“I’m stuck. I’m not sure what to do or how to move forward.” How many times have you uttered those words out loud or said them secretly to yourself? I mumble them daily, for one reason or another. It’s the sound of doubt creeping in – but how you move past the doubt is what is important.
For years I listened to the doubt and stood still, paralyzed to move forward or try anything. I wanted to be a writer, but I refused to write – who would read my stuff, would it be good enough, what if no one read it? I wanted to have my own business, but I would never declare that – why am I the expert, who would listen to me, why would they pay me?
Doubt can be a powerful thing if you let it creep into your head – don’t make decisions based on doubt, instead use the sound of doubt to propel you towards your path.
Doubt held me back and kept me from even considering creating my own way. Ironically, I never had it in my corporate job. I knew exactly what to do, the journey I should take, the jobs to accept, the people to befriend, and so on. I moved forward without letting any doubt creep in. Why? I had no skin in the game, not really. If I dropped the ball, I would be bummed out, but my career and reputation were not on the line.
Doubt is everywhere – I can’t remember a client who didn’t have an idea but were doubting their way; a manager who wanted to move forward with helping an employee but didn’t know the first step, and so on. When you care about the outcome, the sound of doubt will creep in. And how you respond to it is what’s important.
You know the old saying that you can’t accomplish anything without at least starting something? Well, I even doubted that in my non-discriminating doubt-“full” brain. Yes, you must start – but what if it’s the wrong direction and you’ve wasted a ton of time, energy and money doing the wrong thing? I can create doubt out of everything – except, someone challenged me with the best two words in the English dictionary: SO WHAT?
Hmmm. Ok, so what if you do waste time and energy writing that book and no one buys it. What is the worst that can happen? So what if you become your own boss and can’t sustain the business?
Where do you draw the line with doubt preventing you from living your life? The sound of doubt is good to help gut-check you, make you take a moment of reflection or pause, but it is also a green flashing light that you are on the right path.
Everyone I know who has gone after their own dreams, talk about how doubt helped push them forward. Which is awesome advice, but hard to believe. It’s scary as hell challenging that little voice of doubt that you have been hearing your whole life. It seems as though the doubt has kept you out of trouble, on the right path, heading towards “something.” But where are you heading by blinding following the doubt? Are you truly living your life?
At work – do you doubt your decisions, your direction, or your impact? It is time to start talking about your doubts and working through them. I’ll share a little secret with you – I left a job once because every day I doubted that I was making a difference and that I wasn’t being valued. When those doubts crept in, they were very hard to quiet. I was not doubting the job I was doing or my capabilities, but more of my value and worth in that specific role at that company. And I couldn’t get over it – so I left. And guess what – my doubts unfounded, they were crazy musings in my head (we all have them, don’t judge). I added a ton of value and to this day, I get emails from employees there telling me how different it is and how they wish I never left.
And if I were still listening to doubt, I would not be anywhere close to where I am today – the good, the bad, the struggles, and the ugly.