Self-doubt is a prison that can seem impenetrable. It can confine you and trap you in its own world. Unlike an actual prison though, you can break free and it is not a life sentence. The beauty is that by breaking free you can find significant growth. Yes, this means you. By stepping out on my own I have seen the compound effect of overcoming self-doubt and I want you to experience it as well.
By nature, I am a very cautious person. I am someone who doesn’t like to fail or be the center of attention. Seems odd that I would have a public blog like this, but we will get to that later. It is very easy for me to try to maintain my current status and not stand out.
Doing that though, has felt empty at times. It feels empty for a number of reasons. While I do what I can to stay the same in my own bubble I inevitably watch others have success and grow. When I see others have success, I get jealous, and that jealousy makes me bitter.
I get jealous because my natural reaction is to think I am not able do the things I see other peers doing. At times, I don’t believe in myself. This has occurred many times in my life and is still something I struggle with.
It is so easy to get jealous and think others are special and that there is no way I can find a similar level of success. The problem with that though is that we all have potential and my jealously can severely limit what I do. I can’t grow while I am focusing on tearing down someone else. I can grow though while I build myself and others up.
This jealousy seems to operate from a scarcity mindset. Instead, I need to realize that there is abundance in the success of others.
By looking at the success of others and finding ways to believe in myself I saw that I too can be successful. By taking small steps, one by one, I have seen a compound effect that has me in a position I never dreamed of.
The Investment We Make In Ourselves
Our lives are like money. There are three approaches one can take with it.
- It can be wasted away.
- It can stay the same.
- It can be invested and grow.
As we go through life, we will experience all three. Some worse than others, but it is a part of being human.
Sometimes, it can be a major victory just to maintain. If you struggle with such issues as depression, addictions or life threatening poor health the ability to maintain or stay the same is a big victory.
At other times, the idea of maintaining, is severely limiting one’s potential. It can be so disappointing watching someone never grow. And it can be so rewarding watching a loved one grow.
So, just like money, we want to be rich. We want to be rich in a way that extends far past money.
The only way that can happen though, is if you are willing to step out past that self-doubt and be ready to grow.
The good news is that as we step out of our comfort zone, we take one step at a time. We won’t conquer the world in one day, but we do make progress.
Each step adds up. As you learn to walk, you gain more confidence. You can then start to walk faster. Then you start to run.
Little by little you will you will be able to do so much more than you ever thought possible. To quote Tony Roberts, “once you have mastered time, you will understand how true is it that most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year – and underestimate what they can achieve in a decade!”
If you don’t start, you don’t get to enjoy the journey. You just end up watching others on theirs.
Now, you may not fail like those that stepped out. But, you certainly won’t grow. You will maintain and that is disappointing when you have so much potential.
Just like investing money, you too have the ability to grow. But if you don’t invest it, it won’t grow.
As you invest money, it gets easier, just as life does after you take those first few steps.
Those first steps are the trickiest, yet the most important. There might be bigger challenges ahead of you, but if you don’t mentally commit to those steps you’ll never have the opportunity to fail.
Just as the stock market goes up and down, so do we. When all is said and down though, the market always goes up in time, and if we invest in ourselves we will see positive growth.
The Compound Effect Of Overcoming Self-Doubt
Just as with money, there is a compound effect to how we grow. When self-doubt has a hold of you, you are stuck in the negative or just maintaining at best. When you push past it you gain a tremendous amount and grow.
By making small decisions each day to push yourself you will see progress much quicker than you initially thought. A few months later when you look back you will be very surprised and pleased with what you have achieved.
All those thing that you thought you weren’t good enough to do, guess what, you now know more than most people do about them. And you have seen the benefits from those actions.
You may not have giant success with them yet or even ever, but you have pride knowing that you tried. Now, you can teach others how to do the same and inspire others. And with further effort you could break through if you haven’t yet.
That pride can help you in other areas. You know that it won’t be so bad the next time. By stepping out that one time, it gives you confidence to do it again and again.
Your small achievements can build and create a larger accomplishment that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.
After gaining some initial achievements you realize that you can try other things once thought impossible. You then step out towards those and find more success. As a result, that one initial action can lead to multiple successes.
This is the compound effect of overcoming self-doubt.
A book that has influenced me on this idea is The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy. I highly recommend it.
9 Ways To Overcome Self-Doubt And Be The Best You
OK, so how do we overcome self-doubt then? On one hand, it isn’t easy. On the other hand, it isn’t so bad. I guess it is just how you look at it, right?
It is all about your frame of mind so BE POSITIVE and CONFIDENT.
1. Don’t Care What Others Think
This can be tough to do at times admittedly. You need to focus on you, and what you need to do, to take that next step. If you are doing what you think others want you to do or are hesitating due to criticisms from others you will go down the wrong path.
A big part of this step is to be content with who you are. If you are paying off debt, who care if others don’t agree or think you should spend more money. Find happiness in your own situation and the decisions you are making for yourself.
2. People Aren’t Focused On You Anyways
Just as you don’t care about what others do every second of their lives, they don’t care either. It might seem as though we have a microscope on our lives for the word to see, but unless you are a politician, that just isn’t the case.
This isn’t really an action point other than to understand that you are more autonomous than you realize.
3. People Have Their Own Self-Doubt Too
One reason why others aren’t so focused on you is because they have their own struggles. It is important to realize this as often we only see the success in someone’s life.
Even the most successful people have self-doubt. Eventually though, they break through it. We can learn from them and find inspiration in what they achieve.
Avoid jealousy and know that high tide raises all ships. If they can be successful, then you can too.
4. Know It Is OK To Fail
Success and growth come with failure. In fact, it is often through failure that you can grow and find success. You learn from your mistakes and you realize that it isn’t so bad.
Failure is inevitable, but it is how you respond to it that will determine who you are. It is never too late to get back up and try again. The best have failed, and while you will too, it just means you are getting it out of the way so that you find success sooner.
5. Don’t Have To Have Instant Success
Success is not determined by how quick you get there. Oftentimes it is easy to quit before you break through. As much as knowing when to quit is good, it is also important to not quit too soon.
Realize that things often take longer than you think they will. Even if you find failure in the beginning it helps you to build a foundation. Focus on the foundation and the success will come in time.
6. Have People That You Can Trust Around You
As much as you need to have confidence in yourself, it is important to have people that you can trust around you. This involves both people that can encourage you and provide mentorship as well as telling you when you need to push harder or try again.
It is much easier to get over what others are saying when you have a supporter that you can trust.
7. Realize You’ll Never Be Perfect And That Is OK
In a world of airbrushing and photoshop, nothing is quite as it seems anymore. What might appear to be crazy success that someone else is having might not be what you think it is.
Others aren’t perfect, and neither are you. So, don’t strive for perfection. Just strive to improve yourself.
Also realize, that just because you aren’t perfect, don’t think that there is no point in trying. There is tons of value in the experience of working towards a goal. Don’t miss that growth opportunity.
8. Remember What You Have Achieved
When you are struggling through something and feeling like you have hit a wall remember all the things you have achieved. No one can take those away from you.
It is so easy to feel the loses harder than our wins. Keep the wins at the forefront of your mind to find confidence as you go forward. Don’t get cocky, but use it as a way to know that things will be OK.
9. Find Inspiration In Other’s Success
High tide raises all ships. Operate from an abundance mindset and realize that the success of others can help you. You can learn from them and be motivated by them.
Some friendly competition is OK, but it can’t turn into jealousy or you will lose yourself. Hearing others success stories was the #1 reason we thought it was OK to pay our debt off early.
Seek out others who have had success and learn from them.
My Compound Growth
So, how have I learned to step out and defeat my self-doubt?
7 years ago, I thought it was OK to just maintain and make the minimum payments on our debt. 3 years later we paid off $107K in 33 months.
That one decision has led to so much success that we wouldn’t have had otherwise. Let’s look at what has occurred.
- By paying off our debt early we saved $40,000 in interest. That means we recovered $40K that would have gone to finance our debt over time, but now we can invest it to make us money. We learned how much we could save using this amortization calculator.
- It gave us confidence in our other financial goals. This includes us saving $12,000 for an emergency fund in 3 months.
- By getting control of our finances we saw that we could live off one paycheck and my wife could stay home with the kids like she always dreamed.
- A year and a half ago we started this blog about helping people get out of debt. We were now able to pay it forward and gain new skills that we didn’t have otherwise.
- 8 months ago, we started various side hustles that has made us $1,800 in that timeframe. If it wasn’t for the blog, we most likely wouldn’t have been willing to try them.
- We now have multiple other ideas for side hustles that we want to do in the future. All from other websites to businesses selling physical products. Can’t wait to see what the future holds.
Your Compound Growth
Looking back, we could have maintained our debt status. We could have said, “let’s not make any waves and just go with the flow.” No one would have faulted us. It may not have been the most comfortable, but it would have been safe.
We could have failed at paying off debt just like I had in the past. Instead, we believed and found success. That success has lead us in a direction we wouldn’t have imagined. Combined with the help and inspiration of others we had a path forward.
My encouragement is for you to just take that first step. It can be small, but promise me that you will then take another, and another. Don’t stop growing.
Your accomplishments will compound in a way you never thought possible for yourself.
It’s not possible though without getting past the self-doubt and taking that first step.
I believe in you.
I agree with so many points in this post! Perfectionism is counter productive. If a task seems daunting, break it down into bits. Don’t worry about what others think. Self doubt still haunts me from time to time, but I give it a swift kick in the behind and keep pressing forward.
Thanks so much! We can’t avoid it but we can remind it of what we can do. That helps keep it at bay!
Thanks for this encouragement! I tend to go through moments of “ok I can do this”, but then get overwhelmed and paralysed by self doubt, so I always need articles like this to keep me going and realise that others have these doubts, and that I should just focus on my own thing instead of comparing myself to others. By the way, congrats on all your side hustle progress! I’m following along with interest 🙂
Thanks a lot for following along on our journey. The more we share our struggles then I think everyone realizes how normal it is to deal with rather than feel isolated. Good luck and keep up the hard work!