Lately I am feeling a little handcuffed by my self-doubt. I know that I learned a lot of lessons over the years and have a lot to share, but I have this nagging voice in my head filling me with worry. I am a successful person, but I have also had my share of failures. What is it that makes the negative voice loud and the positive voice quiet now that I have been laid off? Why is it that I keep thinking about all the things that could go wrong?
- Will people actually buy services directly from me instead of a big corporation?
- Will people respond well to what I write on the blogs?
- How embarrassed will I be if I can’t get any clients?
- What will I say to the critics that I know will come forward when I put my thoughts out on the internet?
- Who do I think I am to advise people on their programs and business anyway?
The self-doubt tape keeps running through my head. It is like a soft wave eroding my sandy beach of confidence. I have always held myself to very high standards. Is that the problem? I know that there are always set-backs in any career, but for some reason, my self-confidence is being shaken by the negative messages. Old tapes seem to be getting in the way of my focusing on the positive ones to help me move forward.
What I realize is that most of my fears are related to what (I think) other people think, about me. Though I have tried to change, I am very sensitive to what people feel (empathetic, I think they call it). I am driven by my need for people’s approval. (Read my post on Self Worth Starts With These 5 Steps). And, I think this is getting in my way of reinventing myself.
Dr. Tom Muha, a practicing psychologist and writer in Annapolis, Maryland, says negative self-talk like this “exemplified how people keep themselves from making meaningful contributions.” He goes on to say that people “allow a toxic combination of self-criticism and comparisons to others to prevent them from taking a risk and putting their creative offerings into the public eye.” (The Capital Newspaper, Sunday, August 4, 2013)
Everything I am reading and finding on the internet says that I just have to jump in with both feet and give up this self-doubt. You can’t win the game, if you never even play.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” ― Theodore Roosevelt
When I think about it, I have been in the game for years. Why does the fact that the audience has changed (no longer the corporate family) bring up so much fear and trepidation? As an innovator and thought leader in Project Management and Learning Solutions, I had many of my ideas criticized and even shot down over the years at IBM. It never stopped me before from finding new ways to get the job done. What makes this any different? What makes being outside the corporate structure so scary? Criticism stings and it may set me back (it may even feel overwhelming at times), but not moving forward because of the fear would be the saddest thing I could do.
Are you dealing with self-doubt? How are you getting through it?
Keep up the good attitude. See you next blog.
(All the Social Butterfly’s views are her own)