I had no idea.
I didn’t realize so many women grapple with self-doubt, insecurity and imposter syndrome until I started writing my book, Women Who Spark: 12 Steps to Catapult Happiness, Cultivate Confidence and Discover the Purpose of Your Life. As I talked with women for the book, I heard so many stories of struggle and ‘me too.’
Me too! I’ve not been a ‘self-doubt’ kind of woman …until right now. It’s directly tied to my dream of launching a coaching business to help women.
I’ve been a coach for 30 years, but this is different. This involves a book and online course, a blog and a YouTube channel. And a podcast, eventually. It involves delving into things I’ve never done before: daily writing, video editing, online marketing, graphic design, Facebook advertising, and more, more more.
You should see my to-do list. It spans pages. It is not only filled with things I need to do, but also things I need to learn. It’s daunting.
I’m a big believer in dreams and visions. We should all be striving toward something we can be on fire about. We should be focused on where we’re called to make a difference for another human being.
But, it is not easy to move in the direction of our dreams. Especially if we’re looking at those who are ahead of us. It is very easy to compare our beginning to someone else’s middle.
The self-doubt kicks in: “I won’t be able to do what they’re doing.” “They know more than I do.” “Who do I think I am?”
Quitting is not an option. So, what can we do?
Five ways to conquer self-doubt:
1. Set realistic goals.
Be realistic about the short term. Are you setting yourself up to fail? We very often underestimate what can be accomplished over the long term by setting manageable daily steps. Rather than focus on the big master list, break it down into realistic steps.
2. Take small steps.
What is the one next thing you can do? As I’ve considered the long list of things that I need to figure out for an online business, I sat down one day (well, several days, actually) and created the master list I mentioned above.
What are all of the buckets that need attention? Taking photos, shooting video, editing video, selecting music, writing content, graphic design, creating a website, creating a Facebook group, creating a course, building a course, creating a YouTube channel, doing Facebook Lives, writing a book, and more. You get the point.
The master list is overwhelming. And, I found it very easy to start to feel panicked. And it was even easier to put my hands up in the air and say, “There is no way I can figure this out.”
So, the obvious solution was to do one thing at a time.
To date, I’ve been working on this master list for 10 months. And one by one by one, I’m checking things off the list.
If you’re reading this blog, it means I’ve surpassed the 12-month mark of starting this journey. I still have plenty to figure out, but I’ll do it along the way. And this is okay. Sometimes, we have longer to figure out our dreams than we tell ourselves.
3. Believe in yourself.
You can do it. This is your choice to make.
As a kid, I loved the book, The Little Engine That Could.Seriously, how fantastic a book is it? “I think I can, I think I can.” If the little engine can get up the hill, you can do whatever you set your mind to.
Maybe you’ve had people in your past tell you that you’ll not amount to anything. Maybe they’ve encouraged you to think small. Don’t! Think big. Know that you will amount to whatever you set your mind to. You are the one who gets to decide.
If you think it, you can achieve it.
4. Accept yourself.
We can look at this in a couple of different ways. Be kind to yourself, accept yourself for who you are. Also, accept that you have some limitations. This may feel contrary to “believe in yourself.”
The fact is we all have limitations. You may have wanted to be a basketball player, but you’re 5 feet tall. You may want to compete on American Idol and become a future Carrie Underwood, but you don’t have a singing voice (even if you wanted one).
The key is to not focus on your limitations. Focus on the strengths you have been given. Leverage those!
5. Deal with inner and outer critics.
Are you your own worst critic? Do you have “I’m not good enough” gremlins living within?
“I’ll never be as talented as her.”
“I’ll never be as successful as them.”
“I’ll never look as attractive as them.”
“What if no one reads my stuff?”
“What if I fail?”
If the gremlins are with you, it’s because you’ve given them permission to be.
How can you intentionally get rid of them? The easiest way I’ve found over time is by taking action. One step at a time, keep learning, making decisions and figuring things out. Little by little, you’ll see progress in the direction of your dreams.
Prove the gremlins wrong.
Where do you struggle with self-doubt?
I encourage you to find comfort in not being alone on this
You can, however, manage your response to all of the tugging and pulling. Whether you remain calm or show your stress, your situation is what it is.
If you’d like to contribute your thoughts to my research, you can find my happiness and fulfillment survey at aletanorris.com/tribe.