How to Overcome Self-Doubt

Self-doubt keeps you from achieving your goals. But how to combat it? The Public Speaker has a few great tips.

Lisa B. Marshall
2-minute read

As an entrepreneur, I’ve experienced plenty of self-doubt. It usually shows up when I try to stretch myself to try something new. That nagging little voice says “I'm not good at  _________.”?  or ”I'll never be able to do THAT."

This morning I read a blog post by author Michele Rosenthal titled 7 Ways to Change Negative Beliefs About Yourself. She recommends dropping old assumptions about yourself that hold you back. "Past lack of success in no way predicts or affects the outcome of an action this time around," she writes. Assumptions like, "I can’t give a group presentation at work because I’ve always been shy," or "I can’t ask for a promotion because I’ve been doing the same job for so long" keep you from going after your goals.

If self-doubt is holding you back, then here’s your assignment for today:

First, identify the opportunity you’re afraid to take. Ask yourself what past experiences are making you doubt your success. Then, practice communicating a new message to yourself. Rosenthal suggests starting with this simple statement: “I’m open to shifting my belief about _________.” For me, I like to go even stronger with, “I’m committed to learning how to  _________.”

I used to think affirmations were silly becuase I felt like I didn't beleive them and that just made things worse.  For example, I just couldn't say, "I'm an excellent writer" becase a little voice would reply, "No, you're not." But when I say, "I'm committed to learning how to be an excellent writer." that seems so much more authentic and achievable.   

What’s keeping you from trying something new today? 

Doubtful man image courtesy of Shutterstock.

About the Author

Lisa B. Marshall

Lisa B. Marshall Lisa holds masters with duel degrees in interpersonal/intercultural communication and organizational communication. She’s the author of Smart Talk: The Public Speaker's Guide to Success in Every Situation, as well as Ace Your Interview, Powerful Presenter, and Expert Presenter. Her work has been featured in CBS Money Watch, Ragan.com, Woman's Day, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and many others. Her institutional clients include Johns Hopkins Medicine, Harvard University, NY Academy of Science, University of Pennsylvania, Genentech, and Roche.