Doubt and fear are very much akin to being paralyzed. Your ego (aka your inner voice) creates a halo of fear to keep you small and contained. In addition, listening to that inner voice that feeds on your self-doubt is much an act of self-sabotage that needs to be handled in a caring, constructive way. Everyone is guilty of it. However, unfortunately, it keeps us from doing things we might have otherwise enjoyed – even become great at!
Overcoming self-doubt is something that comes with time and practice. Take it slowly and focus on your actions, rather than the results. It’s just like anything in life; if you work on it, you’ll get better at it like riding a bicycle or doing cartwheels.
Below are some tips to help you practice the art of getting over whatever gives you sweaty palms and heart palpitations.
Remember, it’s a process so give yourself time, and reward yourself whenever you reach a milestone, no matter how small it may be:
- Give yourself a goal. For the next 10 days, do something that scares you and gets you out of your comfort zone.
- Start a journal. Writing things down can be helpful because you keep track of things going on in your life when you put down pen to paper and voice your stress factors, fears, and doubts. Things start becoming a bit clearer. You start seeing things from a wider perspective and you gain insight on what scares you and what you can do about it to keep it from happening again.
- Get comfortable with the physical sensations of fear. This is how you can start to manage being physically uncomfortable. This can be anything from clammy hands to shallow breaths, a nervous twitch – take one deep breath and try to adapt. That’s the only way it’ll get better with time.
- Separate yourself from the source of your fear. The brain shuts down when you’re faced with a fight or flight response. When you give your fear a name, you’re diminishing its power over you. That way you can turn off your fight or flight response and turn on the analytical parts of your brain located in the prefrontal cortex.
- You’re not an island. Everyone experiences fear, anxiety, self-doubt – you name it! It’s the way they consciously decide to overcome it rather than let it overcome them is what makes them seem like they’re invincible. But they’re not. They’re just taking things one-step at a time.
- Foster your self-esteem. Constantly remind yourself of what you did wrong isn’t going to help your self-doubt dissipate. Instead, focus on your accomplishments, no matter how small you may think they are.
- Fill up your time. Try to fill your schedule with meetings, events, outings, dates, get-togethers. When you’re left with time on your hands, self-doubt starts to sneak in filling your head with negative thoughts. The more people you interact with, the more you’re feel your confidence start to soar.
- Meditate. Even for a few short minutes, and especially when you’re faced with a stressful, fearful situation. Inhale for 3 seconds, hold it in for 2 seconds, and then slowly exhale for 3 seconds. It will do wonders for your stress levels. You’ll start thinking more positively and with a go-for-it attitude.
- Put your imagination to good use. All the greats do this, including athletes, scientists, and politicians. They all mentally visualize themselves being successful at whatever it is they’re setting out to do. It all starts in the head. Then after that, things just fall into place because in your mind, you’ve already spoken to a packed audience or –. Keep practicing because once you can see it clearly in your mind with enough intensity, then you’ve already reached the peak state even before starting.
- Stop comparing yourself to others. We’re forced to look for everybody else’s approval rather than our own. We need to start being true to ourselves. Recognize that it’s normal and natural to be afraid; being afraid isn’t what defines us. Worrying what others will think of you will just hold you back from overcoming your true fears and accomplishing big things in your life. You’re small in a big, crowded world and even though it may seem like it, no one is rooting for you to fail. They’re just going about their daily business worrying about what other people are saying about them too. Don’t let people like that keep you from setting goals and feeling pride at accomplishing them.
- Change your way of thinking. When you try out different things, some will work out, some won’t. That’s life. The important thing is that you focus more on what did work out, do more of those things, and forget about what didn’t work out so well. When you look back, you’ll realize that those things you failed at are what helped shaped your current success.
Overall, the only failure you can truly be accused of is not taking that first step to face your fears. Don’t let your vulnerability and hesitation dictate your actions. You’re better and stronger than you believe. You can do anything you put your mind to.