Self-doubt is something I have never struggled with, or so I thought. I didn’t know there was a word for that feeling I would get in the pit of my stomach when something wasn’t quite going the way I wanted it to. I have often found myself abandoning tasks; I attributed this to my perfectionism – if something didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to it seemed easier to leave it and start something else.
In her book, Wire Your Brain for Confidence, The Science of Conquering Self-Doubt, Louisa taught me not only how to recognize self-doubt but how to take control of it. The following are my three takeaways from this book.
1. Find Peace at 6
People, women, in particular, feel a need to be successful in all realms of their lives. For example, being a great mother, friend, daughter, wife, colleague, volunteer athlete etc. We set these unrealistic goals for ourselves which sets us up for failure. In the Peace at 6 exercise (page 39), Louisa encourages the reader to create a list of everything they strive to be good at. Within that list, you are asked to then choose 3 items that you want to be at a level 10. Everything else you have to be ok with being at a level 6. Aiming to be a 10 within 3 areas of your life is obtainable and realistic, imagine how difficult or even impossible it would be to try to be at a level 10 in over 15 areas of your life. That’s just CRAZY! Yet that is exactly what we strive for, so breaking this cycle is all about having perspective.
2. Self-Efficacy is the Key to Success
Self-efficacy is the belief you have in your own capabilities within a specific situation. For example, if you have a goal to run a marathon, but you’ve never run a day in your life, your running self-efficacy would be pretty low. Conversely, if you have been running daily every day, have been researching running gear, and are constantly talking to others who have run marathons, your running self-efficacy would likely be high.
When it comes to self-efficacy, belief is a key determinant. If you BELIEVE you are incapable of a specific skill, your self-efficacy in this area will be lowered by your belief and will, therefore, result in a poor performance. To help shift your belief, research indicates you should seek out individuals in your same age range and gender, in other words, similar to you, who are skilled in this area. By witnessing their success, your self-efficacy can be positively impacted; after all, if they can do it, so can you.
3. Surround Yourself With the Right People
Louisa stresses the importance of surrounding yourself with the right people. These are people that are going to empower you to be the best version of yourself. This can be with family members, friends or even colleagues, however, remember they need to propel you forward, not hold you back. Consider creating your own mastermind group (Louisa recommends no more than 4) with accomplished individuals who have done things you aspire to. Once you have your group organized, plan to meet in person or via video call at least once a month. These meetings will allow you to set goals, ask for advice, and hold each other accountable for to follow through on your intentions.
Whether you suffer from self-doubt or work with people who do, this book will give you the tools to become a better version of yourself and empower others to succeed.
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