Why Self-Doubt is Actually Necessary for Your Success

Everywhere you turn for inspiration there are these resources about how the power of positivity is going to make you 7 figures of income next month. If these people can do it, why can’t you? You start up a gratitude practice. Maybe dive into yoga.

You’re trying SO. DAMN. HARD. to shift your mindset. But there’s this asshole in the way by the name of Self-Doubt.

Self-doubt tells you “this is so stupid” when you try meditation for the first few times. It’s what makes reaching out to someone you admire seem nearly impossible. It’s what makes you constantly question your ability to do this whole “starting a business” thing. No matter how hard you try to believe in yourself and make the changes you need to in your life, self-doubt is nagging at you every step of the way; not whispering, but rather screaming in your ear, “THERE’S NO WAY YOU CAN POSSIBLY DO THIS.”

To make things worse, it’s inconsistent. Yesterday was fan-freaking-tastic. You secured a new client. Got interviewed by an awesome online magazine (and that exposure is obviously going to lead to more sales, right?). Hit your income goals for the month. Breezed through every step of the new morning routine you’re implementing to set your day up for success. Maybe you evened popped around to a few of the Facebook Groups entrepreneurs tend to hang out in to share your good mood and help lift up others.

How do you balance out the emotional roller coaster of owning a business? You don't. You learn to honor the bad days because they are just as important to your success as the good ones.

Today, yesterday seems like it was all just a dream. Your highest paying client is totally up your ass about something you have no control over. Your inbox is overflowing with people who need things from you. No one wants to pay their invoices on time – conveniently right when all your bills are due. You skip any mindset work you’ve been practicing because what’s the point? Instead of eating healthy and putting your frustration into a workout, you’re in a state of “give me all the chocolate. And sugar. And cupcakes. And no, I’m not sharing.” You can’t get anything done. You’re worthless. What are you even doing?

Stop it. Good day or bad, YOU ARE A ROCKSTAR. Don’t believe me? Here are 10 signs that you’re rocking your business, even if you think you aren’t… You are chasing your dreams. You made a decision some time ago that you were not going to settle for a career you weren’t satisfied with. Plus, you’re still doing it. If you look back and notice a slew of more shitty days than good ones, you are a true GEM. I know, call me crazy. All those low days filled with overwhelm, guess what? YOU SURVIVED THEM. You have made it through 100% of the worst days you’ve ever had and you’re still here, so you’ll make it through this one, and the next one, and the rest of them.

You are always going to have bad days. I wish I had a magic wand that I could use to take them all away.

… Actually, no I don’t. When I look back, the biggest lessons I’ve learned and the spurts in my personal growth, even when I was so broken by my business (or lack there of) that I contemplated suicide, have all come out of the worst times.

Before you read any further, you need to understand that only you can increase your self-worth. It’s an internal job. I know that support groups and other stuff might help in some form, but the highs of your business will never last if you’re constantly looking for validation from everyone else. You know how people say, “how do you expect other people to believe in you if you can’t even believe in yourself?” I’m with them. At some point, you believed in yourself enough to start your business, so I know you have it in you to believe in your own success.

Honor the bad days, they are just as important as the good ones. Success isn’t about miraculously conjuring up a way to turn all your bad days into good ones. People who succeed know that the bad days matter and that they bring an immense amount of self discovery and knowledge with them.

“Learning from each mistake requires self-awareness and humility, but it can be one of the biggest keys to reaching your full potential.” – Amy Morin, Author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do.

When self-doubt starts to creep its way in, instead of using your energy to try to push it back out, ask yourself where that doubt is coming from. Is it because a similar situation in the past didn’t go as planned? Are you afraid of what might happen, or the extra responsibilities you’ll need to take on if you do succeed? Do you feel unequipped to accomplish the task at hand? Are you doubting yourself because people are telling you that you can’t do this?

You cannot fight self-doubt because it will only fight right back. That’s why you need to rein it in, make it your friend, show it your appreciation, and let it know you’re in this together. Tame the lion (did you think the picture above was just for emotional appeal??)…

When you can identify the source of your self-doubt, you can then control it. Maybe self-doubt is trying to tell you there’s a skill you need to invest in before you journey down this road. Or, it might be telling you that you need to get all your ducks in a row so that if this does work, you know what you’re doing next. Perhaps it’s there to tell you to get rid of the toxic relationships in your life. Discovering the stem of our self-doubt can reveal an important step or precaution we need to take.

Other times, it’s a test. Your subconscious is testing you to see if you’re ready for success, and if you keep letting your self-doubt get in the way, then you’re never going to succeed. By letting self-doubt influence you, you are reinforcing to yourself “I am not ready for this yet”. Self-doubt is setting you up for the haters, for the negative feedback, for your first 4 instead of 5 star review on Etsy.

Acquiring that emotional strength and mental courage as a result of your self-doubt will exponentially increase the level of success you are able to achieve.

On the other hand, if you are constantly maintaining low levels of self-worth, you’re putting yourself in a detrimental position. Self-doubt is a greedy monster. If you don’t control it or make an attempt to stare it in the face, it will, without a doubt, overtake you. When you let it run loose, in addition to devouring the interpretation of your self-worth, you can say “goodbye” to your confidence, productivity, inspiration, motivation, creativity, and most importantly, your mental health.

Your failures are a reflection of your self-worth, but not the way you think. The bad times – they indicate resilience. Falling on your ass means you had the determination to try. Being able to fail and keep going only adds to your value, it does not decrease your self worth (I’d even argue to say that it increases how valuable you are as a person). If you aren’t failing, you aren’t trying hard enough. Here is the right way to handle a failure.

And if you fail miserably, so what?

Bloomberg Business notes that failed entrepreneurs are more likely to succeed on their second try, and the reason is because successful entrepreneurs never quit. BOOM. Just another reason that success comes from failing. Keep the failures coming, Gem. We actually gave a moment of silence to the failed business attempts, the ideas you were too busy to implement, sour collaborations, partnerships that went south, and dreams that never got a chance in the #GemNation Facebook Group today. Ultimately, don’t aim for a successful business, aim for a successful LIFE.

This inner ability to respond resiliently to failure and adversity – the quality that allows successful people to enable themselves to “keep going” and stick to their long-term goals – is defined as mental toughness, according to Entrepreneur.com. We’ll get into mental toughness more in coming posts, but it’s important to mention now because it’s the skill you need to identify that “why” of self-doubt, especially during difficult times when your commitment levels are ready to plummet. Keep in mind, “the internal drive to achieve goals despite setbacks is what distinguishes the world class from average performers” explains Karima Mariama, founder and CEO of WordSmithRapport

Give yourself a mighty pat on the back because you’re trying, learning, failing, and care enough to read this article on improving yourself. That counts for a lot in my book. Bottom line: realize that self-doubt is always there for a reason. It’s never going to go away. Your options are either to use it, or lose out on your dreams. You decide.

More ways to stop getting in your own way: