How to Handle Self-Doubt

Blog May 30, 2012

You’re not ready yet.
You don’t have the right credentials.
You’re not good with money.
You’re lazy.
You’re not a self-starter.
You’re not disciplined enough.
You don’t deserve it.
You’re not cool enough.
You don’t have the goods.
It’s, like, impossible to get published/quoted/a job in that industry/viewers/clients.
That’s a bad idea.
Who do you think you are?

I know, I know.  What kind of person would say this stuff to you?  She must be a real bee-otch.  Right when you start getting even a little psyched up about where you can see this going, or what you’d like to do next, or dare to share your idea – CRUSH – that mean ole hater has to butt in and try to crush it.  Crush you.

That pesky little voice is yours.  But it’s not YOU.  It’s that negative self-talk playing in your head.  We all have our own version.  And man, that little busybody chatterbox can be quite a DRAG.  She can’t bear to see you play big.  Action makes her anxious, because it forces her out of her comfort zone.  So what do we do about her?

We have three options, two of which we have all tried.

1.  See her as the BOSS.

We can listen to her.  We can believe her.  When we do, we hold back, we don’t go for it, we don’t put ourselves out there – because we’re afraid maybe she’s right.  Making her the boss keeps us playing small, letting fear and anxiety steer the ship.  No good.

2.  See her as the ENEMY.

Crush her right back.  Stamp her out.  Fight with her.  Get angry when you hear her chiming in with her soul-crushing, energy-draining muck.  Hmmm…  She doesn’t like that very much.  When we go to war with her, she’s up for the fight.  She gets louder and meaner.  She’ll see to it that you suffer.  She’ll work even harder, even finding ways to punish you.  She’ll have you eating ice cream when you’re trying to eat healthy.  She’ll have you missing your deadline as she keeps telling you you’re a flake.  She’ll make you late on a payment to prove she’s right that you’re bad with money.  Boy does she work hard to prove that she’s right – you’re not good enough.

3.  Embrace her as your BEST FRIEND.

If you’ve had enough of being ruled by self-doubt and limiting beliefs, enough of “battling your demons” – it’s time to embrace her as your best friend.  Invite her along for the ride.  Welcome her into your home, your office, your bedroom.  Because you know if you don’t, she’s going to find her way in there anyway.

When you hear that negative self-talk in your head, those limiting beliefs repeated over and over, telling you to play small, asking you who you think you are, witness her and let her finish what she has to say.  Then thank her for her input.  And let her know that you appreciate her, but that you have plans.  Comfort her and let her know you’re not going to abandon her; she’s welcome to come along for the ride.

My very wise mentor, Lois Barth, calls this pesky voice the “itty bitty committee.”  I love that visual image.  A bunch of busy body gossipy small-minded yappy voices looking to judge and criticize, but rarely with any constructive wisdom.

When I was first conceiving launching my coaching practice, I found myself so afraid of telling anyone what I had in mind for fear they would echo my itty-bitty committee’s sentiments.  Once I began to visualize literally strapping them in for the ride, and found the courage to share with the world where I was heading, well guess what.  Rather than echo the committee’s sentiments, my peeps cheered me on!  Friends, family, former colleagues, new mom friends – I found a chorus of “hell yeah’s!” and “you go, girl!” and “that is soooo what you should be doing.”  Amen!

So, strap those yappers in.  When you hear that commentary from your inner peanut gallery, be amused.  Even laugh out loud.  Thank them for their contributions, and then give them something constructive to do.  Like ponder paint colors for your new bathroom.  And then take your next step.  Itty bitty committee and all.

Please share your secrets to living harmoniously with your “itty bitty committee” in the Comments below!  And if you like this post, please “Like” it up top!  And be sure to Get on the LIST so you get all this fresh content and more directly to your inbox!



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