When we step into something unknown, thoughts of self-doubt are always going to come up. Even the most successful people experience self-doubt at some stage in their life – it’s a natural reaction to trying to grow. But if we’re not careful, we can become consumed by our thoughts of self-doubt and allow them to prohibit us from developing into better versions of ourselves.
Unraveling self-doubt is one of my favorite things to do. I love flipping it on its head and highlighting why obstacles don’t have to be a problem for you and showing you how you can create a lot more for yourself when you start to see thoughts of self-doubt for what they are – beliefs.
Join me on the podcast this week where I’ll explain why so many people struggle with self-doubt and how you can work with those feelings to achieve your goals. I’ll share some tips to strategically manage feelings of self-doubt and show you why you are in charge of your choices, and how you can choose to not engage with these thoughts. It’s time to learn how to dominate self-doubt, once and for all!
Welcome to the Get a Better Job in 30 Days podcast, this is episode 12: Self-doubt.
Welcome to the Get a Better Job in 30 Days podcast. I’m your host Natalie Fisher. I’m a certified career mindset coach who also happens to love dogs, lattes, and most importantly skipping the small talk and getting right to the conversations that matter. On this podcast, I will coach you on how to use your brain to build a wildly successful career and make a real impact in your industry. If you want to do more than just work for a living, you’ve got to start by making the right decisions now. Are you ready? Let’s go.
Hello everyone. So a common theme coming up this week has been self-doubt. And I know that it’s a huge, huge topic and something that everybody struggles with. And I had a YouTube video about it which I got quite a bit of responses and comments from. So I think a podcast is appropriate as well with a little bit more details on how to overcome it, and how to deal with it, and kind of how to navigate self-doubt so that it doesn’t run your life, because it is something that we all have.
So whenever we are going to step into something that we haven’t done before, something unknown, it’s always going to come up. So even the most successful people that you look at now that you would be like, well, they probably don’t experience self-doubt, they do. Spoiler alert, they do, everybody does.
So if you are right now in that space where you are stepping up into something that you haven’t done before and the self-doubt is coming up, just know that it’s completely normal. And you shouldn’t expect it not to happen. You should expect it to happen. So you can just take that as a heads up for the rest of your life. When you are committing to doing something you’ve never done before, growing and evolving and taking on a new challenge that the self-doubt is going to show up. And it’s definitely going to be there, it will not let you down as far as showing up goes.
So the first thing to do is to just realize that it’s completely normal and to expect it. Next thing is, is to understand that it doesn’t mean stop. It means you’re on track. It means that you’re about to do something that’s going to grow and evolve you into the next level of your capacity and into your next level of your potential. So it doesn’t mean stop. And what happens is a lot of people make it mean stop. And they get shut down by it immediately and they don’t even go forward.
And they basically let self-doubt kick them down and they stay where they are and they settle because they’re like, well, it is too hard. I won’t be able to do it. I’ve never done it before. I don’t have the experience. So those are some self-doubt thoughts that might come up. You’ll have your own unique detailed self-doubtful thoughts. So you want to identify them. First you want to expect them. Then you want to understand that they’re normal and then you want to identify them. So then you want to list out all the self-doubtful thoughts that you have.
So if for example I want to host a webinar and my goal, I’m like I want a 100 people to come to my webinar. And say I’ve never had a 100 people come to a webinar before; I’ve only had maybe 30 people come at the most. Then my brain is automatically going to say that’s not possible. You’re not going to be able to do that. You’re going to have to spend money on marketing. And the last time you did that it didn’t work out because you didn’t know how to run Facebook Ads properly.
And it’s just going to be really hard to get that many people on a webinar. And I don’t know if you should even try. Maybe you should lower your goal, maybe that’s not possible. Maybe you should start smaller, or maybe you don’t need to do the webinar at all. So that’s just an example.
So for example, with my clients they would be looking to attain a new position in a new company where they’re taking on a brand new challenge. And they’re going to have similar self-doubtful thoughts. Some of them might be, yeah, but I’m not very good at interviewing. I failed the last interviews. I haven’t been able to articulate, or communicate effectively what I can do. Normal self-doubtful thoughts that come up, so you’re going to have your own.
Or things like I’m not good at performing in interviews, I have to put on a show and I’m not very good at that. Or I’m not good at selling myself, just trying to think of all the thoughts over the years that my clients have had. Or I don’t have any good stories to tell, or there’s so many other better candidates than me, any number of things that your brain is going to give you. And of course they make sense because you probably have evidence of this. You’ve seen evidence of all your thoughts being true, so you think they’re true. You think you’re just reporting the news and this is just how it goes.
But they are real self-doubt thoughts, they’re self-doubtful thoughts and they always come in when you’re trying to reach a new level, it’s a natural reaction to when you’re trying to grow because your brain wants to keep you safe.
So you’ll know it’s a self-doubtful thought because it doesn’t support your capability. So you know you’re capable of more because you have this desire to up-level and take on a new challenge, and reach a new goal. So you know you are capable of it. But these thoughts that come up don’t support that capability and that’s how you know they are a self-doubtful thought, they’re not true. Thoughts like it’s going to be really hard, it’s going to be so tough, it’s going to take so long, I don’t know if I can.
And it’s going to limit your ability to take action, if not completely stop your ability to take action. So our capability is only our ability to go beyond our doubtful thinking, which I’m going to show you a process for how to do on this episode, for how you go beyond your doubtful thinking.
First thing is you’re going to need to face your doubts head on. So, first expect them to come up, then understand why they come up, then identify them. So list them out, write them out. And you want to face them. So they’re called obstacles that you might face. Your brain is just kind of predicting the obstacles that might happen. It’s like well, it’s going to be hard, or I didn’t interview well last time.
So for example with either of those you want to turn those into strategies now. So list out all your obstacle thoughts, all the reasons why you can’t. And then each reason can be tackled. We can say, “Okay, if this is a valid reason then what would I do? If I knew this was going to be case, then how would I proceed?” So if the thought is it’s going to be hard, then you might ask yourself, “Okay, am I willing to do it? Do I want it bad enough, to know that it’s going to be hard but I still want to do it? How can I set myself up for success knowing that it’s going to be hard?”
What can I do to guarantee myself the result, what’s in my control here? So just examples. Or the last time you interviewed, didn’t interview very well. What do you need to do to interview better the next time? And what do you need to go over or evaluate from the last time that will guarantee you have a more successful interview this time? So I always recommend doing the evaluation in detail after an interview. What went well, what didn’t, and what will you do differently next time?
Quite often there’s a question that they asked you that you didn’t have the answer that you would have liked because you didn’t see it coming. Perfect. So you take that question and you say, “Okay, next time I’m asked that question I’m going to have the best answer. I’m going to be excited when they ask me next time.” So that’s one example.
Another one of my clients, she was doing interviews for technical roles and they would give her different types of technical tests and ask her about different technical features or different technical concepts. And so she would gather the information that she didn’t know in an interview, go back and collect more information about that technical concept. So that she would be ready to face that next time if it came up. And she just looked at it as data collection.
She was like, “Yeah, this is part of the process. This is the information that I’m gathering. I can only gather it when I go and do it and I know what it is.” So listing out all your self-doubtful thoughts that show up as obstacles and then creating a strategy for each one. And that does involve you to face your self-doubt head on and say, “Okay, bring it on, let’s do this. What you got? What am I preparing for here?”
So by doing this you’re already taking a huge step, because most people will set a goal for themselves or have an idea of something big they want to do. And then they just allow self-doubt to knock them right over. And then they just don’t do it, or they wish they were doing it. They want to be doing it.
And then what’s happening is they’re living in the discomfort of not reaching their full potential, not taking on the challenges they would like to, versus living in the discomfort of facing the self-doubt and moving forward towards it. Basically they get to the obstacle, the first obstacle and they just give up, and then they never truly understand what they could have been capable of.
So it’s the willingness to repeatedly try until we increase our capacity to overcome these obstacles and understanding that that is going to be something that you’re needing to do. And that you’ll need to be willing to do if you’re going to overcome the self-doubt.
So an analogy that I liked was the new thing that you would have decided you want to do is to drive from where I am, Victoria, BC to Las Vegas. So let’s say this is the thing and I have never done this before. I’m like this is what I want to do. So all those obstacle thoughts are going to come up, and they don’t come up – this is a good example, because it doesn’t come up in the same way. It’s like yeah, we’re going to plan a trip.
So if I’m going to decide I’m going to drive from Victoria to Las Vegas. Then all the obstacle thoughts are going to come up. I’m going to call them obstacle thoughts. I’m going to be like, okay, but we’re going to need to get on the ferry, because we’re going to have to get to the mainland so then we can get on the road to get to Las Vegas. So we’re going to need to make a reservation for the ferry. That could be an obstacle or it could just be a plan that I do.
And then I’m going to need gas, I’m going to need to make sure that my car, and the obstacle thoughts will come up different ways. They’d be like, but that’s going to be expensive. You’re going to need gas. You’re going to need to make sure that your car is in good condition. What if it’s not? What if the car breaks down? What if you get lost? What if you don’t know how to get there? What if there’s a traffic hold up on the way? What if you take the wrong route? What if there’s an accident? What if you actually have no idea what you’re doing? What happens if, you know, what happens if, what happens if?
So there’s always going to be potential things that could happen because this is an unknown. I’ve never done this before. I don’t know what it’s going to be like. So I call it self-doubt Max, because he’s kind of like this annoying person in the passenger seat. And he’s going to be the one who’s sitting there saying, “Yeah, I told you, we needed more gas, you should have filled up.”
And he’s going to be that annoying person in the passenger seat that’s like, “I told you, we should have got the car looked at before we left.” We need to make sure that we’re on the right route.” Or, “I told you we should have stopped because now we’re getting tired.” He’s going to show up before and on the way. And he’s going to be sitting there and there’s really nothing that you can do about it except for manage him, not listen to him. Not be like, “You’re right. You’re right, Max, we should have never come, or we shouldn’t even bother going because this is too hard.”
So if you look at your goal, instead of this big scary thing that’s never going to happen, look at it as like a trip. So you plan your destination, you know where you’re going. And then you just decide to get in the car and drive there. And understand that Max is going to be sitting there and he’s going to be annoying. And he’s going to be telling you things that you should be doing. Or he’s going to be warning you about the things that are coming up that could be obstacles, and all the reasons why you might not make it.
And when something doesn’t go as planned, or something doesn’t work he’s going to be like, “Yeah, I told you.” Or, “See, I knew you couldn’t do it.” And that’s kind of just what Max does. And I call it self-doubt Max because I knew somebody who was kind of like that. And so I thought it was kind of fitting. He would always be pointing out the problems. So we were trying to fix something and he’d be like, “But that’s going to be hard to fix. Look, this is already all – this is too far gone, it’s beyond ruin.” He would just be that voice of that person who was pointing all those things out.
And it’s like yeah, okay, those are maybe valid concerns but it’s not going to stop us, we still need to fix it. We’re still going to get to Las Vegas. We’re still going to get to our goal. But we can listen to him, but we don’t have to agree with him. We don’t have to engage in a conversation or an argument with him. We can just say, “Noted, Max, thank you for your opinion. We’re going to continue and this is what we’re going to do.” So there’s always the option to engage with him, pay attention to him. Let him rule your decisions or not.
And he could be an annoying little kid too. You’re not going to do everything that the kid tells you to do just because he’s sitting in the passenger seat and he’s really annoying. You’re not just going to be like, “Oh, you’re right, we shouldn’t go.” No, because you know better. You know better than the annoying passenger, Max. You know better than the child.
And so that’s what you have to remember is you can choose and so while self-doubt shows itself, it’s always a choice whether or not you listen to it or not. And so you get to make the choice of whether you want to go down the road of arguing with it your whole life. Or maybe there’s actually three options. You agree with it and you never go beyond where you’re at, or you move very slowly. You argue with it, you try to move forward and maybe you take some steps but self-doubt keeps winning.
Or you master it; you decide that you’re going to dominate it. And what that looks like is going through this process, which would be expecting it. Every time you want to do something new, it’s going to come up. Understanding it, it’s normal, there’s nothing wrong with me, it doesn’t mean stop unless I make it mean stop. Identify the self-doubt in detail, so write out all the thoughts you’re having, write out how you’re going to deal with them, how you’re going to tackle each one.
And then the final step is to decide what you want to believe about yourself. Do you want to keep believing that you’re not good enough, you’re not capable enough? You’re not able to add enough value or communicate your value well. Do you want to keep believing those things? And if not then become aware of that and realize that it’s a choice to believe something different.
Because many of us are in default, believing that we’re not good enough or not capable enough. And somewhere along the way maybe somebody said that, or somebody said something to us, or we picked this belief up somewhere. And really it serves us in no way.
So in my previous podcast I talked about the analogy of your dream job, your ideal role at your ideal pay, being at the top of the mountain and you’re walking up to it. And it’s a long hard climb, and that’s just you walking up.
And I imagine the self-doubt thoughts as really unnecessary boulders that just bring you – just slow you down and pull you down. And if you’re allowing all of those boulders to win and you’re hanging onto them then they’re just going to keep you at the bottom because you’re not going to be strong enough to lift yourself and go all the way to the top with those hanging on, or with those in your backpack. You have to remove those from your backpack because they serve you in no way.
So with that said, what do you want to believe? And what can you believe now about yourself? Because remember, your ability to grow is only going to be held down by your self-doubt, and self-doubt is a choice. So what is your opinion of yourself now? What do you think about yourself?
Now, a lot of my clients deep down know that they’ve done some pretty amazing things. They’re pretty accomplished, they do have good stories to talk about and they are very capable and they know that. They have had other people tell them that all the time and so they do know that. But they’re normally in the space where they’re letting the self-doubt be louder.
So Max is sitting there yelling at them and they are taking that in and listening to him and agreeing with him. They don’t want to, but that’s what’s happening. They’re like, “Yeah, I know, I know.” They’re like, “Shut up, I know. Shut up Max, I know.” And they believe that Max is telling the truth. And it shows up in a really realistic way too.
Max can be pretty convincing sometimes. He can say things that make a lot of sense and he can present a very good argument. So it makes sense that a lot of people get trapped in believing him and stop taking action because of what he says because he’s very loud and he’s very convincing.
So when you go through this process and you identify that then you can learn to tune him out on a regular basis. Acknowledge him, be like, “Yes, I know you’re there but I’m going this way. We are going, we are moving forward anyway, despite what you’re saying. And maybe you have some valid concerns, let’s look at them, let’s turn them into strategies and let’s go.”
So then you get to intentionally choose how you want to believe about yourself, or what you want to believe about yourself. And then your opinion of yourself and your ability to overcome the obstacles that Max brings forth is going to be what allows you to be successful, and your willingness to keep going even when there’s maybe more obstacles than you thought. Or it takes several tries to get over one obstacle.
So that’s how you’re going to choose to navigate the self-doubt in a different way, rather than on default, which is just taking it and not really knowing what to do with it and just kind of sitting in it. And the way we know you’re doing that is if you’re not taking action full speed ahead to get to where you want to go. So there’s two ways you can look at it. You can look at it like you’re taking a trip and you’re just going to plan out your trip. And I like that way of looking at it.
Or you can look at it like you’re climbing a mountain and your destination is at the top and you only want to take the things that are helpful with you. So the helpful things are going to be the thoughts about yourself, the beliefs about yourself that back up your capability, that support your capability.
And the self-doubt thinking is what doesn’t support your capability. So those are the heavy boulders that you really don’t need to pack in your backpack. Whereas the helpful tools, all the things you would want to climb a mountain with are going to be very helpful for you along the way. So things like supportive stories of you and things you’ve done in the past, things people have said to you that you believed. People can give you compliments and tell you that you’ve done an amazing job, unless you believe those things they don’t mean much to your self-confidence.
So you want to start with what do you know, what is already clear and start from there.
Alright, so I’m going to recap what I’ve talked about so far. So first expect the self-doubt to come up whenever you’re going to do something new that you’ve never done. Understand that it’s normal, nothing has gone wrong. You have a human brain and of course self-doubt is going to come up in one way or another and it can be very convincing. Three, face it head on, identify it in detail. So list out all the things, all of the thoughts and beliefs that you have that are self-doubt, that are driven by self-doubt, list them all out.
And then start thinking about how to overcome them. How will you put strategies in place to tackle each one of these thoughts? How will you reframe each one of these thoughts? How will you turn each one of those self-doubtful thoughts into an asset versus a boulder that weighs you down?
So this is something that I would help you do in our one-on-one coaching. This is one of the things that I do. And a lot of them you might not know you have and I’ll help you identify them. Because as long as you have those self-doubtful thoughts you’re going to be limited in what you can achieve and what you can do. So identifying them and deciding to face them and strategically planning for them is going to dictate how far you get in your life. So identify them, plan for them and create a strategy for them.
And then decide what you want to believe about yourself and what you want to believe about these obstacles. And then decide to intentionally move forward with your new beliefs. And then heads up that you might fail, you might run up against these obstacles a couple of times, maybe 10 times, 50 times. How many times are you willing to continue to face them in a different way? How resourceful are you willing to be? How creative in order to pass through them and learn the lesson that each one of them has to show you?
And then once you can work through this process for one goal you’ll be able to do it for any goal that you set for yourself.
Alright, that’s self-doubt. So hopefully this was helpful. I know a lot of people that come to me struggle with this and it’s held them back dramatically. And unraveling your self-doubt is one of my favorite things to do. And I get to flip it on its head and just kind of show you exactly how these obstacles aren’t really a problem for you. And how you can actually create a lot more for yourself when you start to see that they’re not facts, a lot of them are just beliefs that you’ve had for a long time that you weren’t really aware aren’t even a problem.
So if you’d like my help, head over to www.nataliefisheer.ca/getstarted and sign up for my free training where I will help you to start seeing the possibilities that are available for you.
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To get a chance to win one of these surprise gift baskets all you need to do is rate and review the show on iTunes. I want to create an awesome show that provides a ton of value. So please let me know if it’s resonating with you. To learn more about the contest and how to enter go to nataliefisher.ca/podcastlaunch. I’ll be announcing the winners on some upcoming episodes.
Thank you so much for listening. I look forward to talking to you next week. Bye.
Thanks for listening to this episode of Get a Better Job in 30 Days. If you’re ready to dive deeper into your career mindset and start making a serious impact in your industry, join me at nataliefisher.ca/getstarted. I will see you over there.