What do you say to yourself when you doubt yourself?

This is one of the questions in the BE YOU interview that I write in the Times of Acadiana each week, and one of my favorites. You see, I think many successful people like to perpetuate the myth that they never have any doubt – that insecurity isn’t a feature in their lives occasionally. I have never met anyone that doesn’t have some insecurity they need to overcome.

I always tell people that, the first time I stood on stage and told my audience that me, their confident speaker, was sometimes racked with doubts and insecurities, my life changed.

When we are doubting ourselves, or our decisions, we often think we are the only one who deals with this. I think it helps to know that we all second-guess ourselves and question our paths at some point. I don’t think I could teach the things I do if I hadn’t experienced doubt and insecurity – without them what would I know about confidence.

On Sunday night I put the question from the start of this article on my Facebook status. I started getting answers immediately. From reminding yourself of your blessings, knowing you’ll learn something whatever you do, affirmations, praying, and anti-doubt mantras, we all have ways of getting past the stuck that doubt brings.

For me, and I suspect for most people, doubt comes before change. It’s the little voice in our head that tells us we are not good enough, smart enough, young/old enough – we should smile when we hear it because it means we are about to stretch our comfort zone. Doubt should be the signal that drives us.

Insecurities build when we start to believe that little voice – when we (and we are very good at this as humans) collect evidence to match those negative thoughts. When we let those niggling doubts become beliefs. If we don’t push beyond our doubt it becomes bigger, and has a bigger influence in our lives.

I know that when I make big goals the doubt will creep in, that’s how I know they are big enough. At the moment I am trying to decide what my career will look like for the next chunk of my life – do I want to get involved with one company (yes, almost like a proper job) or push into another area, or…. the opportunities are endless. I am ready to make some decisions. As I make plans and explore scenarios I know the doubts will creep in, they are part of the process.

Doubts are there for a reason, we just have to decide if they are ones we should listen to (we are in the wrong relationship, the wrong job etc) or overcome (we are not good enough etc). Only you can know the answers, but know that the moment you acknowledge them you will have to do something about them (one way or another) or they will grow – I have no doubt about this.

great quote about doubt in the next post…

(This column was written by Aileen Bennett and first published in The Daily Advertiser on Tuesday 5th June 2012, all rights reserved)