Rory always envied other’s successes. She worked hard and maybe too hard. Inside, she knew she was capable of achieving great things, but she was content to wait for the perfect time to make it big.
What if she failed? What if her mother was right? What if what she didn’t have the stamina to succeed over and over again, even if she made it once?
Rory had huge ideas. They were great ones usually and her boss always came to her when he had questions about a client or a product they were about to launch. She always dazzled him with her wit and creativity. One Friday, Mr. Delaney asked, “Rory, you do such an amazing job of pulling the team together and getting things done on time and effortlessly. Have you thought about running your own company?” Maybe, a start up?
If he only knew…. She had this thought so many times. She dreamt about it again just last night.
“Ha! Mr. Delaney, that’s insane. I couldn’t do that.” She blushed.
“Oh, but you’re wrong, Rory. Very wrong. I have watched your splendid work day in and day out here for years. Whenever anyone is stuck, you’re the first one to jump in with a viable solution. When we need input on the new strategy, there is never a doubt as you are the first one that gets called. Why do you suppose that is?”
“I don’t know, sir,” she said looking at the ground. “I see you guys running the show around here and sometimes I DO wish I was more involved in all aspects of the business to include the hiring and training of the new folks, but then I wake up.”
“You have to have faith in yourself. You have to see what the rest of us see. If you do, you’ll know you have everything it takes to be the captain of your own ship. You’re very impressive with your decision making and your ability to connect with people regardless of their background. Try it, Rory.” After months of internal debate, she did finally go out on her own.
And she failed. It hurt, and she was embarrassed. Her friends were whispering in her ear that she should go ask for her old job back. Should she wave the white flag and surrender?
She decided to dig in. She wasn’t ready to give up yet. She knew she had the smarts, she was just scared and doubting her talents again. To resolve her issues with self-doubt, Rory got a coach.
Melissa had Rory run through all the projects she’d helped launch over her 20 plus year career and her track record, to say the least was impressive. She reviewed her contribution to each one and realized how significant they really were. She now realized that there was more to her than she gave herself credit for.
Did it mean she would forever succeed? No. Richard Branson, head of Virgin, still has his failures and he’s the top of every field imaginable. Failing wasn’t what was stopping Rory from succeeding, it was the not trying that did.
Far too often we listen to the voice of self-doubt, to the naysayer in our heads, telling us to give up because it’s too hard. We rationalize the experience as it’s not worth it right now. What if? You might actually get what you want and have to do it again a few times to get it right. The voice will not go away as you’re not sure that you’ll get it 100% perfect…tip: close your ears (literally).
Like a kid sassing his mom and dad kind of close. Put your hands over them, close your eyes, and say, “I’m not listening! La la la la la la la!” I’m not even kidding.
Your head wants to be a brat and get in your way, you have to be a brat back.
It’s just fear. Self-doubt is fear. Period.
** We all get stuck in the mud, the successful folks climb their way out and take a shower. Others, stay dirty and complain how unfair life is or how lucky everyone else is**
Nothing changes until you do. I’m not saying go bet the farm, Bessie needs a home. I’m saying to get your ass out there and work for it. Hustle the good hustle — without any thought of what “might go wrong but rather what might go right”.
Because, honestly, if you don’t take a risk this year (2018) because you doubted yourself, your loss will be far greater than any failure the experience would have brought you. Trust me, the pain will linger and revisit you like Freddy Krueger when you least expect it. Regret is indeed a heavy burden to carry around with you. It sucks. I know first-hand.
Self-doubt is our psychological protection to keep us out of harm’s way. Keep in mind, there’s nothing you really need to be protected from anyways. There’s no reason for that bratty old doubting Thomas to stay around. He’ll have to find another home (preferably in your competition’s psyche, though, right?)
Let It Go
You were just singing that, weren’t you? Now you’re infected. But as you replay that track over in your head, meditate on the validity of it for a sec. The wee one has a large point: Let them see you. In all your glory. And say “screw it”. Let’s do this…
You deserve the accolades and the victory. Now get out of your way.
3 Steps to Overcoming Self-Doubt:
- Pay attention when people say good things. Look at the evidence around you and memorialize the good stuff — write them down — take photos of those magical moments to revisit later when you are feeling down on yourself.
- Thought-stopping: when you notice yourself in the midst of a negative thought (that wants to hold on), say” Cancel ” or “Clear” or “Stop!” then do your best to substitute a positive thought. Saying this aloud is more powerful, and it helps you see how many times a day you’re stopping the more negative thoughts and replacing them with positivity. Self-doubt is a habit that can be broken!
- Write down an affirmative statement about how you want to be (your future self) — 25 times. And walk around reading it out loud. Yes. For real. The flow of the hand somehow internalizes the thoughts being written. Try it.
Spend some time each day (next 30 days) working on you — it is the best investment you will ever make and it will always pay the highest dividend.