No matter who you are or how far along you are on the personal development path, inevitably we all, at some point, experience doubt; that feeling of uncertainty, of disbelief in what we want to do, create, have, or become. But I like what Dan Brulé says, “If you’re going to doubt anything in life, doubt your own limitations.”In this episode, I’m going to share with you how I personally deal with doubt, so let’s dive in.
Welcome to the School of Self-Image, where personal development meets style. Here’s your hostess, master life coach Tonya Leigh.
Hello, gorgeous friends. How are you doing today? I’m getting ready to leave for Miami. I have been getting a lot of things done ahead of time, so that when I get to Florida, I can really focus on the event that will have taken place by the time you listen to this. That’s so exciting.
And do you know what I experienced a lot of when I decided to do this event? Doubt. You all know what that feels like, right? You decide to go after a big goal or you’re facing a big decision and you’re about to make it, and then all of a sudden, doubt starts creeping in. So, in this episode, I want to share with you how I deal with doubt.
When I think about everything that I teach, I go through a process. And sometimes, it takes me many years to figure out how to overcome something. And that’s what I bring back to you, to share with you, in hopes that it will support you in whatever you’re dealing with. So, let’s talk about how to deal with doubt.
Here’s what Wikipedia says about doubt, “Doubt is a mental state in which the mind remains suspended between two or more contradictory propositions, unable to be certain of any of them. Doubt, on an emotional level, is indecision between belief and disbelief. It may involve uncertainty, distrust, or lack of conviction on certain facts, actions, motives, or decisions. Doubt can result in delaying or rejecting relevant action out of concern for mistakes or missed opportunities.”
To me, that is the best description ever of doubt, especially when it says that it’s when you are suspended between belief and disbelief. When it comes to doubt, we can doubt our knowledge. Do I know enough to move forward? Do I know enough to teach this topic? Do I know enough to make this decision?
We can also doubt our abilities, “Do I have the ability to ski down that mountain? Do I have the ability to sing the song? Do I have the ability to write a book?” And then, we can doubt our instincts, “Can I trust myself enough to make this decision? Can I trust that inner voice that’s trying to guide me?”
Because when it comes to instincts, there’s always split energy. There’s a part of you, that intuitive part of you that’s like, “Do this.” But then, there’s that other voice that says, “That’s going to be the wrong choice. Better not do that.”
And so, what ends up happening when we listen to doubt is we end up not moving. We end up stuck. So, when it comes to doubt, the first thing that I’ve learned to do is the opposite of what doubt tells me to do.
So, for example, when I decided that I wanted to do an event, immediately I had doubt. I had doubt whether I could sell the event, could I get people to come? I had doubt as to whether I could put together an extraordinary experience, even though I have evidence that I’ve done it before. It’s crazy, right?
I had doubt around being able to find the right team to help me pull off this kind of event. So, the doubt was telling me, “Just don’t do it, Tonya. Just wait until it’s all perfect in your head. Wait until you have all of the answers.”
But the problem with that is, I have to take action to get the answers. Doubt is overcome through action because, as you take action, you learn more. You get more clarity. And the best part is that you gather evidence to overcome your doubt. You’re proving to yourself that you are capable, that you are knowledgeable enough, that you can trust your instincts.
So, that’s the first thing that you should do whenever you have doubt come up. You should do the opposite of what it tells you to do. Because remember, doubt is there to keep you where you are. The brain doesn’t like to change. It wants you to stay comfortable and safe and cozy.
So, the moment you make a decision to move your life in a new direction, you’re going to have doubt. Also, when you have doubt, know that nothing’s gone wrong. That is not a reason not to do it. In fact, it’s a reason to do it.
I think some of you believe that there are people out there who are just confident 100% of the time, they never have doubt. And so, when you have doubt, you think it means that you shouldn’t move forward, that you shouldn’t take action. When, if everyone’s being truthful, unless you’re a sociopath, everyone experiences doubt.
There are moments in our lives when we all experience a lack of confidence. Why? Because we all have human brains. So, having doubt is a part of the process. When it occurs, know that it’s normal.
The second thing that I do when I am experiencing doubt – and this is a big one, you all – is I spend a lot more time arguing for myself versus against myself. So, what does that look like?
Well, let’s just take my event, for example. I spent a lot of time arguing for what I wanted to believe, that I am capable, that there are so many women who want to get together within my community, that they want to have this experience, that I could find an extraordinary team, which I did.
And because I spent more time arguing for myself versus against myself, that energy is what inspired me to continue to take action to create the event. Now, I want you all to think about this. Had I listened to the doubt and argued against myself and what my desire was, I wouldn’t have gone on to put the offer into the world of, “I’m hosting an event.” Which ended up selling out within hours. It was crazy. But I would have never had that experience had I listened to the doubt.
Now, let me tell you, there have been times in my life where I have moved forward, and I have failed. But do you know what I learned in those moments? I learned about what worked, what didn’t work. I learned more about who I needed to become. I learned about how to deal with failure and rejection and that discomfort, which only made me stronger, which set me up for more success later on.
So, there are no failures when you learn from them, and you grow from them. So, even if you doubt something and you argue for yourself and it inspires you to take action and you fail, you don’t get the result you want, that is also a part of the process.
There is no straight line to success. Often, on the way to success, you’re going to have a lot of failures along the way. And those failures, if you’re not mindful, will trick you into believing your own doubt. But you’re so much bigger than that.
So, whenever you’re doubting yourself – maybe you’re wanting to lose weight and you decide that you are committed, you’re going all in, and all of a sudden, the doubt arises. And remember, doubt is when the mind is suspended between belief and disbelief. That’s all it is.
So, in that moment, you can look to your past to prove to yourself why it can’t happen, to disbelieve in yourself and your dreams, or you can look to your future, and you can argue for why it can and will happen. And that energy that you create in loving yourself so much that you’re willing to argue and fight for yourself, not against yourself, will be the energy that drives you forward to lose the weight.
So, spend time arguing for yourself, fighting for yourself when that doubt arises. And in fact, just pull out a piece of paper and write down all of the reasons why you can do it, why it is possible for you, why you are capable, how you are knowledgeable enough, whatever you’re struggling with, create the case for yourself.
And finally, when it comes to overcoming and dealing with doubt, you must consistently practice acting from your future because, think about it, the future you is the version of you who has created the results that you’re wanting to create and who is being who you want to be.
And so, in order to create those results and be her, you have to practice being her now and coming from that energy. So, here’s a great example – I find that example are always the best, right?
So, I experienced a tremendous amount of doubt when I moved to Denver two years ago. I was experiencing such a big shift in my identity, and I was, like, quantum leaping at that point. And how it presented itself for me was I decided that I was going to get a penthouse. And I had a big gap of cognitive dissonance.
For three years, I had been living with my ex-partner in his house. So, I wasn’t paying rent, however I paid for everything else, plus. But when it came to paying for a place, I had this belief that I could not afford rent. Which now, looking back, is so crazy and silly because the amount of money I was spending when I was with him, I could have paid four people’s rent.
But my brain, I was quantum leaping my identity when I moved to Denver. And so, I went and looked at several places. And when I found the place that really spoke to me and discovered that it was a penthouse and it came with a penthouse price, I had so much doubt. So much doubt.
The doubt told me things like, “Who do you think you are? You can’t afford this…” which was not true, “You should get something less,” right? And that had been the voice that I’ve been working on overcoming for so long, like, “You don’t deserve this. Who do you think you are?”
You know, when you grow up in a trailer, there’s a money mindset that, even today, I’m still unravelling. I still find things popping up and like, “Oh, that’s interesting.” But back to my example, it was an opportunity. It was like I was at the crossroads between belief and disbelief.
And I’m like, “You know, I can spin my wheels in fighting for why this isn’t possible and why I shouldn’t do it. Or I can spend time arguing for what I want.” Because what I deeply wanted was this space. I had never lived in a space like this. It was so beautiful.
And I thought about my future self and what she would say and what she would do in that moment. And she was like, “Girl, get the penthouse. Let’s go.” And I did. And I cannot tell you all, being in that surrounding for over a year changed me.
You know, I talk about surroundings being a part of what shapes our self-image. And it’s like I made that decision, and then I lived into it. And that decision changed me. It provided evidence for who I wanted to be, versus making a decision that would have kept confirming how I had been seeing myself.
And now, it’s just my new norm to be in this kind of surrounding. You know, I talk about self-image being like a thermostat. However you see yourself, you’re going to create on a subconscious level. Well, now I see myself in that type of space.
And so, since then, I’ve moved into a space that’s even better. And it’s like we get to keep increasing what is normal for us, what our new normal are. But in order to do that, you can’t listen to the doubt. You can’t let the doubt stop you. You have to learn to doubt your own doubt. You have to spend time arguing for yourself and why you can do it.
You have to do the opposite of what the doubt tells you to do and then continuously act from your future. And as you do, my friends, you’re going to be collecting more and more evidence for what you want to see. And you’ll be attracting completely new opportunities, people, and things into your experience.
So, when your mind is suspended between belief and disbelief, you have a choice. You can spend a lot of time in the disbelieving. You can spend a lot of time thinking about, “What if this doesn’t work out?” You can spend a lot of time thinking about why it’s not possible for you.
And if you do that, just know that you will never get to experience the greatness of who you really are and what’s available to you. I want you to spend time in the believing part of it, looking at why it is possible for you, why you can do it, and arguing your case for your greatness, for your extraordinary self.
And when you do that, you’re going to be in a completely different energetic state, which will drive you to do different things, that will lead to very different results. And because I’m always setting big, extraordinary goals for myself, it feels like I’m always going through this process.
There’s usually not a day that goes by that I don’t have some kind of doubt. Maybe the doubt is, “Am I going to be able to get this all done today?” Maybe the doubt it, “Can I handle all of this?” Our doubt comes up in many different ways.
Maybe the doubt for me is, “Am I going to be able to lift this heavy of a weight?” I’ve been in the gym a lot recently. And what I can tell you is that, in those moments, we can get to work on believing in ourselves. And that’s what I do. And that’s why I’ve been able to create the results that I’ve created. And they’re only getting better.
Why? Because I’m getting better at dealing with my own doubt. I don’t spend a lot of time ruminating in my doubt anymore. I used to. And my results were a lot slower to achieve in those moments. I just don’t spend time arguing against myself anymore.
If I’m going to spend my energy on something, I want it to be arguing for myself. and I spend more time in my future and acting from that place and making decisions from that place than thinking about my past. That’s all. That’s the only difference.
So, the next time you experience doubt, here’s what I want you to do. Do the opposite of what the doubt’s telling you to do. That’s number one. Then spend time arguing for yourself. And then finally, think about your future self and act from her mindset, from her energy. What would she tell you to do?
And if you do those things – the doubt is never going to go away, especially if you’re committed to your own growth. But you are going to get better at dealing with it. And you’re going to be collecting evidence as to what happens when you deal with doubt in a way that serves you.
In closing, I want you to remember this. Who you are underneath the doubt is so much bigger than the doubt itself. And that’s the part I want you to learn to access. Listen to her. Trust her. Do what she tells you to do. Have a great week, everyone, and I can’t wait to see you in next week’s episode.
Hey, have you grabbed your free copy of the School of Self-Image Manifesto? If not, what in the world? Head over to schoolofselfimage.com/manifesto and get a copy that teaches you how to think and show up in the areas of mindset, style, and surroundings so that you can transform your self-image.