How to Take Charge of Your Self-Doubt Part 3

This is Part 3 in a 3-part series.  Here is Part 1 and Part 2

 

Source: Amy Wilblanks http://www.flickr.com/photos/arazas/

 

Self-doubt does not need to come between us and our dreams.

 

We can take back control over our fears and doubt.

 

In Part 1 you figured out where your self-doubt was stemming from.  In Part 2 you learned how to differentiate between a thought and a feeling and why that's important.

 

[Tweet "Laughter is poison to fear. ~ George R.R. Martin"]

 

Now we'll finish it up with some of the best tools.

 

Act as though you already are

 

What is your dream?  Okay, that's great!  Now you act as though that already is true.  Let's try one together.  I want to be a best-selling author (It's true, I do).  What does a best-selling author do?  Besides sign books?  Ha!

They write.

They read.

They promote.

They blog.

They are involved in their community.

They are involved in many online communities.

They help others.

What else am I missing?

 

I could break that down even further to really get into the nitty gritty.  I could look at what some of my favorite authors do and emulate them.  I won't go walking around offering to sign books (after all I wouldn't be signing mine just yet), but I will walk around telling myself and others that I am a writer, an author. I will tell myself that my writing is best-selling-book-grade writing.  What!

 

You want to be a painter?  Bam! You are.  You want to be a coach?  Bam! You are.  A proctologist?  Bam!  An esthetician?  Bam!  Of course, don't go operating on people if you haven't graduated yet.  You may have several steps to go to actually get there, but you tell yourself you're there and you'll start to believe it.

 

 

Source: Symphony of Love http://www.flickr.com/photos/pictoquotes/

 

 

The mind is a funny thing.  As a kid I would tell some made up story so much that over time I actually believed it was true.  Some of my childhood memories I don't even know if they ever happened.  I could have easily passed a lie detector test in the midst of an outlandish lie (I told some doozies -- I'll save that humiliation for another post) easily because I believed what I was saying.

 

Don't lie to yourself, but tell yourself you are that someone that you want to be often enough and you'll believe  (clap your hands if you believe in fairies).

 

Wait!

Did you see that heading up there?  It said act as though you are, not just say that you are.  That's a big difference.  Our actions and in-actions, our choices, are what shape our lives.  If we want a full, rich, meaningful life, we need to make choices and then follow them up with the actual doing part.

 

choices

 

The 3 tools of fear

 

tools of fear

 

1.  Discouragement

Something happens to us, or doesn't happen, and we're discouraged.  Maybe we didn't get as many page views or comments on our blog as we were hoping for.  Maybe we got a bad review, or someone unsubscribed.  An opportunity didn't work out. Or maybe someone did the same thing as you, but they succeeded when you didn't.

 

Talk about lame.  That hurts.  You try and you skin your knees.

 

Source: Massdistraction http://www.flickr.com/photos/sharynmorrow/

 

2.  Doubt

That's what this is all about: self-doubt.  You are discouraged and then you begin to doubt yourself, doubt your abilities, others, or even God (or whatever higher power you believe in). It's gone from "gosh, it didn't work out" to "it's just not possible."

 

This is even worse.  You don't think you'll be successful.  You don't think you can actually write, blog, paint, dance, coach, teach, operate, etc.

 

 

3.  Despair

This is the lowest level.  You say to yourself,  I'll never be able to do anything good.  I'll never amount to anything.  No one loves me, no one cares about me, I don't deserve to be loved or happy.  I'm a total screw up.  Nothing I want to do works out and nothing ever will.

 

This is heartbreaking.  This isn't where you want to be.  You'll never be able to do anything that brings you joy if you are in this stage beating yourself up.  No one deserves to be told this.  Ever.  Even those poor people that try out for some reality competition show that really can't dance or sing or whatever.  They may not be great at those things, but they are great at something.  Everyone is great at something.

 

Source: Mourner http://www.flickr.com/photos/mourner/

 

What do you do when you find yourself in any of these stages?  What do you do when you feel stuck?

 

The 3 tools of confidence

 

1.  Hope and Trust.

 

hope quote

 

Have hope in yourself and your abilities.

 

Have hope in others.

 

Your family, your friends, and other people out there in the world sincerely want to help you, guide you, and teach you.  They are there!  Since blogging I have found so many people out in the blogging community that truly care about helping me to succeed and to grow.  I am blown away by their sincerity and their advice.  There are others that you know that care about you.

 

Most of all, trust yourself.  Have faith and hope in your abilities.  Go back to your Part 1 exercises or start over again.  What are you thinking and feeling (part 2)?  Let's replace the negative thoughts and feelings with something a lot more realistic, logical, helpful, positive, and true.

 

thought progression

 

2.  Service.

Most of the time when we are stuck in a vortex of negative thinking it's because we are thinking of only ourselves.  We're on Me Planet. Captain You Planet (you can watch the whole video, it's hilarious, but the Cpt You Planet part starts at 3:53).

 

The best way to stop thinking about ourselves is to think about others.

 

Is there a charity that means a lot to you?  Is there a charity in your community that needs help, even if you don't know anything about it?

 

Is there someone - a family member, friend, neighbor, or stranger - that needs help?  It doesn't have to be major.  In fact, it's those little somethings that bring the biggest smiles.

 

Someone just had surgery or a baby?  Bring them a meal.  Someone just lost their pet? What could you do for them?  A stranger needs help jump starting their car, or a friendly or encouraging smile.  A friend needs a break from her kids, or needs help organizing her closet, or folding her laundry.  Maybe your brother needs a night out.  Maybe his job is stressing him out.

 

Source: Rosie O'Breine http://www.flickr.com/photos/rosieobeirne/

 

The more we think of ways to help others the better you'll feel.  Weird isn't it?  You help others with their issues and the joy you feel gets deep inside your heart and sets roots.  You will feel encouraged and lightened, even if you weren't directly working on your problem.  You never know, maybe someone you help can in turn help you in other ways.

 

We need to get out of our way and realize that the world doesn't revolve around us.  This world is a community.  We each do better by helping others do better.

 

3.  Meditation.

I'm not saying you should sit on the ground, ankles crossed, fingers pinched and say "omm" over and over again.  You can if you want to though!  Take time every day.  In the morning, in the afternoon, at the close of your day.  Take some time to just sit and think. Or not think.

 

Photo source: Moyan Brenn http://www.flickr.com/photos/aigle_dore/ Quote addition: Me!

 

Just be still and quiet and at peace for a time.  If you are going to think, think of positive action oriented things.  Think of the good in your life, think of the positive steps you're taking.  Celebrate your successes.  Brainstorm ways you could tweak something you've been working on.  Give yourself a break.  Do you need help? Where could you go to get help?  Who could you go to?  If you are religious, say a prayer from the heart.

 

{Tweet "Courage is fear that has said its prayers. ~ Dorothy Bernard"]

 

easelly_visual

 

Gratitude

Be grateful for what you have, no matter how small.  Just like the song from White Christmas, count your blessings.

 

The place you live in, your comfy bed, your food, your job, your ability to read, your freedom, the mountains, the sun, the stars, your favorite candy, water, toothpaste, and on and on and on.

 

[Tweet "When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears. ~ Anthony Robbins"]

 

Here's another challenge for you: keep a gratitude journal.   I kept a gratitude journal a few years back when I was having a hard time and it changed my outlook within days.  I listed the big to the mundane.  I thought of everything I could in one sitting each day.  Even if it takes a while to get rolling  just write until either your hand or your brain is dead.  Keep a gratitude journal for at least one week, that's 7 days folks!  That's not too rough.

 

In the end...

 

I have really enjoyed writing this series and I hope that it has helped you.  We do not have to let self-doubt keep us from living and being happy.  You ought to be confident and hopeful.  You have so much to offer.  Self-doubt can come and go in cycles.  You may be feeling great now (yay), but then for whatever reason hit a slump.  That's okay.  Stand up, read these posts again, and get back to work.  If you need me, I'm here!

 

Source: Always Thirteen http://www.flickr.com/photos/dlba13/

 

Your Turn

 

What things have you done that have helped you let go of your self-doubt?  Let us know some new strategies in the comments.  Also, I'd love to hear your thoughts on these latest steps.

 

[Tweet "Take charge of your self-doubt now!"]

 

 

 

 

 

How to Take Charge of Your Self-Doubt Part 2

This is Part 2 in a 3 part series.  If you missed Part 1 go read it, then come back. I won't go anywhere without you!

You're still alive!  I didn't have to put you on sui-watch after Part 1!  I have fun stories about putting people on sui-watch.

 

Self-doubt is a pesky thing I'd like to take a pick ax to.  You feel the same way? Well, read on my friend, read on!

 

Put Yourself Back in Control

Remember that list of negative thoughts? Pull them back out!  We're going to do a little exercise.

 

Really? Again?

Stop your whining folks.

This is you.

 

Step 1

Take your paper filled with negativity and then look at the first one. You're going to replace that thought with a correct one.  You can take as much time and as many sentences as you need to dispute and dispel your snippet of self-doubt.

 

Here's one of mine:

 

No one will care what you have to say.

Umm, that's not true. My mom cares.  Oh! So do my husband and children. I have friends that go out of their way to support me and listen to what I have to say.  I have important things to share; I can be useful and helpful to others.

 

It's your turn now.  You may have too many to do it all in one sitting.  You will see that many of them overlap and won't require you to do the exercise for each and every single thought.

 

[Tweet "Replace negative thoughts with the truth."]

[Tweet "Devour your fear. ~ Simon Holt."]

 

 

Step 2

When we start throwing our emotions around and don't identify and separate our thoughts from our feelings we lose control of ourselves.  An I Feel statement is a great tool to put you back in control.

 

What is an I Feel statement?  I'll show you the outline of it and then give an example.

 

I feel _____ because I think that I _____.  My hope for myself is _____. My hope for you is _____.

 

Your feelings flow from your thoughts. They are not the same thing.  I don't feel like I'm unsuccessful. I don't feel that you're a jerk. (you're not, by the way). I cannot feel a thought.  You feel a feeling.  Ya dig?  So keep the I feel a feeling.

 

Also, keep it about yourself, not others.  You don't feel something because of what others do to you.  You feel something because of your own thought.  We have to be accountable for our own thoughts and feelings. Hence the because I think that I part.

 

shout

Sorry folks. I'll give an example based on my above self-doubt and you'll see what I mean.

 

I feel discouraged because I think that I am not comfortable putting myself out there.  My hope for myself is that I will push myself to make sincere connections.  My hope for you  is that you will recognize my efforts to be sincere.

 

Your knee-jerk reaction may be to say something full of self-pity.  Or a thought that may be out of your control.  For instance, I could have said because I think that I am unpopular.  or because I think that I am unsuccessful.  or because I think that no one likes me.  The first two are out of your control and full of self-pity. The latter, isn't even about me: it didn't even start with I.  

 

The I Feel statement and its rules empower me.  No one else can dictate how I feel.  I do that.  It helps me to be a better communicator to my friends and family.  I take better accountability for my actions and in-actions.

 

[Tweet "Mastering others is strength. Mastering oneself makes you fearless. ~ Lao Tzu."]

 

Your turn!  Take the self-doubt that is the biggest stumbling block for you.  Now put that into an I Feel statement.  What is the feeling that you associate with it?  What is the thought associated with that feeling?  It helps you break it down into your mind of what it really is and where it's really coming from.  It's not from my brother and all his accomplishments.  It's from me.  It's not from that amazing best-selling author that I compare myself to.  It's from me.  Whatever it is you're fearing and doubting is from you.

 

[Tweet "Your fear is 100% dependent on you for its survival. ~ Steve Maraboli."]

Step 3

Take action!

 

In your I Feel statement, in the "my wish for myself" section, you are guided to what needs to be done next. Now is the time for attainable steps.

 

In my first example sentence I said that I will push myself to make sincere connections.  How?  It is an ambiguous statement.  It's not concrete and it's not measurable.  It's a hope: not a goal and not an action.

Photo courtesy of Michaela Kobyakov.

How am I going to push myself to make sincere connections?

  • I will be involved with my friends in various ways -- phone calls, play dates, girls night out, game night, emails, connect on FB
  • I will be involved on my Facebook fan page in various ways -- polls, conversations, recommendations, contests
  • I will engage in conversations on Twitter.
  • I will follow new people with similar interests on Twitter -- real people, not the ones that are solely pushing products.
  • I will get involved on the blogs that are meaningful to me. -- commenting, replying to others' comments, guest posting, encourage
  • I will be involved in forums and groups and be fully supportive to others.

 

These are all steps I will take to foster real relationships.  They will ensure that my purpose and my passion remain authentic and true.  I want people to perceive me as I am - genuinely interested in their success and happiness.  When I do this with concentrated effort I know I will be successful in accomplishing my goals.

 

My only remaining step is to make these measurable.  I will do such and such 3x a week, etc.  Then I set a date to evaluate my progress.

 

What am I supposed to do again?

  1. Disprove your negative thoughts - replace them with truths.
  2. Write down your I Feel statement.
  3. Take action. List goals and steps to make your hope from #2 happen.

 

[Tweet "Disprove, I Feel, Take Action."]

 

Was it hard for you to work through your I Feel statement?  What are some steps you are taking towards your new goals?  Share your I Feel statement with me! I'd be happy to help you if you're stuck.

 

Stay tuned for Part 3!  [Part 3 is now here!]

 

 

 

 

How to Take Charge of Your Self-Doubt Part I

Note: This is Part 1 in a 3 part series.  I will update this post with links to Parts 2 and 3.

 

We have all been there.  Yes, I just put you in a corner (don't put baby in a corner).  I am not immune to self-doubt.  I do not think there are many people out there that are.  If they are I'd like to slap them until they begin to doubt themselves.  No, no, I jest.  I applaud them.  After all, that is why I'm writing this post.

 

depressed woman

 

Common Negative Thoughts

What's the first thing you say to yourself when you get lost in your "Dream?"  You know, the big one.  The one you've been dying to get started on, or have just put your toe into. I'll share some of mine.  "You're not good enough."  "You'll never be as good as --"  "No one will care what you have to say/do."  "You won't be successful."  "You'll get the worst reviews anyone has ever seen."  "No one will read your book."  "If someone does read it they'll mock it until the day they die."

 

The last one was dramatic, I admit, but when are we ever not dramatic?  I can feel thousands more just poking at my brain, begging to be released onto this post.  I won't overwhelm you with all my self-doubt.

 

Where do these stem from?  What's the pattern of my negativity?

 

Fears

We all have fear.  I am one of the most fearful people I know.  Besides Monk.

 depressed man

 

Fear of Rejection

To me this dictated how I acted in my growing up years.  I was so scared of rejection that I would be friends with anyone who was remotely friendly.  Even if they were the worst kind of people.  I would pretend I knew all about a certain band or show or celebrity just so I wouldn't be made fun of.  I stopped doing that after one friend caught me in it.  She made up some band and asked me if I liked their music.  When I agreed she called me a liar.  Eek.  Thankfully my storytelling (read lying) got me out of that one real fast.  I never pretended to know about something I didn't after that!

Ones fear of rejection is ones fear of love. ~ Alexandria Honey

Fear of Comparison

I'm sure you hate being compared to anyone or anything as much as I do.  Of course, if you're comparing my writing ability to a child's then I'll win happily.  I have a brother who is just sickening.  I am a jack-of-all-trades kind of girl, but he is the Master-of-all-trades kind of guy.  He never played soccer before, joined a club, and the week later the University he went to was asking him to play on the team.  He wants to work with wood so all of a sudden he's a master carpenter.  He can do any outdoor activity there is.  Rock climbing, ice climbing, cave diving (and I mean the real scary ones that no one has gone in before), river rafting, sky diving (all the cool moves included), and on and on and on.  If the stores ran out of food today the man could survive off the land for the rest of his days without a worry.  He is also hilarious.  And handsome (all my friends were in love with him).  He can act!  He can sing!  He paints! He is an amazing writer!  He is a wonderful husband and father.  He is intelligent.  He knows all there is to know about business.  "He speaks Kiribati fluently.  I'm telling you, he can't do anything wrong.    Now you're thinking, where in the blink is his blog so I can read it instead of yours?  Ha!  He doesn't have one!  Yet.  He could fart in someone's face and people would say it smelt of roses.  I'm here to tell you his farts are lethal.  I lived through them.  Barely.  I have let my fear of being compared to my brother, J, keep me from venturing out and trying out my own dreams.  I'd never be able to master anything to the degree he could nor as quickly.   I love you, you dirty rat!

 

Fear of Success

This one is a weird one for me.  My dad is the one that told me I was scared of success.  I don't get it, but I'm sure I've got it.  It probably has a lot to do with my fear of being compared to my wizard brother. Where is the number to that psychologist?

 

[Tweet "Fear kills everything. Your mind, your heart, your imagination. ~ Cornelia Funke"]

 

Your Next Steps

Get out paper and a pen.  Think of the goals, dreams, and projects that are on your to-do list.  See that one that's waving its arms at you like a kid dying to be called on in class? That's begging for you to pick it?  Yeah, that one.  Pick that one.

Put that on a new sheet of paper.

Now, the scariest bit.  Write down all those negative thoughts associated with it.  Every single one.  Don't dwell on them, just get them out quick.

Do you see a pattern?  Is there a theme to the fears on your paper?

 

[Tweet "If a fear cannot be articulated, it can't be conquered. ~ Stephen King"]

 

To avoid leaving you in a pit of despair and vowing to never again attempt a dream I'd like to leave you with something positive.

light and quote

 

[Tweet "If you will you can."]

 

Part 2 has arrived!!

What is the goal you want to accomplish the most?  What is a fear you associate with this dream?  I shared a few of mine!  I won't judge you!  Unless your goal is to destroy the world or the Tri-state area.  I'm looking at you Doofenshmirtz.