• Chantal Porter

Overcome Self Doubt and Believe in Yourself

Updated: Aug 25, 2019

My dream is to be "the poorest person that ever lived said no person ever"... Then why do we doubt ourselves and our abilities?

As human beings, we are prone to feelings of self doubt and low self esteem, at different periods within our lives. We doubt our capabilities and even feel undeserving of the successes we have already attained. Somewhere in our subconscious, we're programmed to believe in the limitations that we were given. Many of us have heard, "you can't do this because" or "you'll never be able to achieve that" and it creates an inner battle when we become successful. The truth is at some point you might struggle to believe in yourself. This is normal to a certain extent, however if you believe that you live in a perpetual state of self doubt and worry, something else might be wrong. This behavior is referred to as the imposter syndrome and it is believed to be most prominent in high-achievers and women.

The Imposter Syndrome

The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer From the Imposter Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It, a book written by expert on the imposter syndrome, Dr. Valerie Young fully explains the subject at hand. In her book, Dr. Young shares on the imposter syndrome by introducing us to competence types. There are 5 competence types or sub groups associated with the imposter syndrome. Let us take a deeper look at each.

The 5 sub-groups of the imposter syndrome.

1. The Perfectionist

Perfectionists put a lot of time and effort into details. Everything they do must be executed flawlessly, as a result there is no room for error. Feelings of self doubt often creep in when they make even the slightest mistake.

2. The Expert

Experts have very high expectations of themselves. They spend most of their time trying to learn as much as they can about everything. In moments when they don't have all the answers they often feel guilt and shame.

3. The Soloist

Soloists strive to work alone without any external help. If they require help to complete tasks or projects, feelings of failure and doubt often times present themselves.

4. The Natural Genius

The Natural genius is a high achiever who aims for mastery. Each task that the Natural genius does must be completed quickly and without much effort. Because of this, whenever he/she is unable to master a task or skill on the first attempt, self doubt creeps in.

5. The Super Woman/ Man

The Super Woman/Man believes that success is determined by their ability to multitask or manage multiple roles at once. Failure to effectively manage any of these roles often results in feelings of disappointment and self doubt.

Th imposter syndrome shows how different categories of people perpetuate feelings of self doubt . If something is said or done repeatedly, it becomes a habit. Self doubt can be classified as an unhealthy habit. Habits are quick to develop, but they require work to change. Recall that our bodies are built to protect us from harm or danger. Whenever your brain notices that you are about to do something new or different it jumps into fight or flight mode. It then initiates these thoughts that force you to question what you already know.

Once this happens, your emotions become volatile, anxiety sets in, and you wonder whether or not you can do it. My advice learn how to believe in yourself

Overcoming Self doubt

So what can you do when this happens? Reassure yourself (positive self-talk) that you have all the tools necessary to get the job done effectively. You can also employ the help of books and motivational videos to overcome this issue. At the end of the day, you never truly eliminate self-doubt but you can flip it to your advantage. The next time your brain tells you that you can't do something, pause and observe your thoughts. Ask yourself, "what if I can do it?" Attach pleasure to this thought, and pain to the thought of not doing it. Remember this, success and failure begin in the mind! Flip the negative self-talk that you have by creating positive affirmations. The change will not happen overnight, but over time it will become much easier to control your thoughts.

My friends, greatness is in all of us. Our backgrounds might differ, but we can all make positive contributions. Self doubt isn't specific to any class, status, race or creed, we all experience it at times. Some of the most successful people that you know today suffer from the imposter syndrome. They feel undeserving of their success and they battle with their thoughts on a daily basis. My advice-Do not be crippled by it, flip self-doubt on itself and prosper!

"Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm."- Winston Churchill

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