That Little Voice of Self Doubt (part 1)

Do you sometimes feel like you don't belong? As though you're 'faking' your way through your career successes, or that you're just having a lucky streak that will end at some point? Think about it....do you own your successes or do you have feelings of inadequacy and a lack of self-confidence?

Truthfully, many successful people feel inadequate. Their feelings of self-doubt are overwhelming and can be all-consuming, but on the outside they look secure and confident. I recall being in court with a senior Crown Attorney while I was articling. When I got up to face the judge, I felt my legs turn to jello. Of course, the words came and all went well. Afterwards, I explained to my colleague how I felt and he made the analogy to a duck - it appears to be gliding across the water effortlessly, while in fact it is paddling like mad underneath!

What was really important in that situation was my internal dialogue. What was I saying to myself to get through? And what did I say to myself afterwards to have the courage to do it over again? I honestly can't recall, but I want to stress how important it is to have positive self-talk. We are our own worst critics and what may appear disastrous in our minds, often goes unnoticed by an outsider! We are often the ones who stop ourselves from progress, from taking new opportunities and challenges. Why? Because we give too much "air time" to the little (or big!) voice of self doubt in our heads.

Self-doubt can negatively affect us in all areas of life. For example, professionally we can limit our opportunities for advancement and socially, we can withdraw and become less engaging with others.

We are not only fearful of failure but can also be fearful of success. We wonder, will a new opportunity be accompanied with difficult challenges? And, can we really do what we are setting out to or will we disappoint ourselves and others?

For the next 2 weeks, we'll further develop this topic. There will be an interesting guest blog post on the "Imposter Sydrome" as well. Stay tuned! See you next week!

Moving you forward, WLS

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