Do you envy that person who always seems so confident that they attract all the clients?
Well, I’ve got news for you: we all feel self doubt some times, even confident-looking people.
The difference is that some have learnt to deal with doubt and move forward in spite of it, while others continue to let it stop them.
I have come to see self doubt from a different point of view. When my mind questions me about my competence or ability, I now see this as a time of self-assessment rather than self condemnation. Kind of the way you run through a mental check list before you head off for a meeting. You think: handouts, check; markers, check; USB stick, check; business cards…oh I forgot them! And you run back to get them! You don’t give up attending the meeting because you haven’t got the cards. Similarly, for instance, when the opportunity to speak at a conference comes up, rather than dwell on the one reason why you do not feel qualified, this is the time to:
(1) Check (remind yourself of) what you do have going for you and then
(2) “Go back and get” whatever you feel you are lacking.
This might mean getting the support of a colleague or coach to work on your presentation skills or hiring a design person to create some new marketing materials. It is not a time to give up! Turn those self-criticizing thoughts into self-assessment tools. Rather than finding reasons to stop and go home, make a list of steps to take, to become ready for opportunity.
When I put myself forward to speak at my first conference, it felt like a good way to gain contacts, raise my profile and perhaps find new clients, all of which I achieved in the end. But as the day drew closer, my doubts grew stronger and I wished I could back out! Thankfully, I did not. Rather, I made a list of all the areas where I felt I was not ready. Then I took action to prepare myself, so I could become ready. I planned and practised my presentation, had new marketing materials made, updated my social media profiles in case anyone looked me up and prepared a follow-up plan for new prospects.
One fear was never having been to the part of the country where the conference was taking place. So, I asked around, wrote out directions and bought my train tickets. This helped to ease off the anxiety about travelling to a new location and prepared me some more. Fast forward to after the conference and I got great feedback, LinkedIn recommendations and 3 new clients! And having then become a conference speaker, it became easier to get more of such opportunities, leading to more new connections, more clients and more clout!
Now, on the one hand, imagine what could have happened had I taken the doubts as self condemnation and good reason not to embrace conference speaking. And on the other hand, see what eventually happened when I took the doubts as self-assessment and used them to prepare for opportunity.
We can’t blame self doubt for holding us back.
It is what we do with it that makes the difference.
Will you take charge of self doubt by using it as self-assessment or will you keep on using it as an excuse for inaction? You can start by changing the name you call it.
Call it self assessment and use it for good!
Click below for part two of this article:
7 Ways to Grow Forward and Achieve More After Self-doubt.
*** Or click here to learn more about my in-person or virtual half days, where we can work together through your challenges, wherever you are in the world!
"I tried you with my industry to see how you would bring your knowledge to bear in such an unusual field. Within five minutes of our conversation you said something and I knew THIS WAS IT! At that point I knew WE WERE THERE! Your listening skill is superb. I believe it did the magic for you in addressing my peculiar issue perfectly. For me, correct diagnosis of an ailment is key in the healing process. Thank you for the right-on-point, error-free-diagnosis.
S. Omopariola, Entertainer
"Before our session I was feeling doubts about handling certain of my target audience's issues. By the end of the session you made me feel confident and adequate to address these issues. I am now more optimistic as I can see the bigger picture of the scope of my work. Thanks also for the preparatory steps we outlined for my up-coming networking event. Our session helped me to create action steps in order to get things done."
Lorraine Palmer, The Professional Woman's Menopause Coach