Can we crush self doubt?

While scrolling through my Linkedin feed I saw an advert for a course which read: Crush your self-doubt-a seminar that promises the elixir that will end our self doubt-forever it seemed to promise.

I had an immediate reaction! I got angry, my body pulsing with heat and my breath losing its normal rhythm. What hooked me and why did I feel compelled to write about it?

I want to expose this deception, the illusion that doubt can be crushed, that we can lose 20kg in 8 weeks or get perfect abs if we follow these 5 easy steps. The media and pop culture want us to consume their products/services. That’s the end game. Essentially, they are preying on our primal instincts and turning us away from our independent thinking and the tough ongoing efforts required to maintain and sustain our breakthrough moments!

So back to my reaction. I have been committed to my personal growth journey for over 20 years with regular daily habits. I have built a healthy, challenging and enriching relationship with my self-doubt. I have learnt to befriend it, to rescript it, to turn its volume down and take council from it where needed. I have not crushed it, I have not subjected it to my superpowers, I have not eliminated its root structure. In fact, I am grateful for my self-doubt as it has taught me many lessons along the way and enabled me to be kinder, more vulnerable and thus more courageous and humbler.

I have also coached hundreds of people globally and I have yet to see anyone crush their self-doubt either. This includes C-suite leaders, entrepreneurs, housewives and many others. I have seen them sharpen their attention, deepen their awareness, grow their curiosity and through this strengthen their resilience, resolve and muscles to meet self-doubt with a growth mindset. This I believe is a more sustainable and empowering.

If our aim is to crush something, it will find many new ways to crush us back. We will turn on ourselves and the judgements and self-recriminations will simply become subtler, go underground and become more pervasive. It’s like pulling out a weed without getting to the root structure. It will simply multiply and become resistant to our efforts.

Instead, I want to encourage us all to cultivate our gardens with care, attentive practices and a kindness that a loving parent shows to its growing baby. Let’s treat self-doubt with curiosity, equanimity and courage. In this way, we will embrace self-doubt as a teacher rather than our enemy to be crushed.

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