How To Overcome Self-Doubt

20/09/2022, Laura Rachel, Life Coach and NLP Practitioner

We all experience self-doubt at times. Maybe you have a project you’d like to start, a major event you’d like to attend, a job application you want to make or an opportunity for a more senior role at work. You know it’s something you really want to go for, but then that negative voice creeps in telling you you’re not good enough. You begin to question yourself, your capabilities and before you know it you’ve shut the idea down.

Self-doubt prevents us from reaching our full potential, expressing our true self and taking the action we really want to. Many clients I work with have something they would love to do or an idea that they’ve been sitting on for a long time, but doubt has kept them where they are. It could be something as simple as wearing a dress that’s different to your usual style or speaking up for yourself in a situation that makes you uncomfortable.

Where Does Self-Doubt Come From?

We absorb many different beliefs throughout life and as we grow up, we’re told that it takes a certain kind of person to achieve this or that. We can start to question whether a certain goal possible for us, based on factors like our personality, our background, our appearance, or we may not even consider that it could be possible for us because we’ve already discounted the idea.

So, how do we overcome self-doubt? Here are 6 ways to silence it:

Uncover The Fear Behind It

Self-doubt is a form of fear. Common fears are: fear of not being good enough, not being liked, fear of failing, fear of judgement and fear of shining too brightly.

Understanding that fear is a protection mechanism can be extremely helpful. Fear exists to prevent us from doing something outside our comfort zone, where we could risk experiencing negative emotions, like shame, and feeling hurt. Recognising this makes it easier to step back and view the doubt and underlying fear more objectively.

Ask yourself: What is the fear behind my doubt?

Clarify Your Values

When you get clear on what’s important to you and what drives you (i.e. your values), you will find your self-doubt lessens. Identifying and pursuing your values helps you to connect to your true self and feel empowered. It also helps you to feel more confident making decisions about which direction to take or what to say yes and no to because you have your values to guide you. 

Listen To Your Rational Voice

Often, you know you are perfectly capable of what you want to do and your self-doubt isn’t accurate. Ask yourself “How can I look at this fear in a more rational way?”

Look To The Past For Proof

Our subconscious is always looking for proof to confirm our beliefs. When we provide proof that we are capable of doing what we want to, the idea that we aren’t weakens. Keeping a record of the times you have acted and do act in line with the belief you would like to create is very effective. Start with looking to your past for times when you have done something similar or behaved in a similar way and add to your list as you go through the week.  

To start: list 3 times you have done something similar in the past or shown you have the ability to do so. 

Treat Yourself With Compassion

We sometimes think that berating ourselves will motivate us. Self-criticism never helps. It makes us less confident about taking action Self-compassion builds our self-confidence and it is key for a healthy relationship with yourself. If you often judge yourself for your behaviour or for the choices you make, try to become aware of how you are talking to yourself and replace this with a more compassionate approach. Think about what you would say to a loved one who is struggling with self-doubt and respond to yourself in the same way. 

Focus On Your Own Strengths

It’s all too easy to get caught up in the comparison trap, especially now that social media plays such a prominent role in our lives and we have a far greater number of people to compare ourselves to. Self-doubt can quickly sneak up on us when we start to look at others. Bring the focus back to you. What qualities and strengths do you love about yourself? What are you good at? What are you proud of achieving? Look back at the past 3 months and make a note of the times you’ve felt proud of yourself or achieved something, however small.

About The Author
Laura is a Life Coach and NLP Practitioner who specialises in helping women overcome self-doubt, perfectionism, low self-esteem and overwhelm and find deep fulfilment and self-worth. By working through the conscious and subconscious blocks that may be holding them back, Laura helps her clients to reconnect to themselves, get their mindset on their side and start living life in the way they would really like to be living it.

Laura offers 1:1 coaching sessions online and in-person in the Cotswolds, as well as delivering workshops, webinars and wellness events.

Prior to training as a Coach, Laura was a Management Consultant and later qualified as a Secondary School Teacher and Mental Health Ambassador for young people. She completed her postgraduate degree at Oxford University and carried out extensive research on self-worth, which continues to be her key area of expertise.


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