Gwen Lane

For anyone operating within the public eye or putting themselves out there to further their career and business, it’s easy to dismiss self-doubt as simply a natural part of life; always there, always something you’ll struggle with.

As a female entrepreneur and woman of color with a lot of past trauma and emotional baggage, self-doubt, shame, comparison, imposter syndrome, and perfectionism were all things I dealt with frequently throughout the early years of my career and business. 

I remember thinking that that’s just how I was – just how everyone was. That it wasn’t something I could fight or overcome, and that I just had to deal with the constant, nagging feeling that I wasn’t good enough.

After all, it wasn’t hurting anyone besides myself, right? Wrong.

Self-doubt isn’t just restricted to only your personal life – it affects you, your business, and everyone around you.

The truth is, when you doubt yourself and what you’re capable of, not only are you limiting your potential, growth in your business, and the positive impact you can make through your brand, you’re also giving others around you permission to doubt themselves as well, and to perpetually go through life thinking they’re not good enough. 

Ready to crush doubt and say “no” to the feelings that you’re not good enough, while learning to optimize your impact and say “yes” to the things you want in life?

Here are five ways to overcome self-doubt.

1) Start from within

You can’t fix something until you know exactly what’s broken and what caused it. To do this, take the time to write down your deepest fears, insecurities, or doubts you have about yourself, before writing down the stories behind each one and when you first started to notice them appearing. 

Ask yourself, why do you have these insecurities? What do you think caused them? What could happen if you pushed past them? Is there mindset work you should start doing to rewrite harmful narratives people have told you in the past?

When you do this, I encourage you to take a day where you can be alone and think, without the pressure of work or responsibilities weighing over you, so if any emotions or past experiences come up, you can deal with them in a safe, healthy, and productive way.

There’s a reason why you feel the things you do and why your brain is wired the way it is. So release feelings of helplessness, and instead, get proactive about peering into your past and the deeper issues at play.

You deserve to feel happy and valued!

2) Seek help

Our worst critic is always ourselves. Oftentimes, we need help getting out of our own head to see things from a different perspective.

Whenever you’re facing feelings of self-doubt, don’t be afraid to ask friends and family for a second opinion on your work, or for encouragement on specific things that you do well or that they love about you and your character. 

Whenever you do get positive reinforcement, write them down and tack them up above your workspace or mirror, or repeat them to yourself within daily affirmations.

Additionally, don’t be afraid to seek help from those outside of your inner circle as well, to get an unbiased opinion on things. Anonymous support groups, workmates, or trained mental health professionals are great outlets to help you see things from a different perspective.

3) Stop seeking validation

This might seem like a contradiction to the last step, but in order to overcome feelings of self-doubt, you have to stop relying on validation from others.

Getting people’s perspectives – especially from those you trust – is a great way to see things from another angle. Everyone else’s opinion is just that: an opinion that’s biased by their own experiences and personal agenda.

If you’re too busy chasing approval from others, you’ll never have time to do what makes you feel fulfilled, and what’s more, people won’t want to listen to you simply because they’ll know you’re not speaking in an authentic way from your own experiences or insight. 

While if you need validation from others to feel worthy or to do something, you’re only setting yourself up for failure and roadblocks when someone inevitably lets you down.Throughout your whole life, you’re stuck with one person and that’s you.

Make sure you like being around yourself, by learning to do the mindset work, manifesting your best self and showing up as that person, and validating yourself through daily affirmations, positive reinforcement, and celebrating your wins with little rewards or self-care.

4) Let go of comparison

With everything on the internet nowadays and social media perpetuating a culture of fake, curated images of what people’s lives are like, playing the comparison game leads to nowhere.

Everyone is operating off of different experiences, desires, skills, and places in life. It’s unfair to you and everyone else you hope to impact through your business to compare your journey to someone else’s. 

Your story is still being written each day, and it would be a very boring world if it looked exactly like everyone else’s. Release yourself of unnecessary expectations, and practice being proud of yourself exactly where you are and for who you are.

5) Do the work 

After everything is said and done, self-doubt is almost always a manifestation of fear. Whether that’s fear of failure or success, rejection or judgment, the only way past it is through it. 

The only way you’ll get over self-doubt is by training your mind to stop listening to it as fact, and pushing past it to take action in spite of the fear – even if you think the end result is less than perfect.

Spoiler alert: perfection doesn’t exist. It’s a myth! No one in the history of the world has ever been perfect, and you won’t be either, so stop trying to do everything perfectly, and instead just try to do your best. 

Embrace your imperfections and use them to connect with others, being vulnerable with your struggles, sharing your story, and making a positive impact throughout your life and business by simply being yourself.

No matter what, you are a valuable, loved, talented, and capable human being, worthy of good things and the success you dream of. So don’t let anyone – especially yourself – convince you otherwise.

Photo Credit: Gwen Lane