We all experience self doubt to some level every once in a while. It’s normal to experience it, until it becomes something that stands in your way. Let me share my thoughts on why you can’t count on others to tell you you’re worth it. Read on for my blog about self doubt.
Self doubt is calling…
Through my work I’ve met people from all different backgrounds. CEO’s from multimillion dollar businesses, people from government, NGO’s, or from the media. It can be quite impressive to be in one room with those people. They speak with pride in their voices and appear so powerful.
I’ve experienced that admiration myself and along the way I somehow adopted the believe that I had to constantly improve in gaining a lot of knowledge to belong in that room myself. I embrace reading as long as I can remember mostly for reasons of pleasure and curiosity. But now I felt that I needed reading and learning too.
The thing is, self doubt and comparing ourselves to others don’t make us happy. In fact, those thoughts can strongly limit the quality of our lives. In this funny book: How to be Miserable, 40 strategies you already use, Randy Paterson writes how comparing yourself with others is one of the things that makes peoples lives miserable. And like me, many others are guilty of that too.
Therefore, I believe that too many of the thoughts that we have hold ourselves back from a life of contentment. It is important to remember ourselves for who we are, and that besides the unique abilities that you have, I too, have things I’m proud of or want to work on – and heal from.
Tell those voices to shut up – or just laugh about them
During our lifetime we construct messages about ourselves – stories of what we deserve or of what we can become. We collect them all the way from our childhood up to this point in our lives. Whether those stories are positive or negative, the thing with telling yourself the same messages over and over again is that you start to believe those stories. They influence us and dictate to us what we believe.
Moreover, author Lovelyn Bettison says that the current state of your life is a direct result of the stories you tell yourself, and what you really believe is possible. It’s not about what you say is possible, but what you believe deep down in your core. Once a story has become part of your belief system, you start to act and react upon it and soon it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
I recognise a lot in that statement. The story that I told myself let me to think that I needed every hour of my time to learn more and more about topics that I found useful to eventually fit in the way I thought a good online entrepreneur looks like.
Changing your story
Along the way I came to see the limiting believe of that mantra. I simply had to admit that if I had a good look around me, there were enough examples of introverted entrepreneurs who were leading their businesses quite succesfully. Take for example serial-entrepreneur Richard Branson, who is a self-called introvert. He wrote this blog about being an introvert in business: Even introverts can become great entrepreneurs. And of course you never reach the point that you “learned enough”. You just have to do it and there are no perfect circumstances to start a career or a business.
If there is one thing that I learned from the work that I do, the conversations that I had with those people, seeing them at work, or sharing ideas with them and the experiences that I had even in high school, is that the way you feel belonging somewhere does not depend on intellect, knowledge or certain personality traits. The difference is more about the kind of stories you tell yourself and the way you believe you belong in that room yourself.
It makes sense to look at the scripts that you tell yourself and retrain them, because most of the stories that we tell ourselves don’t show itself in just one aspect of our lives. If you feel not good enough at work, it is very likely that this will also hold you back in other aspects of you life. Take for example your family life or social life.
It appears, until you’re able to open your eyes and change your story. You will learn the lessons you most need when you are ready for them. And when you’re ready, you are able to change the stories you tell your subconscious mind. You receive what you are telling your subconscious mind you deserve and that’s what you start to see all around you.
Side effect of capable women
When self doubt becomes something that stands in your way, it is also called impostor syndrome. In an interview with Virgin, The B Team CEO Halla Tómasdóttir talked about living with imposter syndrome and that she considers it as a side effect of capable people, in particularly women. A recent study showed that she is right on that. Structural self doubt would be something that more often affects women; 66% of women had experienced it, compared with just over half of men.
Halla Tómasdóttir says, […] “I’ve seen them suffer from it a lot. It means that a lot of great people may not offer themselves up for leadership. Right now that’s not an option.” […] “The world needs great people to step up and solve global challenges. We need to embrace courage and find ways to make a difference. I have found that just through doing, confidence grows. So don’t wait for confidence, embrace courage, know that everybody who has done anything has suffered from imposter syndrome.”
We keep focusing on the negative, dwelling on what we can’t change, isolating ourselves from friends and loved ones, eating junk food, or overindulging in alcohol. Those thoughts may limit the quality of our lives. I found myself in a place where, in some way, these thoughts distracted me from the real doing. I came to realize that I needed to change my perspective on things. Those people were not in a million years in any way better than me. They might be more experienced than me in certain things, but not smarter. They looked successful, but not necessarily happier than me. I discovered that if you change the limiting stories you tell yourself, you will be able to change your life.
So I know that I have some unique abilities that serve me well. I’m a great listener, I’m always open to learn new things and I also have a great sense of what’s really going on in peoples lives. Those abilities serve me well in achieving the things that I want to do. And because I am not afraid of admitting that I’m not the most dominant person, I’ll find people who are better than me in doing certain things. That’s how you lift each other up. Let’s see how I am now… A couple of years further I own this website and turned it into a real brand. And I absolutely LOVE it!
The work that needs to be done
One of my favorite stories about not to be disillusioned by set backs or intimidations is from Meryl Streep. The American actress, nominated for more Academy Awards than anyone in history, is shown on a Facebook post in an image, taken on the subway in 1976, shortly after she had been rejected for the role as an unknown 27-year-old:
It’s a powerful story that implies that you can not count on somebody else to give you the self-confidence. That’s why you are so important yourself because you are going to give back one day. Whether that is to your child, or your friends, your partner, family… You are going to help them practice a different set of messages. You are going to help them not wandering around and doubting where they belong, because we have to bring women in places where we need them.
Knowing that your thoughts are as just as relevant, you’re experiences are as just as important, your inside is just as valuable so that you will share it and use it and practice being there. That is the work you need to do if you are like an imposter.
Because we need women and diversive minds… people who think different and have different religious believes because truth and the right answer comes from diversity of experiences. You need it at those tables.
You can not think of whether you belong due to self doubt, because you are waisting your time in those seats and you’re holding your voice back and you won’t be able to make change because you are waiting for someone to tell you, you’re worth it.
Because you are, simply more than worth it already.
These are other blogs that I wrote about knowing your worth: