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Tackling Self Doubt

    The self-doubt gremlin likes to attack frequently and is armed with a pointy spear, relentlessly attacking your vulnerable core. We’ve all been there, hearing that little voice inside our heads whispering malicious thoughts like, “You’re not good enough,” “You’ll never succeed,” and “You’re a failure.” How do you shake off this gremlin?

    Self-Doubt: The Dream Killer

    Self-doubt is a lethal assassin, preying on your dreams and sabotaging your inner peace. I’ve witnessed capable and intelligent managers leave their jobs, waste precious time attempting to prove their worth, and drain their emotional energy all because of this nasty foe. I confess, I too fell victim to its clutches.

    When you doubt yourself, you give up control of your actions and emotions, becoming a puppet in the hands of others. Your energy is consumed by people-pleasing or striving for outcomes that may hold no true importance. The result? Anxiety, sleepless nights, and indulging in large amounts of chocolate. In summary, nothing positive comes from self-doubt.

    Why Do We Doubt Ourselves?

    Our minds possess incredible power, but they can also become agents of self-destruction when we listen to the negative chatter within. Self-doubt creeps in through various channels: past experiences, failures, negative influences, and unrealistic expectations. However, no one secures a job being 100% qualified and excelling in every aspect. Mistakes are inevitable. Not every target you set, or that is set for you, will be reached. Growth and development are part of the process. Without failures and mistakes, life loses its vibrancy and excitement.

    The Conflict of Desires

    One revelation I had about self-doubt was the clash of desires. On one hand, I craved a role that would challenge me, while on the other hand, I expected perfection and instant expertise. However, challenge and perfectionism will duke it out for eternity. A rational being would comprehend that embracing challenges means embracing continuous change and learning from errors to achieve personal growth. Nevertheless, whenever I felt inadequate, I allowed the gremlin to plunge its spear into my ego-driven need to know everything.

    Are your desires realistic and complimentary or do they cause conflict?

    The Pull of External Influences

    Letting external influences rule my life was a mistake I made. I got so caught up in trying to please everyone and prove myself that I completely forgot about my own values and needs. I sacrificed my precious work-life balance and worked way harder than I needed to. But who was I trying to prove myself to? I couldn’t even remember.


    If we reflect on this example, did I fundamentally change from Year 1 to Year 2? It’s probable that I acquired new skills and became more effective in my role. So why did I suddenly feel inadequate? The problem lies in measuring my self-worth against someone else’s arbitrary benchmark. What’s more, it’s not even an individual but a faceless company—a mere construct. How logical does that sound?

    Clearly, it makes no sense. Yet our world revolves around winning, comparing, and striving to measure up— a never-ending pursuit. Have you ever engaged in conversation with someone and thought, “Wow, they are so…(insert any admirable quality here)?” Suddenly, you become acutely aware of your own inadequacies and start thinking about how to improve. In such moments, we forget to pause and consider whether those qualities are even important to us.

    People Pleasing

    We’ve all come across people who love to stomp all over our self-esteem, intentionally or not. But here’s the thing – they can only do it if we let them. Repeat after me: if we let them. Trust me, I’ve been there too, struggling to draw the line between my own values and what others think. But caring about people and caring about their opinions are two totally different beasts. If you’re a people pleaser, you end up sacrificing your precious time and energy for something that might not even be real.


    Self-trust is a key ingredient for boosting our confidence and finding true fulfillment. It’s important to take a moment and ask ourselves: Do we really trust ourselves? Can we rely on our own abilities and decisions? Are we good at keeping promises and sticking to our commitments or do we often feel like we’re dropping the ball and doubting our own skills?

    Limiting Beliefs and Negative Self-Talk

    Limiting beliefs and negative self-talk can be significant barriers to our personal growth and success. These internal thoughts and beliefs often stem from past experiences, expectations, or fear of failure. They have the power to hold us back, undermine our confidence, and prevent us from reaching our full potential.

    Tackling the Self-Doubt Gremlin

    I may not possess all the credentials of an expert, but I’ve been through my fair share of self-doubt battles. I used to waste so much of my precious time and energy worrying about what others thought about me. But here’s the truth bomb: most people aren’t spending their days fixated on us. They’re too busy dealing with their own lives, wrapped up in their own thoughts and worries.

    Controlling Commitments

    Over-committing is a sure-fire stress inducer and can seriously undermine our self-trust. When we take on more than we can handle, we’re setting ourselves up for failure and slowly chipping away at our belief in ourselves. That’s why it’s important to recognize our limitations and make conscious choices about where we invest our energy. Striking a healthy balance is the name of the game!

    Silencing the Gremlin

    Identifying our negative self-talk and limiting beliefs is the first step towards overcoming them. Take a moment to reflect on the recurring negative thoughts or beliefs that frequently surface. Are there any specific areas of your life where you constantly doubt your abilities or worthiness?

    When you identify limiting beliefs, it’s important to question their validity. Ask yourself: What evidence do I have to support this belief? Is it based on past experiences or unfounded assumptions? Often, we realize that these beliefs are not grounded in reality and are merely self-imposed barriers. You can challenge your limiting beliefs and negative thoughts by reframing them in a more positive light. Here are some examples:

    Reframing Limiting Beliefs

    1. Limiting belief: “I have to do everything myself to ensure it’s done right.” This belief can prevent a manager from delegating tasks and trusting their team members to take on responsibilities. It creates a bottleneck in productivity and growth because the manager becomes overwhelmed and unable to effectively handle their workload. Holding onto this belief limits a person’s potential and the growth of their team.

    Empowering belief: “I trust my team members’ abilities and delegate tasks accordingly.”

    Reframed belief: “By delegating tasks to my capable team members, I can leverage their strengths and empower them to contribute to our collective success. This allows me to focus on activities that matter most.”

    2. Limiting belief: “I’m not qualified or experienced enough to lead this team.” This belief undermines confidence and hinders a manager’s ability to make decisions and provide guidance. It can lead to self-doubt and a lack of assertiveness, which can affect team morale and performance. By giving in to this limiting belief, a manager may miss out on valuable opportunities for growth and development, and may not fully utilize their existing skills and knowledge to lead their team effectively.

    Empowering belief: “I have the skills, knowledge, and experience necessary to lead this team effectively.”

    Reframed belief: “I am constantly learning and growing as a leader. My unique combination of skills, knowledge, and experience equips me to guide and inspire my team members, boosting their growth and achieving shared goals.”

    3. Limiting belief: “I must be perfect and never make mistakes as a manager.” This belief places unrealistic pressure on a manager to be flawless and can create fear of failure. It can lead to hesitation in decision-making and an aversion to taking risks. By holding onto this belief, one may miss out on valuable learning opportunities and hinder their own growth and development as a leader.

    Empowering belief:Mistakes are opportunities for growth and learning as a manager.”

    Reframed belief: “As a manager, I embrace mistakes as valuable learning experiences. They provide me with insights, allow me to course-correct, and enable me to lead with greater wisdom and resilience.”

    To counter negative self-talk, be kind to yourself. Instead of berating yourself for perceived shortcomings or mistakes, choose to replace self-criticism with self-encouragement. Remind yourself of your strengths, achievements, and the progress you have made.

    Reframing negative self-talk

    Negative self-talk: “I’m not cut out to be a manager. I don’t have what it takes to lead a team effectively.”

    Reframed thought: “I have unique strengths and skills that make me an effective manager. I am continuously learning and growing in my role.”
    Shift the focus from self-doubt and feelings of inadequacy to recognizing your strengths and potential as a manager.

    Negative self-talk: “I’m too overwhelmed and stressed to lead my team successfully. I can’t handle all the responsibilities.”

    Reframed thought: “I have the ability to manage my workload effectively and prioritize tasks. I am capable of creating a balanced and productive work environment for my team.”
    The reframed thought acknowledges the challenges and feelings of overwhelm but focuses on your capacity to handle responsibilities as a manager. It emphasizes the ability to manage workload effectively, prioritize tasks, and create a balanced work environment. This shift in mindset can empower you to take proactive steps and maintain a positive outlook.

    Shifting Your Focus

    If you tend to dwell on what others think, try to flip the script and focus your thoughts outward, on what you can do for others. Trust me, it’s way more productive than getting caught up in our own imagined perceptions of how others see us. Instead of measuring our worth against some random standards, let’s redirect our attention to our true purpose and focus on why we signed up for a management role.

    Let’s say we start doubting our value as a manager because we didn’t meet some company targets. Well, forget those targets for a second. Let’s zoom in on our real goal: helping our team members reach their full potential and creating a collaborative work environment. When we assess whether our employees are growing, reaching their potential, and working together like a well-oiled machine, that’s when we can truly gauge our progress based on what really matters.

    Confronting the Self-Doubt Gremlin

    We were chosen for the role of manager because someone saw something special in us. We’ve got to hold onto that belief and never let it waver. When those pesky doubts start creeping in because of all the noise from the outside world, we’ve got to stay grounded in our own motivations and aspirations. Let’s remember why we’re here and the incredible impact we can make.

    Instead of seeking validation from others, let’s strive to be the best versions of ourselves, continuously learning and evolving. It’s time to break free from the clutches of external influences and take charge of our own destiny. We’ve got this!

    Becoming aware of the self-doubt gremlin and the harmful messages it sends to our minds is the first step toward reclaiming our power. Visualize plucking the gremlin out of your head, casting it onto the floor, and stomping on it like a child throwing a tantrum. Let this imagery symbolize your refusal to be swayed by self-doubt and your determination to silence that inner critic.

    Vincent Willem van Gogh’s quote beautifully captures the essence of overcoming self-doubt.

    If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.

    Vincent Willem van Gogh

    If that voice within you whispers that you cannot accomplish something, seize the brush and paint your own masterpiece. By taking action, defying self-doubt, and pursuing your passions, you prove that voice wrong.

    Ponder Points

    • What are my self-doubt triggers?
    • What are some specific instances where I have allowed self-doubt to hold me back from pursuing my goals or taking risks?
    • How has self-doubt impacted my self-esteem and overall sense of confidence in various areas of my life?
    • What are some negative self-talk patterns or limiting beliefs that contribute to my self-doubt, and how can I challenge and reframe them?
    • In what ways have I sought external validation or relied on others’ opinions to validate my worth? How can I shift my focus to cultivating self-approval?

    Share your thoughts and experiences on self-doubt in the comments.

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