How to Transcend Self-Doubt to Show Up as YOU
I grew up in NYC during a time when I was sent out on Saturday mornings, after chores, and expected not to return until I was hungry or needed the facilities…whichever came first. Scores of children could be found outside on my block: roller skating, riding bikes, jumping double-dutch, or playing cards on someone’s stoop (that’s a ‘porch’ in the city). At times, when a good group of us got tired from running around or had enough of playing Spit and Spades, we’d settle down for a good game of Truth or Dare.
Games like this would often give me pause. In it, I could let my curiosity about my friends take flight. I felt like choosing Truth was just as “daring” as Dare because you never knew which truth you’d hear or be forced to reveal. In my mind, that was a win-win. It felt liberating to me.
Let me explain…
In other spaces in my life, my biggish personality and ideas were restricted. In school, I talked too much and had too many feelings and opinions. At home, I got into everything, from siblings’ rooms to their conversations. I was (am) a curious (not in the nosy sense) person, who dreams and dares BIG. So, games like Truth or Dare were my opportunity to be a bit more of myself than I was taught that I ought to be. 😉
However, a childhood marked with the restriction of self creates certain habits. The subtle lesson to dim your brilliance so others won’t be outshined is learned. Then, it’s easy to doubt whether your instinctive choice is the right one or to quietly let others lead as an act of self-control.
Habits like these persist into adulthood. Researchers found that in development, repetitive thoughts and behaviors (habits) create groves or pathways in the brain. To reshape thinking, new neural pathways must be established.
The personal development work that I’ve done over the past two decades or more has been the basis for the conscious and intentional rewiring of my brain. Yet, there are moments when self-doubt looms large and I find myself self-sabotaging, trying to make myself small for the sake of someone else. I’ve learned to address this tendency by engaging three strategies. I hope they help you.
One definition of confidence is to be self-possessed, meaning you own you. Therefore, you get to choose how you treat you. Most react to doubt with condemnation, criticizing themselves in their self-talk. Turn that around. Consider other situations that have confronted you. How did you get out of them? Researchers behind the book, High Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard, found that the most successful and confident people in the world experience doubt, as well. However, they define confidence as belief in the ability to figure things out. Marie Forleo says it like this: “Everything is figureoutable.”
Looking at my doubts through a solution-oriented lens shifts my focus from the issue and my insecurities to my track record of strategic wins. I immediately become encouraged and begin to speak better of and to myself.
GET CLEAR. PLAN ACCORDINGLY. KEEP AT IT.
Too many of us are going through life allowing it to happen to us. We are in a vicious cycle of reacting to our families and colleagues, friends and neighbors. We react to our commitments and time limitations. Rarely, do we respond.
A response requires a level of intentionality. But first, be clear about what is the intention. Decide who you want to show up as in your world. Then live that out. For example, if you have a certain co-worker that rubs you the wrong way, decide in advance how you will treat her. If your intention is to be a person who is gracious and kind then extend grace to her. No matter how she decides to respond or react, you choose to greet her with a smile and well wish. Then, continue with your day.
Finally, be consistent. Be the person you intent to be, in every interaction. Your internal character and external image will change and become aligned.
Take about fifteen minutes daily, and maybe a little longer on a weekly basis, to reflect on how you’ve showed up that day or week. Ask yourself questions, seeking to learn from, not judge, your choices and behavior.
I’m working to free myself from the tyranny of time management, and have been growing in priority management. (More on that in a future post.) So, every Sunday, when I do my weekly planning, I reflect on how I’ve dealt with time for the week. Did I get anxious over the lack of it? Did I squander it? Did I think openly about my time? Did I try to pile too many things into any time frame? Answers to these, and more questions help me to evaluate my progress and to adjust, accordingly.
Without regular times of reflection, there isn’t an opportunity to learn how I’m really living. I get caught up in the day to day, and inevitably drift away from the person I’ve decided to be.
Now don’t get me wrong. This is not about perfection. No one is perfect. However, there is a perfecting (as in maturation) process that we each are enveloped in, whether we recognize it or not. The more we work in concert with it, the closer to living out our best lives we will be.
The next time doubt runs rampant, try these three steps to reset your confidence. And let me know how it works for you.
Until next time…