We’ve shared some pointers in the past on how to cope with self-doubt; but wouldn’t it be great to take things to the next level and learn how to use this perceived weakness to our advantage?  As contradictory as it sounds, it’s entirely possible.  Self-doubt can be used as an empowering tool, and all it requires from you is an open mind and heart, and a few conscious shifts in perception.  After being confronted with an unexpected wave of self-doubt recently, I was inspired to explore how we can channel our self-doubt and use it to propel us forward rather than hold us back.  

self doubt handsBefore getting to that though, it may reassure you to know that self-doubt is not necessarily connected with low self-esteem.  Many people with healthy self-esteem are confronted with self-doubt, and particularly when trying something new. Even while knowing this, I have to admit I was pretty frustrated and surprised when this issue recently surfaced for me.  My initial thoughts were something like (pardon my french): Wtf. I’ve worked for years on this sh*t and I feel self-assured in almost every area of my life, so why is this happening and how can I work through it and connect with my confident true self?  Below are some strategies I’ve been using and have had success with; I hope they resonate with you as well.

How To Make Self-Doubt Work In Your Favor: 

1/  Remember: It’s all good.  Feeling self-doubt is part of what makes us human; experiencing it is as natural as it is to feel joy, fear or sorrow.   In order to turn this weakness into a strength, you need to first tame your self-doubt, rather than fight with it.  Also keep in mind that feeling self-doubt usually means you genuinely care about something.  That’s a bigger positive than we sometimes realize.

2/  Know where it’s coming from.  Tap into your self-awareness and note how you’re reacting to certain situations; understand the root of your self-doubt and what is triggering it.  Whether it’s fuelled by past experiences or it’s self-inflicted, when you connect with the origin of your self-doubt it enables you to take hold of its power.

self-doubt goth girl3/  Use self-doubt as motivation.  When you begin to worry that you or your skills are somehow inadequate, acknowledge how you feel without judging yourself. Take a deep breath and consider this fact:  Self-doubt often increases the effort we’re willing to exert to achieve a goal.  In this way, self-doubt can be a strong motivator.  Actors and artists are known to channel their insecurities into their work; however, this sentiment extends to everyone. Imagine interviewing for a highly competitive job that you’re dying to get  — you may begin to question yourself when comparing your skillset to those of other job applicants.  Allow this feeling to inspire you to work even harder toward your goal.

“I can’t think of anyone I admire who isn’t fuelled by self-doubt. It’s an essential ingredient. It’s the grit in the oyster.”–  Richard Eyre


4/ Don’t Dwell.  Do it anyway.  The more we analyze and reflect, the greater our self-doubt becomes.  So stop thinking and start doing.  Even if it feels uncomfortable.  Once you’ve had a positive experience, you will prove to yourself that self-doubt is nothing more than a feeling, like any other feeling.  It doesn’t define who you are or your abilities, and it certainly won’t be an obstacle to your success unless you allow it to be.  So step outside your comfort zone and into the more vibrant, empowering and rewarding place where positive change takes place. You’re worth it.  You are unstoppable.  

* Song For This Moment: “Unstoppable” by Sia. (because you are.)

Source and Related Articles:

Use Self Doubt To Your Advantage, article in Crew.

How To Believe in Yourself in the Face of Overwhelming Doubt“, article in Tiny Buddha.

Gifted and Talented But Insecure, article in High Ability.