We all have it. That insecurity that says we aren’t good enough. That fear that keeps us stuck in the status quo. That timidity that whispers reasons why it won’t work. No matter how it displays itself, doubt is something we’ve all experienced before. We’ve had doubts about others, doubts about the way the world works, and, unfortunately, doubts about ourselves, our own abilities and our own worth.
It’s this kind of doubt – self-doubt – that I find the most dangerous. It can prevent us from pursuing dreams, cause us to pass on opportunities and, worst of all, live with regrets and the question of “what if?”
Don’t let self-doubt get to you. Obstacles will always approach and threaten to derail your goals, but it’s how we handle them that truly defines who we are and what we’re made of. It may be easier to dodge the obstacle, pick up the pieces and move on after the fact, a little worse for wear. But wouldn’t it be even better to face these boulders head-on? To stop and say “I’m not going to run, hide or swerve out of the way. I know I have the strength, intelligence and resources to absorb the blow and force the energy in the other direction. In my favor”?
Personally, I prefer the latter option. Being cyclical, our industry is facing an obstacle – albeit a temporary one. Talk of interest rate hikes will continue to fill the media and the ears of consumers for a short while. We already know this. We were already prepared for this. We’ve already experienced a worst-case scenario of sorts in 2008.
Yet we’re still here.
All of us. Because times will always test us with personal and professional obstacles that want nothing more than to throw us off course. When that self-doubt creeps in that maybe it’s easier to lower my expectations, buy into the fear or examine where I can hide so I don’t even have to face this obstacle, remember this: you are stronger than you know, you have been through worse and you have an entire team of support behind you.
There are many additional tricks to quashing self-doubt, which range from meditating and journaling to reaching out to friends and loved ones. I’ve found that the easiest way to attack this demon is to smother it the second it knocks on the door. Just take it out. Don’t let it inside. Don’t let it get past the front doormat.
Here are a few easy ways to stop these invading thoughts in their tracks:
- Remember that everything is temporary and that change, in fact, can be a good thing.
- Seek out a source of pleasure or optimism. Whether it’s volunteering at a local shelter, telling someone you love them or reading a feel-good (not fake) news article on Facebook, this is a sure way to boost morale.
- Think about the past and all you’ve accomplished in spite of the obstacles that presented themselves. You’re still here, aren’t you? And chances are, you are better for it. I’m a firm believer in whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
- Keep in mind that we all experience self-doubt throughout our lives. Chances are high you’re not the only one questioning your parenting skills, your transaction goals or your rank among the Joneses.
- Re-evaluate your skills and your procedures to determine if you really are, in fact, performing at the top of your game. Formidable opponents are rarely taken down when we’re operating at 65 percent. Make sure you’re using all the tools in your arsenal to fight fire with fire.
- Prevent yourself from relying upon excuses. The interest rate hike can be a convenient scapegoat if you were already experiencing self-doubt when you created your 2017 goals. Don’t let it be. People – and this industry – have faced much worse. There will always be “something” wrong, something out of place, something we can point to and say “it’s their fault. Not mine. I was trying my best but then this came along and just took it all away from me.” No one can “take” something from you – you simply must remain strong enough that you don’t give it away.
- Remain healthy to ensure your body and mind can function on their highest levels. This includes lots of sleep, a well-balanced diet and a regular exercise plan. It also includes adding enjoyment to your life in whatever form appeals to you. Staying sharp will allow you to retain the upper edge.
The road to success is never an easy path. While we may want to walk the straight and narrow, life tends to have other plans. This road may not be easy, but it’s been well traveled by many who came before you. They’re still here. They reached that destination. And so can you.