How to Defeat Self-Doubt like a Leader
Self-doubt laughs when you squander your talent.
Shelves filled with books on self-confidence speak to a universal truth. We seek what we lack.
- Amplifies the volume of your inner critic.
- Magnifies the opinion and criticism of others.
- Whispers, “You don’t matter.”
- Chokes the voice of your dreams.
- Focuses on fault and failure.
- Prevents you from stretching yourself and reaching high. You can’t stand on your tippy toes when all you think about is falling.
- Gloats when you’re less than you could be.
- Minimizes your strengths.
- Stops you from speaking up.
- Keeps you playing safe when opportunities are at hand.
“Everything you will every do as a leader is based on one audacious assumption. It’s the assumption that you matter.” Kouzes and Posner
Face self-doubt with curiosity:
- What’s the worst that could happen?
- How might you prepare?
- What small step can you take today? Delay is self-doubt’s ally.
- What do you really want?
- What might you try?
- Who might know?
- How far have you come?
5 steps toward self-belief:
Rob Jolles offers a 5-step system to develop self-belief in his book, “Why People Don’t Believe You…”
#1. Commit to believing. Self-doubt will laugh, but do it anyway.
#2. Allow yourself to try – and fail. “Believing in yourself has everything to do with allowing yourself to try.” Rob Jolles
#3. Try to see yourself as others see you. One suggestion is video tape yourself while you’re in action.
#4. Balance your personal feedback. Identify two areas you performed well. Then identify two areas where you might improve and decide what you want to do.
#5. Control the negative voices. One suggestion is speak to yourself with the kindness you offer others.
Finally, Jolles writes, “When you take the five steps, don’t wait to celebrate.” He adds, “When we struggle, we aren’t starving for food; we’re starving for joy.”
How might leaders develop self-belief?
How might leaders help others develop self-belief?
Thank you Dan! The work of Brene Brown has much to contribute here as all of us at times struggle with the sense that “we are not enough.” I appreciate her new book, “Dare to Lead” and what it contributes to this conversation.
Liked the quote of Rob Jolles. “When we struggle, we aren’t starving food; we’re starving for joy.” Joy of self-satisfaction with planned achievement. Leaders come across such situations in every major task that is undertaken for the final success.
They make things happen by removing the negative thoughts as expressed by some team members and believing in the inner voice of raising above by removing the obstacles. Born leaders steer their path with lot of good positivity and out-of-box thinking by way of solutions. They are simply the crazy guys to visualise things of their choice in the wider interest and drive the people with convincing talks & throwing challenges to potential high performers.
Makes perfect sense. If you’re a leader who cares — you often think you’re not doing enough, or doing it well enough, to make everything right. The ‘gotta fail to succeed’ concept is newer to some and often competes with the “Failure is not an option.” mindset. I especially like the self-talk and treating yourself as you would someone you were coaching or mentoring.
Sometimes talking to yourself isn’t enough. I spend time learning from God in the Bible, and I ask him to give me the confidence to move forward.
Hi Dan, and thanks for a topic that dovetailed nicely in to some conversations I have been involved with over the past few days.
It seems that the role of trusted partners in our life struggles are critical to help tip the balance toward success. Someone or several people that will hear out the bad stuff and remind us of better ways to see the situation. Plus the flip side is earning the right to help others in that way. So often looking out with humility makes the most profound personal internal changes.
All the Best,
Quoting: “Try to see yourself as others see you.” What if others see you as a total screw-up? The problem could be that you don’t see yourself as negatively as others see you being …
#4 from Rob Jolles is a balanced suggestion for all of us. Regardless of wealth or position all leaders must at some time suffer pangs of self doubt. Recognizing our responsibility to evaluate our selves honestly provides the key that enables us to pave the way for the growth of those on our teams.
During my career, self-doubt has existed many, many times. One of the biggest mistakes I made was the result of not listening to my gut. I like point number 3 above about looking at yourself the way others look at you. Also, try looking at yourself the way you look at other people you respect and admire as leaders.
I always felt that one of my responsibilities as a leader was to foster self-belief by creating a confident “we’re all in this together” teamwork culture that gives people the courage to grow, to innovate, to step forward and try; creating a safety net of support, if you will. Contemporaneous celebration of accomplishment and valuable efforts are also part of this process; not waiting for annual award ceremonies, for example, to bestow recognition. Confident leaders can -must- make their confidence contagious!
Leading the leader inside the leader can be dicey.. This is practical and helpful.