Every business leader, no matter how successful and influential, has had moments of self-doubt. Some CEOs and business owners have had to overcome extended periods of self-doubt in order to make their mark on the world. The point is—everyone experiences feelings of inadequacy or insecurity about their own talents and abilities. Those individuals who address self-doubt rather than run from it become the strongest leaders.
Of course, a little self-doubt isn’t bad. Regardless of our level of success, none of us should be going around convinced we’re the next Steve Jobs. Humility is a key component of effective leadership. But too much self-doubt can cripple a leader. He doesn’t do the things that must get done. He fears the possible consequences of taking new or “risky” actions to grow his business. He adopts a pervasively defensive posture that gradually erodes any motivation to succeed. In these cases, it’s imperative to actively address self-doubt and learn to overcome it.
Steps to Overcome Self-Doubt and Be More Effective
Don’t allow negative thoughts and thinking rule you and affect your business. The following steps can help you create a happier and more productive you through rationality and positive thinking:
1. Interrogate your fears.
What is it exactly that you doubt or fear about yourself? When the feeling comes over you, ask yourself—Is this a realistic assessment of the situation or am I overreacting? Assess the experience of self-doubt and think about its causes. As a result of rigorous self-evaluation, you may likely discover a change in your outlook.
2. Stay busy.
Many people regain their confidence through a busy schedule. Staying active means you have less time for brooding and questioning your decisions.
3. Refocus your thinking.
When negative thoughts begin to occur, tell yourself to stop indulging them. Refocus on upbeat thoughts and memories. Just as falling into negative thought-patterns can become a tiresome habit, it’s also possible to get in the habit of replacing them with positive imagery. See yourself handling the very thing you feel most doubtful about. Picture what success would look like in any given situation. You’re more inclined to begin engaging in behavior that leads to success.
4. Set attainable goals.
As noted, self-doubt occurs most frequently in a vacuum of inactivity. Set a reachable goal. The effort involved in planning and working to achieve that goal leaves little time or energy for self-doubt.
5. Take massive action.
International sales expert Grant Cardone advocates taking “10X actions.” He says, “If I operate at activity levels 10 times my competition, I will dominate.” Throw everything you have at the situation and see how your skills and experience can help you overcome your doubt. “Multiply whatever you think is required by 10 and become a machine of action,” Cardone writes. “If you do that, I assure you that your fear will subside.”
Self-doubt happens to everyone. Business leaders who accept this fact of life and move to overcome it are the most successful in the long run.
If you’re ready to move beyond self-doubt and reach the next level of success, we invite you to join other CEOs, managers and senior-level executives in a confidential group setting where you’ll be challenged and rewarded like never before in your professional life.