A perfectionist by nature and my own harshest critic, I have battled with self-doubt my whole life. Anxiety about what people think of me, fear of failure on the tennis court and doubting my ability to truly fulfil my potential.
Sometimes all I wanted was to hide and go unnoticed in case someone spotted the flaws that I saw in myself.
There were matches when I would be in a winning position, playing against opponents ranked much higher than me and yet, I couldn't quite close it out because my body became tense and my mind, which had been faithfully focused up until that point, began whispering, "I don't have what it takes. I'm not enough."
They say sport is 99% mental and %1 everything else and I think that's a really great metaphor for life. It all comes down to our outlook, the way we see ourselves and the world around us.
Is it irrational to doubt ourselves? For sure. Does it cripple our performance? Absolutely. But that negative way of thinking is completely changeable - trust me!
I've never been one of those cocky, arrogant types and not a "screw the haters" kind of girl either. It just doesn't feel right for me to fuel my self-belief with arrogance, anger or bitterness.
Instead, I work towards having that beautiful balance between being humble and kind whilst absolutely, whole-heartedly believing in myself. Backing myself. Going for my dreams and not letting myself or others get in the way.
I don't want to arrive at the end of my life wondering, "What if?!" I want to look back and say I gave my absolute all to whatever I applied myself to - whether it’s a job, a relationship, a hobby or a goal - and reached the limits of my potential!
So, here are a few of the ways that I practice kicking my doubt to the curb and exchanging it for an unshakeable self-belief;
1. Grow your awareness
It's tough to change anything internal if you aren't in touch with what your mind is saying to you.
Slow down, breathe and pay attention to what thoughts and emotions you're having.
This gives you the possibility to let go of them. To smile and choose not to let them deter you from believing in yourself. The way you talk to yourself MATTERS, so sometimes I like to replace my negative thoughts with a positive affirmation such as;
"Whatever my fears tell me, I choose to believe in myself. I deserve my own support.”
2. Don’t take the opinions of others to heart if they don't support your purpose.
Much like the fears of your own mind, the fears and judgement of other people don't serve you.
If you value someone's opinion, ask them for their advice and listen! But if they put you down or judge your ideas, it's a reflection of their unhappiness. Nothing else. A true friend will share honestly how they feel but in a non-judgemental and supportive way and really, it's your life - not their's!
If someone says something hurtful or negative about me or my goals, this is what I remind myself;
"The opinion of one person cannot deter me from what I truly aim for. Keep going."
3. Take action!
What you put out you get back.
The way you carry yourself impacts you; carry yourself with warmth and openness and it will help you feel more confident and conversely being timid and untoward and it will reaffirm your self-doubt.
Whether you're preparing for a sports match, applying for a job or starting your own business, take actions to believe in yourself. Looking at the peak of the mountain is daunting so keep your target in the back of your mind but focus on the immediate step in front of you. Ask yourself; “What is the just the next step I need to make?” and take it!
Focus on what you can do, not want you can't. Don't delay or procrastinate just go for it because the more you go for it, the easier it will become.
Then, the world will be truly influenced by your strength, courage and inner-beauty.
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