As a soloist, I’m constantly trying to do it alone. When working for yourself and by yourself, there’s no one to tell you daily that you’ve done a great job. Self-doubt can slip in at an time. But it doesn’t have to be a major focus. You just need strategies to manage self-doubt and hit it on the head when it strikes.
When does self-doubt strike?
Your clients may tell you that they love what you did. But sometimes this doesn’t come freely, or perhaps you get the ‘I loved what you did, but…..
That ‘but’ can be a huge one especially if you’re someone who often compares yourself to others. The one piece of negative feedback you may get, is the one that clouds your judgement. The one that makes you forget about the other positive feedback you’ve had. And it can be so debilitating.
Your mind can keep saying over and over again that you’re worthless, that you’re not good at what you do. That you should give up. But being aware of what triggers it and having some strategies to manage it makes all the difference.
Don’t let the negative outweigh the positive
It’s that 1 out of 100 that we remember. That we focus on. That causes us to drill into ourselves we are no good at what we do. We focus on the negative all too often. And it’s a minority in our dealings each day. Not a majority.
Here’s 7 ways to help you manage self-doubt
- Think about what you’d say to a friend. If a friend said they felt that they weren’t good enough, that they questioned their abilities, what would you say to them? You’d reassure them that it’s only one person’s opinion. That just because someone doesn’t like your work, it doesn’t mean that all the work you do is crap. You’d rationalise it and put it into perspective to them. No, do that for yourself if you have self-doubt.
- Weigh up the evidence. Grab a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. Now on one side, write down the evidence. Who has recommended you? Who has used you’re work? List all the others that have loved what you’ve done, and come back for more. Then list that one person who crushed you.
- Keep a testimonial box/folder. Every time that you get a positive review, some kind words of any sort, store it in a digital folder. Or if it’s printed out, keep a pretty box on your bookcase and put all your ‘feel good’ pieces there. Then when you’re feeling miserable at that one person who you haven’t been able to please, pull out the box and have a read.
- Don’t compare yourself to others. This seems to just exacerbate the situation. You only see what that person wants you to see, which is quite often just the positive. Chances are they’ve had negative feedback, low times when business was slow and they too questioned their abilities. But they haven’t spoken about it so you only see the good.
- Creativity is an art, and not everyone likes the same art as you. A painting in the art gallery that you walk past and don’t think is particularly special, is adored by others. Writing is an art too.
- Remember it’s a draft. Drafts are not all about getting it right, and you shouldn’t expect to get it right the first time either. It’s a collaboration between the writer and the reader.
- Challenge your mind. Whenever your mind says you’re not good enough, challenge it. Challenge your thoughts, debate the positive side of the story and don’t just take what it says as gospel.
These are just some of the tips I’ve found helpful to manage my self-doubt.
What do you find works? Comment below.