The number one threat to your confidence is fear. Whether you realize it or not, a primary mechanism to avoid facing fear is self doubt, with thoughts like “You’re not good enough” , “smart enough”, “pretty enough” or “experienced enough”. Over time this doubt starts turning into a belief, such as “I am not worthy”, “I am hopeless”, or “I am cursed”. Ultimately, you use this belief to justify a stagnant and unfulfilling life, leaving you feeling trapped, with no place to go.
When you are plagued with self doubt and fear, you become paralyzed. You back down and stay in your comfort zone and nothing changes. But you have a choice – you have the power to change it. If you face your fear despite the self doubt, it can catapult your confidence to new heights. The secret to gaining confidence is stepping outside your comfort zone and into your fear. As scary as that sounds, you can do it by following some basic steps.
So, the next time you catch yourself full of self doubt, remember that it is nothing more than self sabotage, designed to keep you from facing your fear and stop you from moving forward!
You cannot change what you don’t acknowledge. Start by keeping a journal and write down those self limiting thoughts that pop up throughout the day. These are little stories we tell ourselves that give us permission to stay right where we are. At first you might notice the big things, like what holds you back from changing jobs, or leaving a relationship. Over time, however, you will start noticing manipulative thoughts which are much more subtle, such as avoiding new people or situations. It’s these smaller things that often make us feel trapped!
Once you notice and acknowledge the self doubt, you get to make a choice: continue to believe these limiting thoughts, or challenge them!
Self sabotaging beliefs can easily keep you stuck. Of course there are no guarantees in life, but just how true are these beliefs? Is the world really against you? Are you really not good enough? Do you provide no value to anyone?How much is true and how much is it the FEAR of it being true?
Ask yourself what the worst case scenario would be, if all your limiting thoughts were real. Most often, it is no worse than what you suffer by believing them to be true. So, what do you have to lose?
You have conditioned yourself to stay stuck in life, because it is easier and more comfortable than doing things that take you out of your comfort zone. But now you know that fear is in the driver’s seat – so, what will you do about it? If you continue to let fear drive your life, you will get more of the same: sadness, frustration, and hopelessness. However, if you take the wheel, you will find pride, courage, and fulfillment!
As you think about your next steps, take a moment to realize your end goal. You can create lasting, positive change as a result of the choices you make. We all know that when you face your fear, there certainly is risk – risk of failing, risk of being judged, risk of not being perfect. But as you start to take small steps out of your comfort zone, you will prove to yourself that most of your fears are unfounded – nothing more than smoke and mirrors.
Are you are ready to take control of your life, and to stop blaming other people or outside circumstances? Are you ready to look at your fear head on? If so, then you are on the path to confidence, which leads to the life you so deeply desire!
1) Be your own observer for one week. Notice when self doubt shows up, usually accompanied by feeling uncomfortable, unwilling, fearful, and anxious. Take note of the thoughts that are going through your mind or the stories that you are telling yourself. Keep these observations in a journal. After one week, look for common patterns of self sabotage!
2) Over the next week do 5 things that you are not perfect at, and have held back from doing. It could be something small, such as introducing yourself to someone you don’t know, or taking a class that you always found interesting but never signed up for. Notice what feelings and thoughts you had prior to the activity, and what you feel like after. What shifts?