I recently offered to write something for someone that I had never done before. It feels like stepping off a cliff. I find myself plunging into swirling self-doubt, foggy clouds of negative comments stream through my mind. “I can’t do it.” “I’m not good enough.” “He’ll work out I don’t know what I’m doing.”
Self-doubt is fascinating if you can manage to be objective about it, and this applies to self-doubt in any situation. Think how you feel when you want to hack your horse alone for the first time, or try a leg yield. How much are you held back by your self-doubt? What does the little voice in your head say?
When I can be sufficiently objective, I can challenge the little voice. “I can’t do it.” This one I always tackle by starting the task, immediately I can quash the little voice – see I AM doing it. The moment you first ask for the step of leg yield, the first step on the hack you are doing it. It doesn’t matter whether it goes well or badly, the point is you are doing it.
“I’m not good enough.” This old chestnut… Yes you are. You are always good enough, always more than enough. If you spend all day wearing old pyjamas, lying on your sofa eating biscuits you are still more than enough. You are awesome and incredible.
My personal favorite little voice: “He’ll work out I don’t know what I’m doing.” This one is just insulting to everyone. If someone employs you to do a job, you have to give them some credit that they will try and pick the best person for the job. Why wouldn’t they? It makes no sense. If you choose an electrician, or a farrier, you don’t think, “he seems a bit rubbish – I’ll choose him” do you? Yet, if someone chooses us to do something, we insist on thinking that they have chosen badly. Why do we grant others such bad decision making, why do we listen to our little voices? Self-doubt, lack of self-belief, lack of self-confidence.
Let’s shout out the negative little voices – let’s replace them with voices that say “you are awesome.” “You have worked hard at this therefore you will be able to do it.” “Trust in yourself.” “It’s okay to be nervous, just breathe.” Imagine it would be like having your own personal support band in your head…