Overcome Self-Doubt And Pursue Your Dreams

This article will look at how to overcome self-doubt, build your confidence and pursue your dreams by considering 5 different techniques.

  1. Revisit The Past
  2. Keep A Journal
  3. It's Them, Not You!
  4. Be Prepared To Pivot
  5. Celebrate Wins

If you could do anything, what would you choose? 

We all have dreams. So why do so few of our dreams ever reach reality?  Why don't we have the confidence to pursue them?

The problem comes when we get in our own way.  We cripple ourselves with fear of failure and thoughts of how we can never be good enough. This is the world of self-doubt, and it's a tough place to escape.

But today, I'm going to show you that it's time to take back control of your life and dreams and get a good dose of confidence along the way.

1.  Revisit The Past To Overcome Self-Doubt And Pursue Your Dreams

Let's take a trip down memory lane.   You've probably had self-doubts before when you wanted to achieve something.  Our doubts have a way of standing in the way of our dreams by creating fear.  We lack the confidence to take those first steps into the unknown.

When we fear something, we focus on all the bad things that could happen.   But have any of those adverse outcomes ever come true? If so, were the consequences as dire as you thought they would be?

When I did my first training session in front of people, I was so scared.  For me, this was a dream come true, but I worried that

  • I'd forget what I was supposed to say. 
  • People would laugh at me
  • I'd make mistakes

But, although I was nervous, not as coherent as I had practised, and made several mistakes.  People were supportive.  I told them it was my first time, and rather than laugh at me, they gave me a lot of encouragement.

The things I worried about did happen.  However, it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be.

Focus on the right things

Too often, we think about things that could go wrong.  So take the time, and think about the times that things went right.

You can overcome self-doubt and pursue your dreams by reminding yourself they likely will work out again this time too.

For example, starting a new job can be scary, even if it is in a similar field to the one you were doing before.  Your confidence is impacted because you fear you will make mistakes and not be seen as good enough.  But remember, you've started new jobs before and been successful.

Use a journal to overcome self-doubt and pursue your dreams

A journal is a safe place to capture all your thoughts and feelings

2.  Keep a Journal

I'm a great believer in the power of writing in a journal.  Ideally, a journal becomes a record of everything you've gone through.

Write about the problems you're having, the fears you have. Write about how you solve those problems and face those fears. Include everything.

We often forget how far we've come, but when you go back and read your journal, you realise what you've already gone through.  There's a great confidence boost in recognising this.

Your journal can be a reference for how to tackle today's problems.  In this way, you can overcome self-doubt, gain confidence and pursue your dreams with the insight that you gain.

A journal is a safe place to overcome self-doubt and pursue your dreams

A journal is your private space to explore your doubts.  When you write things down, you can get your thoughts out in the open. 

Sometimes when we see things in black and white, we realise that our doubts are unfounded. There's also an opportunity to get creative about how you can overcome them.

There are also a lot of science backed benefits of journaling, for a comprehensive view read Ryan Holiday's The Art Of Journaling

overcome self-doubt and pursue your dreams by realising that people will always criticise

When people criticise, it says more about them than it does about you

3.  It's Them, Not You!

Sometimes self-doubt is fuelled by a nasty remark from someone else or results from how someone treats you.  One hurtful remark can really shatter an already fragile confidence.  Take a step back from the emotions you feel.

Before you get all worked up, remind yourself this is very likely more about the other person than you.

You don't know what kind of day they're having or what they're going through. Take what they say with a grain of salt and move on. There's absolutely no reason to start doubting yourself just because of what someone else happened to say.

Some people may make comments because they

  • Worry about you, but in reality, they have a fear of doing what you're doing themselves
  • Misjudge your abilities
  • Have the green-eyed monster syndrome

Everyone Has An Opinion

I've also discovered that everyone has an opinion, and this includes a view of your dreams.  We often put too much weight on other people's opinions.  But does their opinion really matter to you?

The only way you overcome self-doubt and pursue your dreams is to stand firm with your own beliefs and only listen to those that give you genuine feedback on how you can succeed.

For more insight into opinions you might find my article Whose Opinion Matters, And Why It Should useful.

don't be afraid to pivot to overcome self-doubt and realise your dreams

The plan is the plan, until it's no longer the plan!

4.  Be Prepared To Pivot

How often have you doubted yourself because you feel like you're on the wrong track?  You charge full steam ahead but before long you start to lose confidence as you begin to doubt yourself.

The dream you had is not what you want at all, or it's not working out as you had planned.

There's no shame in taking a step back to re-evaluate the situation.   You can make adjustments to the plan; it's not set in stone. Dreams don't just happen from the initial blueprint.  There are usually several versions.

Sometimes you need to tweak things a little, especially if information or situations change. Rather than get hung up when this happens, look for ways to readjust the plan. You can overcome self-doubt and pursue your dreams as well as be back on track in no time.

5.  Celebrate Wins

Self-doubt hates success. This is why it's so important to get in the habit of celebrating when things go right.

Your progress might be a small achievement, but make a point to enjoy the milestone all the same. After all, you, and your dreams deserve it!

Seriously, there's nothing like a win to give you reassurance, a bit of confidence and kick self-doubt into touch.

I keep a list of my wins in a spreadsheet.  All you need is a one-liner and the date of when the achievement happened.  Remember to review it regularly and see how you managed to overcome self-doubt and pursue your dreams.

Having a list of wins is motivational, a great way to maintain your momentum when self-doubt threatens to derail you.

Next Steps

Next steps when read good things happen when you ask for what you want

If you want to overcome self-doubt and pursue your dreams, grab a piece of paper, a notebook or open a document on your PC.

Write down all your dreams and the reason why you want to realise them.  When you are clear about why you are doing something, it becomes a strong motivator.

Make a list of all the actions you need to realise your dream – be as granular as you can.

Take trusted counsel but don't listen to everyone.

Then make a list of all the doubts you have.  After each doubt, get creative about how you can overcome it.  Is this a doubt you've had in the past?  If so, look for past experiences where you have been successful.

A dream will always remain just a distant desire unless you take action.  Schedule when you will take the steps.  Set yourself a timetable and work to it.  Remember to make a note of the milestones you want to achieve.

Create a document to capture your wins so you can celebrate your progress.

Consider writing a journal to track how you are doing and how you feel about your plan.

Remember, follow the plan until the plan is no longer the plan!  What I mean here is plans are not set in concrete.  If something is not working, be prepared to change tack and don't beat yourself up about it.

Make your dream a reality. Don't let self-doubt stand in your way.

Do You Know What You Want?  discover what's most important to you

To build self-confidence, you first need to get to know yourself better.  What Do You Stand For? will walk you through step by step to identify your core values

About the author Alison

A qualified UK based coach with 30 years of experience in personal development.

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