How the Most Confident People Deal With Self-Doubt

a woman in knit sweater hugging self

Have you ever experienced self-doubt? If so, you’re not alone. The most confident people feel it, too, but they deal with it differently than others. Confidence often gets labeled as arrogance and sometimes self-assurance is confused with conceit. But, in order to push yourself forward, you’ve got to be confident about yourself and your abilities.

However, being too confident isn’t always the answer for success. The most confident people in the world deal with self-doubt every day—but they don’t let it stop them from going after what they want. Here are some of the ways that most confident people deal with self-doubt and still manage to achieve amazing things.

Understand That Self-Doubt is a Part of Life

If you’re self-aware, it’s impossible to go through life without experiencing some level of self-doubt. In fact, self-doubt and anxiety are inevitable as you work to meet new challenges and grow as an individual. What matters is how you handle that doubt. Do you try to silence your doubts and hide them away, or do you embrace them? Understanding that self-doubt is a part of life can help put your insecurities into perspective, allowing you to address them head on with a positive attitude. Without a doubt, understanding and addressing your self-doubt can make all of the difference when it comes to success in life and business.

How Do We Overcome Self-Doubt?

Self-doubt isn’t necessarily something to be brushed aside and ignored. In fact, not dealing with self-doubt constructively can lead to damaging relationships and emotional turmoil. Instead, view self-doubt as a necessary part of your confidence building process. There’s no way to get over self-doubt without first going through it; even confident people have days when they wonder if they’re good enough. The trick lies in acknowledging these feelings and not letting them cripple you. For example, if you doubt that you can handle your new project at work, acknowledge your doubt, but then push through it anyway. With every successful project, there will inevitably be another one right around the corner.

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

It’s important to understand where self-doubt comes from so that you can effectively address it. The most common sources of self-doubt are comparing yourself to others and a fear of criticism. As social creatures, we often evaluate our own success relative to other people. If someone else appears successful and confident, it makes us question our own abilities and accomplishments; by extension, even when they fail or make mistakes, we attribute those outcomes to their innate ability or talent. This line of thinking, known as downward social comparison, makes everyone feel insecure about what they have and who they are.

We need to learn to be OK with who we are, stop comparing ourselves to others, and recognize that as individuals we all have our own strengths and weaknesses. If you feel like you’re lacking in some areas compared to other people, ask yourself if there’s anything you can do about it. The answer is usually yes. Self-improvement isn’t just for laggards and overachievers; it’s for anyone looking to better themselves.

Learn From the People Around You

Rather than compare yourself to others, instead see others as a potential source of knowledge and strength. Sometimes, the best way to overcome self-doubt is to talk to people who’ve already been there. If you’re struggling with a fear of failure, interview someone you know who’s had a major win, even in a completely different field from your own. They’ll be able to help you see that your achievements don’t need to be connected, and they can come from two completely different fields.

If you’re worried about your performance in one area of your life, ask someone else how they did when they were learning and growing in their own life. Chances are the advice will make sense even if it seems unrelated to your own problem on the surface! Also, sometimes just talking about something makes us feel better by helping us work through our own thought process. So, if you’re feeling stuck, try talking through what you’re experiencing with a friend or colleague, who are themselves likely dealing with doubts much like your own.

Taking Action Boosts Confidence When In Doubt

Confidence comes from action, not inaction. If you’re feeling uncertain or self-doubting, go out and try something even if you don’t feel ready. The more experiences and risks you take, the more confidence will grow on its own over time. Remember that our mind has a natural ability to doubt itself, without fail, so be kind to yourself.

It’s also important to not take your tasks too seriously, and try to have fun with your work. For all of you out there who are having a hard time, sometimes taking a break and letting yourself relax is exactly what you need to spark some creative solutions to your problems. If you get stuck on one idea or way of doing things, give yourself permission to try something else out. You can always come back to an idea later if it’s not working. But, in order to do that, you first have to allow yourself permission to go through that process by embracing your self-doubt as a tool, not as an obstacle.

Focus on What You’re Doing, Not on How Well You’re Doing It

Entrepreneurs and other high performers know that in order to be successful, they need to perform. The ability to focus on what you are doing, not on how well you are doing it, is a trait of those who have found success. Keep in mind that most of us beat ourselves up when we make mistakes and take things too personally. It’s important to focus on what you are doing rather than your mistakes. Rather than focusing on how successful your presentation was (or wasn’t), consider how much knowledge you gained from it.

Ask Your Friends and Family For Help

Asking for help shows that you’re trying to solve a problem and it means that people close to you will support your journey. Sometimes what we need isn’t advice, but simply an ear to listen or validation for our thoughts. Even if self-doubt comes knocking on your door every day of your life, don’t be afraid to seek help from friends and family, from therapists and doctors, from professionals and friends in similar situations. They may be able to provide insight or resources you didn’t know about before, or just lend an ear when self-doubt tries talking over you with negativity.

Also, celebrate every success with friends and family! It’s easy to get caught up in self-doubt when you struggle at first; but, remember that it doesn’t define who you are — your actions do! So, reward yourself for each step forward instead of letting doubts slow you down or bring your progress to a halt!

It’s easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others and convincing yourself that you’re not good enough. Everyone has doubts, even the most confident people out there. Instead of beating yourself up over them, embrace them! Even the most confident people have doubts, after all. Realize that self-doubt is normal and don’t let it affect your self-esteem or success!

Amelia Desertsong is a former content marketing specialist turned essayist and creative nonfiction author. She writes articles on many niche hobbies and obscure curiosities, pretty much whatever tickles her fancy.
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