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2 Unconventional Ways to Kick Self-Doubt in the Guts

June 17th, 2013 | 5 comments


Think you need more self-belief before you can move ahead?

Think again.

You don’t necessarily have to “believe in yourself” before you can get what you want. You don’t need to work on your self-esteem before you become “successful.”

The antidote to self-doubt isn’t always faith and self-belief.

Now before you think I’m mocking the more conventional methods of self-belief and self-esteem raising – the motivational quotes, the spiritual literature, mantras and vision boards – trust me, I’m not. I use all of those tools and I think they’re massively important.

And I’m a lover not a hater.

But sometimes those methods can become addictive. We think we need to feel more before we can be more.

This week I’ve found the reverse can also be true. Don’t wait around for the self-belief you think you need. Need to make that call? Need to make a decision? To write that letter? Need to fill out that “fun sheet” that doesn’t feel like fun right now?

If you are paralysed with self-doubt to the point of wanting to give up completely then you need to Change. The. Game. Stop adding more beautiful, motivational images to your pinterest board. Like, immediately.

Option 1: Access your Inner Rebel

Write out a list stating every single reason WHY you can’t do what you need to do. Stop fighting what you’re feeling with positive mantras. Clearly you believe you can’t. So get it out on paper.

Don’t just stop at the obvious answers like “I don’t know enough.” Keep going until you get to the “I’m probably wrong” and “I don’t deserve it, anyway” until you hit the absurd “my right hand is feeling slightly tender” and “I’d rather be drinking chocolate milk.”

The key is to exhaust all the reasons WHY you can’t do something.

Until. Naturally. Your inner rebel can’t take it anymore. She wants to fight back. This is good. Let her.

Because you inner rebel wants to fight the good fight. This is where she shines. Use her to your advantage.

Write the counter-argument to every real, unfounded or pathetic excuse that you so elegantly espoused in your original list. You will realise that you are much stronger than your fears.

And then you will take this rebellious energy and go do what you need to. Go on… I don’t believe you can.

Option 2: List your “But I did it anyway” triumphs.

Sometimes it’s easy to slip into “I can’t” territory and stay stuck for an unnecessary amount of time.

Want instant courage? Write down everything you’ve done in spite of feeling scared.

Write down every bold decision you’ve made in spite of the well-meaning cautionary tales from caring friends and family. Only you know what you are truly capable of. Only you know the signals in your body that say “This here. This is the right way forward for me.”

Do it now. Write 10 things. Here’s my first 5.

  • When I was 7 I didn’t want to go to my gymnastics competition because I was too scared I’d fart during my floor routine and everyone would laugh at me. But I did it anyway.

And yes, I did fart at one point. But no one heard me. So there.

  • When I was 14 I wanted to withdraw from the finals of a major public speaking competition. My throat was sore. I was afraid I’d stuff it up. But I did it anyway.
  •  When I was 15 I wanted to pull out of performing in front of my 200 + all-girl year level. I knew that singing the angry-Alanis-Morrisette-style song I’d written would be social suicide. But I did it anyway.
  •  When I was 20, suffering from my first heartbreak, I wanted to drop out of my university degree and hide in my bed forever. But I got through that last year and graduated. I cried most days. But I did it anyway.
  • When I was 23 I got engaged after dating my man for less than 8 weeks. Everyone told me I was rushing in/making a big mistake/crazy-in-love and not thinking clearly. But I did it anyway. And it was the best decision I nearly didn’t make.

You can do something big in spite of self-doubt. You have been doing big things since you were born. It doesn’t matter whether they seem “big” to other people. If they were big to you – at the time – and you overcame them, you can do it again and you can do it now.

Got an unconventional strategy? I’d love to hear about a time where you kicked self-doubt in the guts and did it anyway.

Leave a comment below.

With love,

Kate x

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5 people have commented
  1. marion lowther says:

    loved this so honest,humourous,and real,I read it and learnt more and agreed with all you said.Its how I feel most of the time not having enough courage to ‘just do it’

  2. CAROLINE says:

    Oh Kate, loved this! If we all waited for self-belief to reach an all time high we’d never get anything done. Always a pleasure to read your words.

    • Kate Erlenbusch says:

      Thanks Caroline. Yep, it’s the whole ‘do it before you’re ready’ lesson – there’s no escaping it no matter how hard we try!

  3. Megan Koufos says:

    Awesome post honey, I love your strategies. You have such a beautiful way with words.
    Love and gratitude
    Megan xo

    • Kate Erlenbusch says:

      Megan, thank you so much. I admit I was pretty inspired by your post about the breakdown before the breakthrough. And I’m delighted you got something out of this post. Kate x

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