tackle self-doubt.
Thanks Mitra. There is a scientific name for this, the Impostor Syndrome. 🙂 Everyone wonders if others will come to realize the ‘truth’ about them. 🙂