What to Do When You Doubt Yourself

by Mike Iamele -

Doubt. It’s an interesting word. We all feel it. It creeps up into our minds. Any time we’re about to launch something. Any time we’re about to put something new out there to the world. Because we’re exposed. We’re naked. 

We’re opening ourselves up for the whole world to see. And we can’t quite be sure of the reaction. We can’t quite be sure if it’s any good at all.

For a lot of us, that uncertainty holds us back from ever putting anything out there. From ever going forward. The doubt that what we have to offer is worthy at all.

See, it all happens the same way. We’re excited. We have an idea. We want to create and share and do. And then the doubt sets in. It rarely starts there—it only comes after the excitement passes. And we begin to question it.  We question everything. 
  • Can we do this? 
  • Is this realistic? 
  • Are we knowledgeable/smart/good enough? 
  • Will anyone even like it?

It’s the point at which we realize the magnitude of what we’re doing. And every insecurity or limiting belief we’ve ever felt comes up. Because our mind wants to keep us safe. Our mind has never does this before. This is out of our comfort zone. And, if there’s one thing our mind likes, it’s comfort.

Throughout my entire life, I’ve had a lot of doubts. I’ve doubted that I’d be able to do most of what I’ve done. Like call a big-name reporter on the phone. Or be a boss. Or leave my job. Or start a new company. Or fall in love with a man. Or write a book. Or heal myself.

There wasn’t a moment in there where I didn’t doubt myself. But the thing that’s always helped me the most is deadlines. In fact, it’s the only thing I’ve ever found to overcome doubt. 

Whenever I’m excited—whenever I’m still in that passionate stage, knowing this is something I want to do—I set a deadline. And I find that, more often than not, we all stick to the deadlines we set.

Right before I turned in my book manuscript, I wanted to do something radical. So I booked a skydiving trip. It was months away, and it hardly felt real to me. But I was excited, and I knew I wouldn’t back out on the day it came. So I did it.

I gave a year’s notice to my PR job to give myself a deadline to get my affairs in order and start a new business. I didn’t know what or how or why. But I knew that I’d figure it all out over the course of the year. Because I had a deadline.

Garrett and I set a deadline on when we were going to decide if this relationship was real or even possible to happen—we gave ourselves a year and a half to sort out the relationship and figure out if we could make it work before we told anyone. But we had a hard deadline to figure it out—and we made it work.

I wasn’t any less scared. I wasn’t any more knowledgeable. But I knew I had to figure it out by a certain time. And I’ve found that people tend to make it work when they have to. That’s life. We swear we can’t do something. Then we get thrown into a situation, and we have no choice but to figure it out. And we always realize that we’re way more capable than we ever imagined. Because we gave ourselves a deadline.

Doubt is natural. Doubt will happen. Maybe every day. At least it still does to me.

But every single time you go after your doubts and move forward anyway, you teach yourself that you are safe. That you can move forward. That you are good enough. And you’ve always got that in your back pocket.

Wherever you are, whatever’s happening to you this week, don’t let doubt hold you back. Feel it, acknowledge it, even thank it for trying to protect you. 

Then move forward anyway. 

Give yourself a deadline. Give yourself a chance to rise to the occasion. Show yourself that you are more than capable of doing exactly what you want with your life.

The little known secret of successful people is that they aren’t any less scared. They just do it anyway. And you’ve got to decide if you want to be successful or not. You deserve the life of your dreams.

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