Kick out doubt

You’ve made the commitment. You’ve done your research. You’re ready to go… then that sibilant voice whispers in your ear you’re doing what? You know it won’t work! You know you’ll fail. That’s all you ever do. Fail, fail, fail! 

Doubt. Insecurity. Hesitation. The voice goes by many names but its impact is the same. You begin to question the research. You waver in your commitment. You hesitate, procrastinate and vacillate. Doubt’s best friends, anxiety and depression might stop by for a house call and suddenly you’ve got an unwelcome frat party going on inside your head led by that devious and dastardly doubt.

So what can you do when doubt shows up wanting to throw a kegger and disrupt your plans? Why not try the following to kick out doubt:


Recognise doubt for what it is
Feelings of doubt and insecurity might first manifest as something else entirely. You might feel overwhelmed by the task before you. Perhaps you’re irrationally angry that there isn’t enough time to get stuck into it. If you question these feelings you may discover they are just masking your own self-doubt. If you question your feelings and uncover doubt congratulate yourself. You’ve made the first step in conquering it; you’ve unmasked it.


Seek a second opinion
Once you’ve recognised that you doubt yourself where this task is concerned, do yourself a favour and seek a second opinion. You already know you’re struggling with doubt, so why then trust your own opinion as to the reality of the situation? You may see things skewed, or with dubiousness clouding your judgment. Ask an impartial outsider what they think. Do they believe in you? Why? Why not? Arm yourself with second opinions.

Take some time out
Doubt can magnify the more you dwell on it. It’s insidious like that. The more you think about it, the more you doubt. So take time out. Time away from the project, the plan, the entire situation. You might not have the luxury of taking a week or even a day out, but at least find an hour. Remove your mind from the issues at hand entirely. Watch a movie. Read a book. Go out with friends. When you return to the issue, you may find clarity returns with you.


Plan and prioritise your next steps
Doubt cripples. Doubt mires. Doubt hobbles you like Kathy Bates hobbled poor James Caan in Misery. One of the best ways to overcome the sucking quicksand of doubt is to carefully and decisively plan your next steps and prioritise your ‘to do’ list. What do you need to do next. What do you need to do next to succeed… to put doubt back in its box. Make the list. Prioritise it.

Finally, there’s only one last action to overcome your doubt;



Heard of a little brand called Nike? Remember their slogan? JUST DO IT!
There is nothing in the world that can slam down doubt like success. At the end of the day, just do it.

So the next time doubt creeps up to the doorstep of your mind and promises to wreck your inner sanctum and leave you with nothing but angry parents and a carpet cleaning bill, kick that doubt to the curb and throw a high faulting’, successful, grand ball of success instead.


*I am currently working through my own doubt (only at step one, recognition) so I thought it timely to share my little remedy to conquer doubt. What do you do to kick out doubt? 

22 thoughts on “Kick out doubt

  1. Ugh, all of this was ME. I totally get what you’re going through. I wish I could give you advice, but I don’t really have any, other than distancing yourself from your doubts and trying super hard to just put your faith in something else, not your doubt. Even in doubting there is faith, just faith in the wrong thing!

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  2. I am part of a loose band of writers and we do not trade review, play the Amazon algorithms or trade favours as most outsiders seem to think, but we do act as support-group/shoulder-to-cry-on for each other. Because when you hit the bottom of the pit, talking with someone that’s been there too, and possibly for similar reasons, helps a lot.
    I would add that to your list – as an expansion of the “seek outside opinion” point.
    Get together with members of your tribe, people with whom you don’t have to keep up appearances, and be glad for the opportunity to let off some steam.

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  3. Sometimes I find that being unafraid to fail helps here. So much of my doubt around writing and being an author is centered around the fear of failure. I want to make it, and I’m trying hard, so if I fail, all those doubts seem to have been correct. By embracing failure as part of the process, doubt seems to hold less of a sway (some days).

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    1. Oh boy that’s a biggie for me too. As a perfectionist and my own worst critic, failure is definitely not an option. Maybe I need to take a leaf from your book and embrace failure instead of making it the enemy. Thanks for the advice Aimee!


  4. I have a confusing combination of a superiority complex while also being riddled with self doubt. At university, occasionally my peers would ask me to read through a paragraph or so to check they were doing the essay right. At that point I’d think ‘oh boy they are terrible, no wonder I’m winging it and still getting good marks.’ But in solitude I read my work and can’t understand what I was thinking when I wrote such utter drivel.
    I don’t know that I’ll ever kick my self doubt but reading bad writing helps. I suspect fifty shades would do wonders for my opinion of my writing…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my god, you just described me! Tee hee, I thought I was the only one who had those evil thoughts about my peers *snort*.
      I don’t know if it’s a superiority complex or just insight. You probably WERE that much better. But great or not, we’re still human (mostly) and still plagued by doubt. Glad to know I’m not alone!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha, I’m pretty much two steps away from evil genius over here. Even got a rough plan for world domination…
        Perhaps self doubt is merely a sign that we are wise enough to know we don’t know everything. Pure confidence probably only comes from pure ignorance.

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  5. I think of it as fear, perhaps because cognitive dissonance won’t allow me to tamely accept cowardice. Besides, then I can pretend I’m Frodo (ette?) going to ditch the Ring instead of hitting the publish button.

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  6. For me taking time off from a project is often the hardest choice. “How are things going to get better if you stop working on this entirely?” But then I remind myself “This isn’t working. It’s time to start thinking outside the box. ‘Yes I know my glasses shouldn’t be in the freezer, but we’ve already looked in all the obvious places.”
    I definitely agree with David Mana, and I think posts like this are a real act of kindness. Often the most powerful medicine is hearing our own struggles echoed in the words of others. Realizing that those I admire have been just as riddled with guilt and doubt continues to be a powerful source of strength for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Realizing that those I admire have been just as riddled with guilt and doubt continues to be a powerful source of strength for me.” YES. This is perhaps the most powerful thing I’ve found on WP so far; the sharing and genuinely caring community.

      Oh and my glasses are usually ALWAYS in the freezer when I lose them!

      Liked by 1 person

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