“It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not”
“Is it possible to beat this giant we know so well as DOUBT?” one of my clients asked me this week. The question is a really good one, and a rather overwhelming one to try and answer. I happen to believe that it is quite possible to overcome our feelings of doubt and fear. It’s certainly something we all struggle with and even those who we view as more successful than us, movie stars, athletes, successful coaches, artists, entrepreneurs-still all struggle with doubt. You’ve read the stories about the famous actor, who in his eighties, still got physically sick every time he went on stage to perform. Or the top professional hockey player who always questions whether he’s really as good as everyone says. Or the internationally known opera singer who struggles with thinking she’s not “as good” as some of the other internationally known singers.
Everyone gets to know doubt in their lives. Another way doubt rears its ugly head is in the form of resistance. And we all experience resistance. As Steven Pressfield writes in his book, The War of Art, “Resistance is a force that lives in us all as self-sabotage, self-deception, and self-corruption. We writers know it as “block”, a paralysis whose symptoms can bring on appalling behavior”.
But back to the original question, how do we beat it? I believe its doing some things consistently, and taking action that helps us navigate through the fear and doubt. Again, fear and doubt are not negative or bad things, in fact, many times they can be our friends, they can be what propels us to playing bigger than we ever thought possible. It’s only when fear, doubt and resistance paralyzes us to the point of feeling stuck, that they can be detrimental.
Here are some practical possibilities and suggestions that you may find helpful in overcoming doubt:
1-Reading books and other people’s stories:
Read books about other people who’ve mastered the ability to move through their own fear and resistance. Again, “The War of Art”, “Think and Grow Rich” and some of the Walter Wattles books are good places to start. Or read books, stories and articles of successful people who share your craft or profession. You’ll find in many of those stories that most of them experienced the same self-doubt and resistance that you feel.
2-Make a mind movie and watch it everyday.
In study after study, the research shows that by putting yourself (including mind and spirit) where you want to be, or doing what you’re striving for, can actually help you achieve it. That if you can visualize it, you can attain it.
I recently saw an interview with tennis player, Novak Djokovic, from Serbia, who at age 7, used to take an old trophy and run around holding it up in the air pretending it was the Wimbledon trophy he had won . And it worked; he’s now a Wimbledon champion! It’s the old adage, “you have to dream it, to achieve it”.
You can go to YouTube and search for mind movies-and you’ll see some examples of different types of mind movies. You can also easily make your own through I-Movie, or go to mindmovie.com. It’s a very good visual tool. Making a vision board, cutting out images and phrases from magazines and pasting them into a collage style poster and putting it up where you can view it everyday, is also very helpful.
Using affirmations can be a very powerful way to move through doubt, fear and resistance. You could choose to write down affirmations and post them all over your house, or you could write down 50 personal affirmations and record them. Then listen to them 2-3 times a day. Again, the affirmations need to be positive and in the present tense. Putting yourself already there in the feeling, the situation etc. For example, “I am a successful business person,” or “I eat good healthy food in just the right portions for me”, or, “I attract plenty of wonderful, ideal clients every day.
Or there are plenty of free affirmation downloads available on the internet.
4-Start a gratitude journal
The more you can come from a grateful, appreciative state, the less room there is for doubt, fear and negativity. List 10 things in your journal every night or every morning that you’re grateful for. Makes a huge difference-I can attest!
5- And keep moving through your fear and doubt. Take action!
As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Do one thing a day that scares you.” Make that phone call, write that chapter, paint that picture, make that speech, whatever it is-just do one thing everyday that scares you. And yes, you’re going to fail, and be rejected, lose, get laughed at, and maybe even lose some friends. But what’s worse, a few bumps and scrapes along the way, or never even getting in the game?
I might suggest if there is one or two of these things that speak to you-to implement them today, and consistently do them, over and over. We all have a relationship with fear, doubt and resistance; it’s how we manage that relationship that makes all the difference. You’ll start to learn that once you start taking action, and I mean consistently taking action, the doubt, fear and resistance will start to recede.