How to Handle a Crisis of Confidence

Taking a giant step towards pursuing a life-changing dream or goal is one of the most exhilarating things you’ll ever do. It’s also one of the most terrifying.

No matter how thrilled we are about a new life change, once the excitement wears off we often begin to second-guess ourselves. The nagging voice inside our heads starts to tell us that we’re not as talented as we think. It tries to convince us that our work isn’t good enough and we’re going to fail.

Whether it’s our own concerns or the feedback we get from others, the slightest bit of negativity can quickly grow into a monster of self-doubt. Sometimes it happens as soon as we make a decision. Other times it lingers under the surface, waiting to creep up at any point throughout our journey.

If left unchecked, this initial whisper of doubt can grow into a tinge of fear that eventually turns into gut-wrenching dread. We start to believe that we were crazy to think we could do it in the first place and seriously consider giving up.

These feelings are known as a crisis of confidence. Handing it appropriately is one of the single most important factors separating those who achieve their dreams from those who simply give up and settle for a life of mediocrity. Here’s what you can do to keep your crisis of confidence from holding you back.

Give Your Fears a Name

Giving a name to what’s happening to you is the first step to overcoming it. When you start to feel the dread, tell yourself:

“This isn’t real, I’m just having a crisis of confidence.”

Recognizing the source of your feelings gives you power over it.

Allow Yourself to Feel the Discomfort

Don’t try to ignore the way you feel. Burying your self-doubt or covering it up by telling yourself that “everything will be okay” might soothe you temporarily, but it’s not a long-term solution.

Acknowledge your fears and allow yourself to feel the discomfort. Once you’ve had sufficient time to experience your feelings, pull yourself up by your bootstraps and do something about it. The worst thing you can do is wallow in self-pity, take the victim role, and make decisions based on your fears.

Most things that are worth doing don’t come easily. Some discomfort is not only natural but often necessary. Take your time and feel the pain. Then get up and move on. When you succeed, it will make your victory that much sweeter.

Get Out of Your Head

When the voice in your starts telling you that you’re not good enough, you need to shut it up.

Find something you enjoy doing and throw yourself into it. Lace up your sneakers and go for a run. Practice yoga, meditate, read, dance, have sex. Whatever you do, do it with presence, pushing the negative thoughts and feelings out of your mind.

If you find that your mind is still racing, stop what you’re doing and choose another activity. Keep it up until the voice has been silenced and your mind feels clear.

Journal every day

Journaling helps you explore the subconscious thoughts that are feeding your crisis of confidence. It also gives you a safe space to vent your frustrations and brainstorm solutions.

Begin each day by writing down five things you’re grateful for. This practice helps you reframe your thoughts and stay positive even when things get hard.

If there’s a day you’re really feeling bad, challenge yourself to write down everything you’ve accomplished, all the things you’re good at doing, and what makes you a great person. Keep going until you’ve listed every little thing, down to the tiniest detail.

Acknowledging all the good things you’ve done so far will provide the boost you need to make it through the day. Keep adding to your list and you’ll soon learn the benefits of celebrating all of life’s little victories.

Evaluate Your Relationships

Do the people in your life support and encourage you, or are they constantly criticizing you and sabotaging your efforts? Relationships change over time, so stepping back and really evaluating the impact they’re having on your life may open you up to new realizations.

If you find that certain people in your life are causing more pain than joy, it may be time to take a step back. Consider severing ties or at least distancing yourself from those who aren’t making any positive contributions to your life.

Find a Support Structure

A positive support structure is critical when making a major life change. If you don’t already know other people who are going through the same situation, start looking for some. Check out some local networking events, Facebook groups, or even Connecting with like-minded people can help you explore new ideas. It will also give you insight into the kind of self-doubt that others are experiencing.

Look for a mentor to advise you. This should be someone whom you admire and respect. Try connecting with industry leaders or others who have already had success in achieving goals similar to yours.

Beware of looking towards family or friends when you’re having a crisis of confidence. Venting to someone who will add fuel to your fears will make you feel worse. Instead, look towards those who understand what you’re going through and will give you the support you need.

Don’t Let Yourself Go

It’s easy to get so wrapped up in your life-change that you start neglecting your own physical and mental health. It often starts with skipping the gym, eating take-out instead of cooking at home, or binging on comfort food when you start to feel overwhelmed. Unfortunately, these small changes have a way of piling up and spiraling out of control.

Take a step back to evaluate your life as it is right now. Have you started to neglect things that make you feel good? Achieving your goals will require commitment and sacrifice, but it’s important not to let yourself go in the process. Make sure you continue exercising regularly and getting enough sleep. Avoid over-committing yourself and make self-care a priority.

Seek Clarity and Revisit Your Game Plan

When the crisis of confidence hits, ask yourself why you chose your path in the first place and why it’s important to you. Write down every single thing you come up with. Keep adding things as they come to your mind and refer back to this list every time you feel like giving up.

Use the clarity you’ve found through this exercise to create a game plan. Break it down into reasonable tasks to complete over the next year, month, and week. Divide each weekly list into two or three things to get done each day. Each time you check something off your list, you’re taking steps towards achieving your major goal.

Push Yourself Out of Your Comfort Zone

True magic begins just outside of your comfort zone. Unfortunately, making this leap is usually far easier said than done.

Start your journey by doing one small thing each day that makes you nervous. As you begin seeing success with the little things, your confidence will build. Before you know it, you’ll be ready to tackle those major leaps of faith.

Don’t Let Your Crisis of Confidence Derail Your Goals

A crisis of confidence isn’t something that goes away right away. Some people are able to overcome it after only a few days, while others can take weeks, months, or even years. Remember that your individual journey is unique, and there’s no time limit for feeling better. Take steps each day to build up your confidence, and whatever you do, don’t give up. You’ve got this!

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