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Overcoming Self-Doubt

As a mom raising teenage daughters in high school, I can see versions of my teenage self in them. My twin daughters recently started running cross country. I wanted them to get involved with a team sport because I feel it helps build character, helps them learn prioritization, and would put them in the presence of other high-achieving kids. My kids do well academically but needed a variety until Fortnite becomes a high school sport. Anyone who participated in long-distance running knows it is not easy at all. It is hard. Oh, my kids also started in the middle of the season and are the only girls on the team. So they started with an uphill battle of everyone else being faster-running boys and already being conditioned due to having over a month of practice.

The first week of practice, I received all the painful text messages about how hard the training is, how they almost died, and what body parts feel like they are going to fall off. There weren't many positive thoughts, but I worked hard to change their perspective. I let them know that hard things are usually only hard because we haven't taken the time to learn them and be good at them yet. Easy is only easy because it requires minimal effort and/or you have practiced consistently over time. I kept telling them it will all get better with time. But guess what? None of that really touched them more than me sharing that I also face hard things as an adult with degrees and life experience!

I wanted to adjust their perspective and share that this will likely be the easiest hard thing they have to face in life. We can all do "hard" with some practice and consistency. I shared with them some of the recent "hards" I've faced. They were in disbelief that I, their supermom, could feel defeated, have self-doubt, or view things as hard. I shared how I am an overachiever and want to do well every time I do something. I told them how I get nervous when I have to give a presentation, when I have to do a speech, or even when I am on the pageant stage. I am nervous even if others cannot see it, but it does not stop me from doing what I need to do.

When I think of the self-doubt I face, it is usually when I am performing something new. New things can induce fear which can cause my confidence to decrease. Over time, I have been able to let my desire to excel outperform my fear. Living in a space of low confidence does not even feel good to me, so I must push past it. Even the most successful person you know has moments of self-doubt or lower confidence than you may realize. The reason they are successful is that despite how they feel, they have hope that on the other side of that fear is something bigger and better.

Steps to overcoming self-doubt (in no particular order):

  1. Pause and take a cleansing breath.

  2. Positive self-talk and affirmations. Start with yes you can!

  3. Shrink the size of the challenge. It's likely you have blown it up into a giant mountain when it is actually an anthill.

  4. Do not compare.

  5. Have grace with yourself.

  6. Never give up. Keep at your goal and task.

What are your tips for overcoming self-doubt? I'd love to hear!

Dr. Jackie the PA

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