Self-Doubt – Turning it from Obstacle into Opportunity

My very favorite part of this HVAC Chick blogging adventure has been the opportunity to hear from many amazing women in business and leadership positions who relate in some way to my stories. Recently I noticed a common theme in many of their stories. Despite the fact that they have achieved great success, they all at one time or another experienced self-doubt.

Whether it’s the entrepreneur who started her own very successful business making super hero capes for children (what a cool business!), the stay-at-home Mom and City Councillor who decided to throw her hat in the ring and run for Mayor, or the third generation business owner earning her place in the family business, all of these women at one time or another questioned their qualifications and their ability to succeed. To many, this self-doubt is perceived as weakness. A lack of self-confidence. I see it a different way.

She believedI think that an honest self-appraisal is not only an appropriate, but also an incredibly wise step when undertaking such important and challenging roles. What truly deserving person wouldn’t feel humbled and a little overwhelmed at the prospect of running an entire city?!? Deciding to start or take over the running of a business is an enormous responsibility. All of those employees depending on you, the financial burdens you accept, and the many demands that take you away from home and family. It ought to be a decision entered into with caution and care.

Self-doubt is no easy emotion. If you allow it to dominate and overwhelm you, it will stop you in your tracks. On the other hand, if you totally ignore self-doubt and the opportunity for self-discovery that it provides, you proceed with false bravado. Not confidence, but OVERconfidence. And that willful ignorance can jeopardize your future success and negatively impact those who put their trust in you.

The key is balance. Allowing just enough self-doubt to make us seek answers to those questions we have about ourselves, but not too much to stop us from pursuing success. It requires strength to own up to one’s faults and shortcomings. To ask the question, can I really do this? If you use it constructively, self-doubt can show you where you need to focus your efforts and when you need to seek help from others for things that you may lack.

So the next time you decide to challenge yourself to be or do something more, don’t get overwhelmed by those feelings of uncertainty and doubt but don’t ignore them either. Take the opportunity to USE them to better prepare yourself for success. Then go succeed!