Self-doubt is uncertainty about your ability to accomplish a goal. It’s a feeling of insecurity that leads to hesitation and an inability to make decisions. If you let self-doubt go unaddressed, it could prevent you from meeting your goals or cause you to abandon your plans.
Self-doubt is characterized by the inability to give yourself credit when it’s due. A lack of recognition can make you feel like a fake, like you don’t deserve your position at work or your work isn’t deserving of acknowledgement. When you have self-doubt, you tend to use phrases like “I’m not sure,” or “Maybe I was wrong.”
Self-doubt may be deeply rooted, but if you commit to chipping away at it, you’ll enjoy a more successful and satisfying life. It’s up to us to get rid of the constant doubts that we face, and there are recovery strategies that we can use to reduce self-doubt.
Give Yourself Credit When It’s Due
When you deserve a pat on the back for a job well done or for reaching a goal, give yourself credit. Acknowledge people who have helped you, but don’t go overboard by giving them all the credit and yourself none.
Giving yourself credit is a kindness you’ve earned. It’s not bragging. If you wouldn’t hold back on praising someone else for doing a good job, why do it to yourself?
Acknowledge Your Work and Accomplishments
You have hard-won accomplishments under your belt. But if you don’t acknowledge that your talents and abilities got you where you are, you’ll feel like a fake. Instead, you may chalk your success up to luck or good timing. When you don’t recognize your own contributions, you’ll feel undeserving of the success that comes along with your accomplishments.
Analyze your accomplishments in practical ways to see that your hard work, time and dedication are what got you there. Don’t credit it to mysterious, external forces of the universe that happened to line up for you.
Show Yourself Compassion
None of us are perfect, so don’t berate yourself when things don’t work out or aren’t going your way.1 Show yourself compassion by saying “I am doing the best I can,” and mean it. Too much self-criticism leads to self-doubt, which is a destructive loop to get caught up in.
Ask yourself what’s the worst that can happen? If things don’t go as planned, is it really that bad? Chances are it won’t be anything too terrible.
If things don’t work out exactly as you planned, don’t worry too much. As time passes, it won’t be as important as it seems right now. Keeping the “bumps in the road” in perspective can help you stay calm.
A Small Bit of Self-Doubt Is OK
Hold onto to a small bit of self-doubt. Studies show that slight insecurity could improve performance.2 People with a little self-doubt performed better compared to people who were overly confident in their skills.
Don’t feel that a small, healthy amount of self-doubt is a signal you’re about to fail, or that you’re a fraud; recognize that some can be helpful. You’ll take preemptive measures when you’re aware there’s a chance things might not go smoothly.