Do you ever have those days where you’re just not sure how everything is going to work out? How you’re going to find a job that doesn’t suck, or make enough money to buy your ramen and iPads for the week?
Well, here’s some comforting news: I have those days too. We all experience self-doubt; it hits us when we’ve been complacent for a while and haven’t really done anything noteworthy.
However, knowing that you’re not the only one feeling self-doubt is no excuse for wallowing in it. In order to move forward, you have to crush it. How do you do this? You build confidence.
Confidence is the Self-Doubt Killer.
When you’re experiencing self-doubt, you should realize that it’s a symptom of low self-confidence. Even if you’re normally a confident person, your self-confidence can take a dip at times. I know. It happens to me more often than I’d like.
I quit all of my part-time jobs at the end of last semester, and since January I’ve been relying solely on income from this blog and freelance web design to support myself. During January, I didn’t make much money at all… and started to doubt myself. I started doubting my ability to work for myself and stay afloat without the concrete, guaranteed source of income that a job provides.
Luckily, February was a very different month. I made over $700 from this blog, and I also brought in another grand from a web design project.
I realized that I just need to keep working and improving. Objectively, I knew I had built the systems that could work for me; I just had to wait for the right opportunities.
However, I believe self-doubt can be conquered without the help of good things that happen in our lives. We can build confidence on our own time through a number of methods. Let’s look at some of them.
Start an Accomplishment Journal.
One of the best ways to gain confidence and crush self-doubt is to look back at all the awesome stuff you’ve done in the past. Looking at your achievements (real ones, not Xbox achievements) reminds you of how far you’ve come and gives you the resolve to keep moving forward.
I started my own accomplishment journal in the form of an Evernote notebook back in February. In it, I list things like:
- All the homework assignments I complete
- Progress on self-study projects
- Any achievements on the blog, like writing a post or securing a sponsorship
- Personal to-do’s – even little stuff counts since it’s a pain in the ass
- Health-related victories, like going entire days without soda (which I’ve now quit completely)
Now, I’m able to look back on this journal to see a detailed listing of the things I’ve done. It’s really motivating, so I recommend you start one of your own! It can be done in Evernote, in a paper notebook, or even on a blog if you want to be publicly accountable. Once you have a good amount of days recorded, you can start going back and reviewing your accomplishments and kill that self-doubt.
However, sometimes looking at your past achievements just isn’t enough. Sometimes, you need to do something now to get yourself out of that awful funk. With that in mind, why don’t you…
Do Something that Scares the Shit Out of You Every Day.
Nothing builds confidence and destroys self-doubt like facing something you fear head on. Fear is simply a barrier that you create for yourself, and breaking through that barrier can be one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll have.
So do it! Find something small – something that can be done in a day – and do it.
The best way to gain confidence is to do what you are afraid to do.
— Amber Rae (@heyamberrae) March 21, 2012
Not sure where to start? Try these on for size:
- Get your ass to the gym and try out the Rippetoe’s workout
- High-five 10 total strangers on your way to class
- Go to a Toastmaster’s meeting and give a speech
- Take the plunge and pursue that big opportunity you’re scared about
- Go up to that person you’ve had your eye on and ask them on a date
Of course, this list isn’t comprehensive by any means! That’s why I want to hear from you: What have you done (or have you committed to do) that scares you?
Leave your answers in the comments!
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