Self doubt’s a bitch.
I don’t care who you are, every one of us has had these thoughts at some time or another:
I can’t do this.
Who am I to think I could accomplish this?
I’m nobody. I don’t deserve to do this.
These thoughts can be consuming, overtaking all previous work we’ve done on ourselves, shutting the door in the face of any semblance of confidence you may have had.
Self doubt can keep us from achieving anything because it convinces us that there’s no point in trying.
So we stop. We just stop trying.
…but that’s a sure way not to get anywhere we want to be.
That’s a sure way to stay right where you are, snuggled up cozy and warm with your self-doubt.
If you stay here, you’ll never know what you’re capable of because you never gave it a shot.
You may have heard I was somewhat of a punk-rocker as a teenager, when my self-doubt was at its very worst. In homage to those days, I want to make today a little more fun by taking you to a show.
Here’s the twist: you’re the rock-star-to-be and this is YOUR show. You’re ready to show the world how awesome you are, but self-doubt is trying to drive you back into the green room.
I’ve worked long and hard on some techniques to squash that saboteur in her tracks before she starts dragging me down into the darkness. I hope today’s post can help you shut her down in time to put on your best show, too.
When those doubting voices threaten to ruin your night, take out self-doubt and replace her with that killer voice you have bound up inside of you.
…Oh yeah–and get ready to be famous. ;)
1. Take The Mic Away
You’re performing in your biggest venue yet: “your life.” This is the show that can make or break your career, and you gotta make it the most rocking party yet.
I like to think of the self-doubt as a person you didn’t invite who walks up on stage during the opening act and holds a microphone next to the speaker. You know that shrilling, high pitched, hurts-your-ears screech that drowns out all the good music?
The opening act warms up the audience for when you get out there! If she keeps going, everyone’s gonna leave!
What do you do in that situation?
Do you just look at the person holding the microphone, hoping that they’ll eventually pull it away from the speaker?
Do you resign yourself to the fact that this sound is just what you’re going to hear for the rest of your life?
NO! You go up on stage and say, “This is my party, biatch!” and you take the mic away from her ’cause she’s hurting everybody.
Think about that: everyone who will benefit from the things you want to do with your life–those same things that your self-doubter is telling you you can’t do–will be hurting if you don’t achieve these goals you’re aiming for.
So take the mic away from that self-doubter and give it back to the opening act you’ve worked so hard to book. This is your party and you say what goes.
When those thoughts of “can’t” pop into your head, stop them in their tracks:
•Recognize them for what they are: self-doubt.
•Say to yourself (whether in your head or out loud), “STOP.”
It may sound ridiculous, but saying “stop” out loud is really quite effective. I’ve internalized it over the years, but I still use it all the time.
2. Bounce Self-Doubt, Bring in Reaffirmation
After you’ve gotten the mic away from this trespasser, you gotta get her out of here before you get up on stage.
Thing is, security’s telling you you can’t just take her out, you have to bring someone else in to replace her. Apparently, there’s a minimum at this venue.
When trying to get rid of a stunting negative thought, it’s tricky. You can’t just get rid of it; you need something to replace it with. Trying to just stop that negative thought without replacing it with a counter thought is a recipe for disaster. It can lead to obsession and catastrophizing because you’re refusing to deal with it; they just build up. You need a counter thought if you want to avoid all that nonsense.
So who do you call in?
Given the damage self-doubt’s done to everyone’s ear drums, I’d recommend a damn good musician to bring the spirits back up in the crowd.
Let’s call this rock star, “Reaffirmation.”
Reaffirmation comes in to counter what self-doubt did to your party. She brings the life back to it.
She comes in 3 forms:
#1 to reaffirm the reasons why this goal matters so much to you. Remind yourself of why you’re doing what you’re doing. Why is this important to you?
example: Why are you trying to accomplish this?
#2 to ground yourself in the reality of the situation, rather than defeatist thoughts. Looking for proof in your self-doubting thoughts is a great way to get us logical thinkers to gain quick perspective. Usually, you won’t have substantial proof to back up this negative thought. Use that to move on to #3.
example: Why can’t you do this?
#3 a mantra you say that counters a recurring doubting thought. This thought gives you something else to focus on that holds truth for you and gives you strength when you need it.
example: “I can do this,” or “Yes I can.”
Depending on your personality, one of these forms of reaffirmation can strengthen and invigorate you back into the groove of your goals.
She may need practice to sound natural, but give Reaffirmation a chance: she’s got potential.
Now’s the fun part: you gotta perform like you mean it.
It’s your turn to take the stage and show everyone just how amazing you are. You gotta get up there and sing your freaking heart out.
The purpose of life is to be in it, fully and without apology.
Get up on that stage and sing so loud that self-doubt will stop banging on that door because she’ll know no one will hear her.
Dance like you’ll never get tired.
Thank your band for backing you up even when you felt like the show might not go on.
Be the rock star you are. It’s there. It’s in you. You just haven’t chosen to show everyone yet.
Well, hey, I’ve been a groupie for quite a while now, and I can say, the world doesn’t know what it’s missing yet.
Get out there and show them.
Your voice could change lives. Don’t keep that from them.