We are our own worst enemy.
One of my earliest memories was when I was in nursery 2 or so. We were learning to read with one of those children books.
As the class was reading, the teacher called on me to read a paragraph myself.
I remember stalling a bit because I was so sure I couldn’t read. Then I opened my mouth and I actually read everything.
I still remember how surprised I was that I could actually read.
Recently , I decided not to pursue what I read in uni but focus on a completely different path.
This is a decision I’ve struggled with for months.
I’ve been so scared that I won’t succeed because I know nothing about running a business, sourcing for clients or managing people.
I’m going to be the one fending for myself and my employees.
Then I’ll have kids and still fend for them too?
Nah, I wasn’t built for that.
I’ve actually quit in my mind a million times.
Then I think, why not? Why can’t I be the woman with the empire? What exactly is stopping me from following these goals I’ve laid out? There are other women doing it and they don’t have two heads, so why can’t I?
I’m putting in my time, perfecting my art daily. I’m networking and putting my self out there.
I’m not alone I have my family. And most of all I have God.
And besides I’m surprisingly street smart. I think it’s an Igbo thing but that’s a story for another day.
I look at my sisters and I today and it gives me more strength. I’m amazed at how we’ve grown. We’re all independent women and I LOVE IT.
Why wouldn’t we be when we had the kind of mother we had.
What puzzles me about this memory is that for me to have been able to read meant I was obviously practicing.
So why did I think I couldn’t read?
Self doubt is a bitch that can cripple our lives and hold us back from achieving our dreams.
Self doubt is that troubling and persuasive voice that holds you back from seizing your opportunities.
It makes starting and finishing things harder than they need to be.
Yes, sometimes it helps to sober us up about our current situations and recognize bad ideas but it mostly hold us back in life.
William Skakespare said; “our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.”
Why do we doubt ourselves?
I searched within myself and did some research on why we doubt ourselves so much. Here are some of the reasons we doubt ourselves. See if you recognize any of these within yourself.
Every expert was once a beginner. I doesn’t matter if you’re just starting your first or tenth job. Or re-inventing yourself in a new path.
We will not always have the skills required to fully be confident, we just have to always try to be better than we were the day before.
I used to think, who will listen to me? I have no experience as a digital solutions expert, why would anyone give me a job to execute. This made me under price myself anytime I submitted proposals because I felt I wasn’t worth more.
Past mistakes can leave us seriously doubting ourselves , especially those ones with lasting repercussions.
Whether it’s family drama, bad choices, unpleasant situations at a previous job you did, our past can rattle us and leave us filled with insecure thoughts.
SOMEONE ELSE’S VOICE IN OUR HEAD
Sometimes we get stuck on what people tell us.
I told a few people about my intentions and fear of starting a business and they mostly said I was too young and would not be able to take on all the responsibility.
A friend told me about a friend of hers who was on about the same thing I was on and tried starting a business but failed. That discouraged me a bit.
The truth is they don’t see the vision like you do. As cliche as that sounds, as long as you are sure of what you want to do, you don’t need anybody else’s validation.
FEAR WE AREN’T GOOD ENOUGH
For no particular reason or most often a combination of a few things on this list, we fear we are not good enough.
I struggle with this, I fear I won’t be able to execute a job properly.
I was afraid to start this blog because I always thought I was not a good enough writer. I’m really amazed at how much I’ve grown as a writer.
People actually ask me to guest blog for them. Amazing, right?
This one is about having your own voice in your head telling you nasty, untrue stories about yourself. Nasty stuff like you’re not smart or diligent enough. You do not have what it takes. You can’t be more than what you are. The people around you haven’t made it, so how will you?
I want to tell you that you are smart enough. Even though those around you have tried and failed, you will be the first and be the hope for others.
Look at Obama, he became the first black president and opened the gates of hope for every young black person to believe they can be anything they want as long as they put their mind to it. You can be a pillar of hope too.
IT’S A HABIT
Doubting ourselves is a bad habit we do not know we have. Do not let it stick around and lay root in your daily life.
WHAT IF MY BEST WORK IS BEHIND ME?
I found out self doubt doesn’t just affect beginners, successful people suffer from this as well.
I went for a conference help by MSME in Port Harcourt a couple of months back and one of the speakers said she wakes up with fear everyday, thinking she won’t be bigger than she is but pushes it down and works through it. She’s one of the biggest personal shopper in Port Harcourt.
BELIEVING IT’S ALL LUCK
Even though some people are hugley successful, they doubt their abilities. They feel they are simply lucky, instead of fully appreciating their talents and hardwork.
I had a friend who constantly used to hype me and I didn’t like it at all because I feared I was a scam who couldn’t live up to all his talk. He’d tell people I was an SEO expert who could get anyone’s website to the first page of Google.
This actually made me worried because people would come to meet me about it and I was afraid.
I learnt to push it aside and today, the web presence’s I manage are actually ranking for not just one but multiple keywords.
FEAR WE DON’T HAVE THE STAMINA FOR THE LONG HAUL
Sometimes it not our ability or skills or our beliefs that we doubt, sometimes it’s the fact that we know to achieve a goal or finish a big project, we have to show up time and time again and do the work.
We may doubt that we will have the energy, courage, persistence or a combination of all three to keep going and get our big kick-ass project over the line.
Writing this post has made me realize how much I’ve evolved over the past couple of months. For the longest time, I was in my head struggling with deep life decisions. I am in the most confusing time of my life but I don’t let it get to me.
So how can you get around that, how can you overcome those times of self-doubt so that you can move forward once again?
I push through it and make myself better every day.
Decide now to make a decision towards your goals and continue working towards it even when these thoughts creep up.