Self doubt (and its twin, shame)

It comes up constantly with clients though few will raise how it feels.

They’re passionate souls who want to make a difference and know they’re good at what they do, but OMG when it comes to writing about it, talking about it or (even worse) selling it, all kinds of Inner Gremlins tumble out of the woodwork to stop them, especially if they’re ready to take their business to the next level.

You probably know what I mean?

Those Little Voices in your head that say:

self doubt

  • Who do you think you are?
  • You’re such a fraud
  • You’re not good enough
  • You’re not ready yet
  • No-one will pay you for this
  • Who will listen to you?
  • Nobody wants this
  • They can’t afford it
  • This is never going to work
  • And … you can add to the list 🙂

And how does that make you feel?

Personally, in those moments, I look around at others in my field who have got their act together and are out there doing their thing brilliantly, and I feel lonely; inadequate; less than; separate; embarrassed; ashamed; and afraid.

But is that normal?

Yes. Absolutely. Completely. 100%.

To build a business we have to keep stepping out of the old comfort zone – which is guaranteed to call out our Inner Gremlins in droves!

And if you believe, as many do, that you’re the only one hearing those Little Voices, then it’s also normal to feel self doubt and shame around them.

The good news is though that the very fact you’re hearing the Little Voices and feeling those horrible feelings is a surefire sign that you’re on a path to growth.

Here’s something to help with that

Recently I’ve been listening to Pema Chodron’s ‘Good Medicine, where she speaks about unconditional self-acceptance and our relationship with pain or difficulty as a pathway to awakening the heart.

I’ve been using the basic level of Tonglen practice she teaches and finding it powerful. It goes like this …

When things are difficult or painful in any area of your life, have the simple thought:

“Other people feel this”

Buddhas and self doubt
Repeating this often, even when you can’t totally believe it, lessens the feelings of separation, shame and isolation that come with the Little Voices, and reconnects you with the rest of humanity.

Because it really is true, no matter what the feeling is, other people feel this.

Including all of your peers and those other professionals you compare yourself to who have made it to the top of their field.

My invitation to you

Give it a try the next time you find yourself triggered into worry and self doubt, anger, frustration or any other kind of negative emotion. Allow yourself the simple thought:

“Other people feel this”

Then come back and let us know what you discover. We’d love to know.

PS: Need a hand with the gremlins?

I’m here for you. Go here now and apply for a Discovery Session with me. It’s completely free of charge and there’s no obligation to take things further:

Apply for a Discovery Session

At the very least you’ll get clarity on what’s standing in your way, plus some great tips for moving forward.

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14 Comments on Is This Really Normal?

  1. Yes, a great reminder that we all have the voices of self-doubt! I like your suggestion because it helps people normalize the thoughts, and then the thoughts aren’t so powerful. Nice post, Linda!

  2. Thank you Linda, I found this so useful this morning as I looked at the pile of to-do’s in front of me & I got that voice saying… can I really do this?. The simple statement “other people feel this too” made me feel safe & connected regardless. It’s a fab tip especially as the “separation” part has been a biggie for me recently.
    Huge thanks for this post.

  3. It’s amazing how those four little words loosens the grip. I was just reading this instead of doing something I feel apprehensive about starting … and what I thought of immediately after reading those words were the others that I know who were apprehensive about starting as well.

    I liked how you mention that having these things come up is an indication that we’re on a path of growth. Exactly. Recently someone pointed out to me that willingness to feel struggle and work through it (rather than just sidestep it) is actually required to grow so there’s no point in resisting it if we really want to grow.

    So thanks for that. I’lll go do my thing now. 😉

  4. It’s a lovely way to acknowledge we are all connected! Feeling less separate already… good luck with all your endeavours!

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