I’ve never met anyone who has admitted to never having a crisis of confidence, have you?
This is likely to be one of those universal things that happen to everybody—no matter how old you are, or how experienced, popular, or successful you may be.
It strikes at the worst possible times. And if you’re not able to catch it, you may find yourself in a spiral of self-doubt.
We’ve all been there. Not good.
5 Ways to Beat a Crisis of Confidence
Getting walloped by a bout of self-doubt may be universal. What’s different, however, is how we each deal with our mini and major crises.
As I recently had a major one hit me like a bat, I thought I’d share my own process for dealing with this unwelcome event.
1. Brush it off.
You tell yourself that it’s all just in your head. It’s just your fear talking. And just because you thought of it, doesn’t make it true.
Go for a walk, or watch a movie, or run. Do anything that can take your mind off of the voice in your head that’s talking nonsense. Is it yelling at you? Just yell back louder and tell it to shut the F up.
2. Read a book that addresses what you’re going through.
I find that most of my ugly head talk isn’t unique. Someone out there has already been through it and more than likely has written a book about it.
Listen to the nasty confidence-killing thought that’s running in a loop and grab a book that’s addressing exactly that. You might even want to have a couple of those books on your bookshelf (or Kindle, iBook, what have you).
Here are my absolute favorite go-to books to stop me from going into the wormhole of self-doubt:
3. Use a lifeline.
Sometimes, just talking to yourself (#1) or reading a book (#2) doesn’t do the trick and you need a lifeline. Phone a friend. Meet him for coffee.
Talk to someone–and this is the crucial part–who understands what you’re going through. You may or may not talk directly about your crisis of confidence episode. Just talk and get out of your head.
During my recent episode, I reached out to two of my mastermind sisters and just wrote, uncensored, what I was feeling. I knew I was talking to a couple of safe pairs of ears, and that there wouldn’t be any judgment coming back my way (that would be the worst). Beyond the suggestions and words of wisdom, both of their messages were of generous and loving support. And you know what? That was exactly what I needed right then to get me through the spin cycle.
4. Timebox your wallowing.
And then, there are times when you just have to give into it because, well, it needs to just go through your system.
When I’ve had to resort to this, I make sure that I put a time limit to my wallowing. I don’t allow the self-pity party to last more than its designated time period. (Please don’t give it more than it deserves.) And when it’s time to move on, then I tell myself, “Okay Lou, you’ve had your bit of nerves there. Time to get up now and keep going.”
Somehow, the fact that I gave it the floor, pacifies the negative voice and puts it to sleep.
5. Focus on those who will benefit from your work.
I’ve only recently picked up this last trick. And I think, it’s actually the most powerful.
Turn your attention away from yourself and focus instead on the people (or person) who will benefit the most from your work or whatever it is that you’re trying to accomplish. Focus on your intentions. Think about the person who could be helped, entertained, or inspired by what you’re trying to do with your work.
Lately, this has been my saving grace, for all the times I want to crawl under the sheets (or finish a tub of ice cream). When I stop thinking about me and focus instead on those whom I may be able to help, the crisis of confidence fades. I stop panicking about whether I’m good enough to hold the ball, and it becomes all about getting to the end zone.
We all experience a crisis of confidence from time to time.
Be kind to yourself and don’t berate yourself for having one. Arm yourself with a set of tools and processes that work for you to help you get out of the spiral.
What other ways do you have to beat your self-doubt episodes? Please share your tips in the comments section below.