Image Credit: Getty Images / Klaus Vedfelt
Starting over from scratch is never easy. This has been my recent existence.
I’ve entered a brand new career, industry and team. It has been a few weeks and the doubt has crept in, slowly. Will I be able to achieve anything substantial and pay homage to those who believed in me when no one else did? It’s a difficult thought to ponder.
The answer to this question determines whether I keep going or succumb to the doubt. Doubt appears when we are uncertain and let our head tell us lies which we begin to believe.
But doubt is not based on evidence. It’s a story that hasn’t played out yet and all doubt tries to do is write the ending when it has no freaking idea of the plot and events that will occur.
I haven’t given up and I am going to keep going. Doubt parked itself in my mind for a few days and now it has reversed out of my thoughts and parked itself far, far away from my hopes and dreams.
My doubt has been defeated and I want to encourage you to fight your own doubt.
We all doubt ourselves
The lie I used to believe in my early 20’s was that all these uber-successful big shots that walk out onto stages and tell us how to live our lives, never experience doubt.
They seem unstoppable and insanely confident. Yet they’re not.
How do I know? In my late 20’s, I started hanging out and making my way into the inner circles of some of these people. I got to spend time with many of them and see the severe doubt that they go through.
One such story was about a well-known self-help guy. He was on the film set of a documentary doing his thang. During one of the breaks, he escaped to the bathroom and started yelling from immense pain. He had just had shoulder surgery and was feeling the after-effects. My friend happened to walk in around the same time and here the commotion.
He asked the self-help celebrity if he was okay. His response was this:
“You got just to keep going no matter how much it hurts.”
Now if that’s not a metaphor for life, I don’t know what is. He too was doubting himself due to his many health concerns.
Moments later, the two of them appeared back on the film set and my friend said you couldn’t even tell what had just happened. He looked calm, in control and relaxed even though his insides were burning from the pain.
What was even more incredible was that after the filming, this man went on stage in front of thousands of people to deliver a speech. Again, my friend said you couldn’t tell he was doubting himself one bit.
The look of confidence can be misleading even from someone who has had that look their entire life and got good at making it look real all the time.
You’re not weak for doubting
We are afraid to admit that we are doubting ourselves out of a fear it might make us look weak. Doubt is not weak, though. It’s normal.
When you can admit that you are doubting yourself, you can control it and that brings you the strength and resilience to keep going and fight the good fight when you otherwise may have given up.
Here’s how to overcome doubt and keep going:
1. Create evidence
It’s hard to keep doubting yourself when you have evidence to suggest the opposite is true.
A tactic I use is to create evidence. During the week that I was doubting my new career, I looked at the more than $40,000 that hit my bank account in a single day and said, “Shit, you must be doing something right. You must be good at something to create that much value.”
I then looked back on my old sales pipeline from my previous job and saw all the difficult obstacles that were faced in order to work with and bring to Australia many iconic technology companies.
Those two pieces of evidence helped me squash the doubt. You can do the same in your life.
2. Keep taking action
Doubt wants you to give up or hesitate taking action.
Action slaps doubt in the face and leaves a red mark followed by a bruise. If you keep taking action, you will find ways to achieve your goal and that will bring you certainty and confidence.
The worst thing you can do is let doubt stop you in your tracks and consider the doom and gloom scenario of the future.
3. Remember how far you have come
Looking at the journey you have taken so far is also helpful.
My journey has included a near-miss with cancer, five years of writing, many broken relationships, a fear of public speaking and a crippling mental illness.
Yet, none of that has defeated me. If anything, those setbacks, illnesses and fears have helped in so many countless ways.
You have come a long way despite any worry you have experienced before, so why can’t you repeat history?
4. Be a little kinder to yourself
I know you might be doubting yourself, but you’re doing the best you can. None of this is easy yet you’re still trying and you have good intentions.
The challenge with severely doubting yourself, based on my recent experience, is that you begin to go from loving yourself to stabbing yourself in the heart and making up all sorts of assumptions and lies.
Another cure for worry is to be kinder to yourself and empathize with your thoughts instead of letting them take you down.
5. Quit trying to predict the future
When we doubt ourselves, we’re trying to predict the future and that is impossible.
We play out these scenarios in our head of what will happen when we fail, miss our sales target, write something stupid or watch a startup we founded burn into flames right before our very eyes. This is not reality, though.
Worry wants to tell you the future, and the fact is, it can’t.
The future is shaped by believing you’ll find the answers rather than being upset that you don’t currently possess those answers.
6. Whatever happens, you’ll learn and grow
Even if you worry and your worst fears come true, it’s all gravy.
The harshest of situations will teach you many lessons and you’ll grow because of it. What we worry about is the very thing that will help us to understand ourselves a little better. Worry is a secret signal for the next challenge in your life which you must overcome to look back and be proud of how far you have come.
Worry reveals to us the exact skills and scenarios we need to embrace, like a compass. If you’re not sure what to do next, take those worries you have and turn them into actionable steps.
Worries are nothing more than a to-do list of steps that will change your life.
Keep going and stop doubting yourself. You will get through this.