Everybody has that special friend. For some of you this friend is a big part of your life. Spending waaaayyy too much time with him. Sometimes he starts to creep you out because he just seems to know which are the nights you can't sleep and pops up to keep you company. Some of your other friends don't like him so much. They give you advice, that you don't really need him, that he is just dragging you down, making you feel bad about yourself and that the friendship, you two have, is more of an abusive relationship. But there are other friends who introduced you two by giving well meant advice about what to do differently in your life.
1. Lack of confidence in the reliability of one's own motives, personality, thought, etc.
Everybody knows him. Even if you don't belief me because the CEO of a big company can't possibly be uncertain about his business, or the doctor who helped you so confidently in the hospital, or the bus driver who is nice to everyone, or the kind primary school teacher or....
Of course they all have their own Self Doubt. Some are greeted by him in their homes where nobody else waits on them, but him. Some run into him when they least expect it (mostly at nice dinners with a group of friends) and he just sits there, whispering in their ear that everybody else is doing better. Some sleep next to him and he gets up with them, when they are going to make coffee, following them around for the rest of the day. Self Doubt is a good friend, always there when he thinks you need him. Right?
Since Self Doubt is not someone to chase away easily maybe it is a solution to embosom him? Use your relationship to get an insight in your way of working, to get an insight into why you would react as you do. Spar with Self Doubt:
Why are you scared to talk in front of a crowd? What is the worst that can happen? Make Self Doubt clear although he tries to convince you that you will drop dead the moment you mispronounce a word, move weirdly or if you lose your thread, that it won't happen. You won't drop dead. People won't point their fingers. Hack, most people won't even notice and even if they did, they will forget about it.
If you are scared you could mess something up just think about how it could impact your life a month, a year, five years from now. Think about moments when you doubted yourself because of something embarrassing that happened in the past and if anybody now (besides yourself) still cares about it. It will show you how your anxiety fuelled imagination differs from reality. It will put Self Doubt in his place.
Or another example: Why do people give you advice how to do things in your life? Most of them mean well. They want to help you to go down the right path. The problem is that everyone - especially in the creative business - has their own path. There is no recipe to success. Why does Self Doubt show up, when you get that well meant advice? Does he whisper: “They think you are doing it wrong! Everything will be better, if you would just follow their advice.” Do you get confused or angry because you start to doubt yourself after getting that advice? Or because you get the feeling that maybe your friends or family doubt you because they think your life needs some tweaking in the right direction?
They probably just feel that you are not quite there yet. Not there where you want to be, or where they want you to be. Doing well and leading an independent, self sustained and happy/prosperous life. As soon as you realize that most comments about how to do things, are - although not very thoughtful - meant to help you. Self Doubt will not be able to use these comments in his advantage.
These are just two examples how to deal with Self Doubt or one of his friends and family (...auntie anxiety anyone?). Don't ponder too much and confront your Self Doubt why he showed up in that specific moment. It can show you that people want to help you with their advice because they feel your dissatisfaction that you are not yet where or who you want to be. And when you ask him "But I am not that unhappy!? I know it takes time to get where I want to go. I know there is no shortcut. Hack, maybe I never arrive. But that is no reason for you to spoil my ride!"
So F*** you Self Doubt!