I hadn’t planned on entering an inspirational speaker’s competition but at 4 pm a couple of Fridays ago, a friend told me that Speaker Slam was accepting entries up until midnight so I just went for it. I’m doing a lot of that these days (just going for it, I mean) because I find the quicker I act, the less I engage with self-doubt.
Self-doubt isn’t a bad thing.
If we never questioned our thoughts or capabilities, we’d be spending way too much of our time digging ourselves out of dark and dangerous holes (or escaping bad first dates through bathroom windows).
Just as fear alerts us to potential danger, self-doubt alerts us to potential failure. The question is, what are the potential rewards of overcoming our doubt?
I had no experience as a speaker. I’d never entered such a contest before. I had no time to craft the perfect story. Was I likely to win, let alone make it to the qualifying round? Absolutely not, yet I slapped on some lipstick, poufed up my hair, and hit record because the potential reward was worth pushing through the self-doubt.
In my case, the reward of entering this competition lay in a chance to satisfy an itch that began in 2018 when I attended a conference hosted by Happy Healthy Women. As I sat there listening to one inspiring speaker after another, I thought to myself, “I want to do that when I grow up!”
I want to share my stories with a bigger audience. I want to help cup-half-empty women fill their cups. I want to make a difference in the lives of others while simultaneously feeding my own soul. Although I felt nowhere near ready to step into the shoes of the women I so admired, I knew this was a step in the right direction, so I jumped in.
If something is calling you — like, really, really calling you — you owe it to yourself to listen. And when self-doubt tries to sabotage your deepest desires, you owe it to yourself to push through. Here are some tips to help you do just that.
1. When in doubt, own it.
Just don’t let it own you!
Self-doubt is part of the human experience — as are joy, fulfillment, and success. The issue isn’t whether or not you acknowledge it, but rather, whether or not you allow it to play a leading role in your life. (Been there. Done that. Trying something different!)
2. Consider what’s at stake.
Unless you have evidence that the outcome you desire is 100% certain, you’re taking some degree of risk.
As with any risk, we need to consider what’s at stake. Ask yourself, what’s the worst that could happen? (If the answer you come up with is looking like an ass, read my post entitled I’m afraid of looking like an ass!)
3. Tune out the naysayers.
You’ve got enough of your own self-doubt to contend with so don’t go throwing the doubt of others into the mix.
You know who your negative nellies are. Steer clear of them and when you can’t, keep your sharing to a minimum. The less space you make for naysayers, the more room you’ll have for your truest champions. (Side note: make sure you’re one of them!)
4. Keep your eyes on the prize.
By that, I mean your final destination.
Yes, you want to enjoy the journey but if you forget why it is you’re on a given path, you’ll be less inclined to stay on it. I didn’t enter that speaking competition for the joy of entering that speaking competition; I did it because I want to take the stage at events like the one I attended in 2018. Having my eyes on the prize is what motivated me to push through self-doubt.
5. Act. And fast!
If, after assessing the risks and rewards, your gut tells you there’s more to be gained than lost, take action before self-doubt has a chance to get the better of you because trust me, it’s gonna try!
So, about that speaker’s competition.
Did I make it to the second round? Nope, but I do have this video to show for my efforts. It’s a story about a jackass on a train who turned out not to be such a jackass after all.
I’m glad I get to share this story with you, so there — take that, self-doubt!
Now, go do something that makes you uncomfortable.
Viv for Today xo
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