Have you ever found yourself working towards a goal you passionately believe in and then suddenly, self-doubt kicks in big time and you come to a screeching halt. Any confidence you had evaporates faster than a puddle in the sunshine and you find yourself doubting and questioning your ability to do or achieve anything.
I’m in the process of writing my second book and although the preparation and research has taken longer than I’d expected, I was beginning to make great progress. That is until last weekend when everything came to a shuddering halt. I felt like a little girl playing dress-up thinking pretending to be a writer. Who would want to read what I wrote and what did I have to say anyway? I slammed my laptop shut and opened my wine cupboard. I wanted to blot out the feelings of inadequacy with the help of a large chardonnay and back to back episodes of ‘Orange is the new black’.
I opened my cupboard but because it was mid-morning, I decided going for a walk was perhaps a better way to get on top of things. A walk usually helps me get perspective but this time, instead of arriving home feeling OK again, I stalked back through my front door still convinced I was a failure and wasting my life.
I decided to give myself a break from working on my book for a couple of days while I worked out what had tipped me into such a bad space. Instead, I spent time writing about how I felt and slowly I began to understand what had caused this tsunami of self-doubt.
I asked myself four questions:
We all experience times of self doubt, particularly when we are working towards a challenging goal. But instead of feeling overwhelmed – welcome your doubts and pay attention. Ask yourself the four questions above and you’ll understand that self-doubt is a gift, not something to shy away from.
Take stock of where you’re heading and make sure your life hasn’t become unbalanced in some way. Pay attention to your fears, dismiss the ones that aren’t real and take steps to deal with risks that you hadn’t considered earlier.
Above all be gentle and kind to yourself. Let your doubts teach and guide you rather than overwhelm you. Self doubt is going to be with you all the way to the finish line so welcome it as your friend.
Image by Dieter Timmerman