Why, as women, are we so prone to berating ourselves rather than loving who were are? Why are we so inclined to dwell on the things we feel we don’t do well rather than celebrating those we do? Self doubt is incredibly damaging. It serves no purpose whatsoever. What is worse, it immediately sabotages any effort we make to do things differently.
Self-doubt locks us into a negative space rather than a positive one, impacting on our confidence, preventing us from reaching our full potential. Ultimately it stops us from living our happiest life. It’s important to realise that by telling ourselves that we are not good enough, we are subconsciously priming the brain to limit our capacity to take action. So when we try and step beyond, our basic instinct of fear takes hold and our whole system will gear up to avoiding risk and keeping us ‘safe’. Unless we can break the cycle, it becomes self-perpetuating.
Mind the gap
Hal Elrod in his book ‘Miracle Morning’ talks about the ‘gap focus’: our natural tendency to dwell on the gap between where we are currently and where we would like to be. The cumulative effect of this is a feeling of lack, of not being good enough, thereby limiting progress even further. He points out that those who are the happiest are able to take a more balanced view of where they are at. While acknowledging that there may be areas to improve, they also congratulate themselves on progress to date.
Self praise is not something that comes naturally to most of us but it has a critical role to play. It can actually affect the way the brain is wired setting up a cycle of success and positive outcomes. In short what you put in you get out, known in neuro-science terms as the neural activity feedback loop. By sending positive signals to the brain, we bypass the loop of fear and enter instead in to the realm of possibility and opportunity.
What’s the worst that can happen?
Equally important in eliminating self doubt is challenging our perception of failure. Rather than something to be avoided at all costs, failure gets us closer to where we want to be because it teaches us the lessons that guide us towards success. By eliminating the fear of failure, it frees us to give things a go. Things are never as bad as you imagine they might be and, usually, they will be a whole lot better. What’s more, we open up an array of otherwise missed opportunities.
I had a conversation at the Christmas party with a lady who was new to Me Spot. She commented on how brilliantly she thought I had done to get the business to the stage it is at. I remember being shocked into silence by what she had said because in my mind there is still so much that I want to achieve. I feel like I have hardly scratched the surface. She probably didn’t have any idea how much of an impact her words had.
I realised at that moment that I had been undervaluing the progress I had made. It made me stop and finally acknowledge how far I had come. It helped move me beyond my ‘gap focus’, to concentrate instead on celebrating what I have done. In turn, it encouraged me to throw off the chains that I didn’t even realise I was wearing and gave me the additional motivation to move forward positively.
Beware of your response to my story! You may be thinking ‘I can’t believe she would be feeling that way‘ but don’t forget there’s a flip side:
‘To us you are that talented woman who doesn’t see how talented she is’ Tara Mohr.
I love this quote because it applies to all of us without exception. We all have a tendency to take what we can do for granted. If we could just start to replace self-doubt with self-belief, criticism with congratulation and the world looks a very different place.
Self belief gives you the wings to fly high. It opens up a very different world, one of endless possibilities where there are no limits.
What do you think?