It takes a lot of gumption to jump-start your life after years of being stuck in the mundane. No doubt that’s why a lot of us have, at one time or another, chosen to stay put in jobs or circumstances that were less than ideal. Many of us have battled with our own limited perception of what we are capable of and that has kept us anchored to our increasingly uncomfortable desk chairs.
It’s one thing to doubt that things will go your way based on past experiences, but I think what holds people back more than anything else is doubting your own talents and abilities. I call this the 900lb Gorilla of Self-Doubt. We simply buy in to the lie that we can’t do something that in truth we are completely capable of doing. We allow the figurative gorilla to pin us down so that we are imprisoned within our current habitat. But there is an entire world out there just waiting to be explored, and until you tackle the gorilla, you will never be able to discover what you were created to do.
It’s about this time in your journey when you definitely need to feed a little bit of your ego to dare to push beyond your surroundings and other people’s lowered expectations. That’s how we can begin to press on through the obstacles and ask, WHY NOT ME? Unfortunately, self-doubt is something we must wrestle with every day, even after we have notched a few accomplishments under our belt. This is something I came to realize in my own experience. When you branch out on your own and attempt to do the things you were created to do, it doesn’t take long for the confidence and charisma that you used to catapult you forward to become your own worst enemy.
For the record, working in real estate is not my dream, but it is the mechanism I’ve chosen to help me realize my dream. Early on in my journey I gained a lot of attention and received a lot of positive feedback in regards to my approach to real estate. Since I was doing things differently than the masses it seemed that growing my real estate business would be easy-peasy-lemon-sheezy.
That’s when I came back to earth. Maybe even six feet under the earth. I thought that cleverness and machismo were enough to be successful. I was wrong. Weeks without a real estate commission check turned into a few months, and on top of that I was watching my safety net trickle away. I now know it was because I had not applied myself to increasing my knowledge base and building a platform and consistent message for my business. Without these critical elements, I had no infrastructure in place that would keep me afloat during those dry times in the real estate market.
Let’s be realistic. There are things you don’t know how to do or attributes you may not be gifted with. You are bound to hit some rough patches and things won’t always go your way. That’s when feelings of inadequacy, inability, and doubt start to creep back in and strangle the motivation you had when you first started out. You start to question whether you can achieve big things when you fail in the little things.
Difficult circumstances can easily take our eyes off of the destination and focus them on our own shortcomings. That’s what happened to me, I started to look around at other people in my industry as they started to gain momentum and have success. And subtly, ever so slightly, I started to compromise my core values and my beliefs to try to be more like them. I started to emulate rather than innovate.
That stupid GORILLA!
When you start to doubt your own skills, you begin to compare yourself to others and mold yourself into their image instead of using your unique God-given abilities. When we finally decide to try something we’ve never done before, we tend to set goals that are very self-centered and then when we don’t achieve them, doubt starts to creep in. However, when we focus on helping others, we are actually able to be a better version of ourselves because we are no longer focusing on our own flaws and failures. In other words, if you start to think about the impact you can have in the lives of others, then the eyes are off of you and you can effectively eliminate self-doubt.
Gary Vaynerchuk is someone I really get a lot of great information from in terms of being an entrepreneur. When asked, “If you could bestow one quality to every person, which one would it be?” He responds, “Self-Awareness.” And one of the things that he repeats over and over again is stop wasting time trying to improve the areas you’re weak in and start doubling-down on your strengths.
In other words, we need trade in Self-Doubt for Self-Awareness. Don’t allow your ever-present shortcomings to hinder you from achieving great results in your areas of strength. Start finding ways to use the skills you already have to help others achieve their goals and you will surprised at what you can accomplish with little room left for self-doubt.
If you want to tackle the 900lb Gorilla of Self-Doubt, then you need to wake up every morning and commit to the following mission statement:
I will not focus on myself and my inadequacy. Instead I will focus on using every ounce of strength that I have, and every second of time that I have, to do the most good in the lives of those around me.
Take that hour that you would typically spend saying I CAN’T and make it the hour of I CAN. When you spend your time doing for others, there’s no time left to doubt your own ability. Knowing who you are is important, but we can’t allow our limited perception of what we can achieve hinder us from moving forward. Anything you can do to take your eyes off of your shortcomings and put them on other people’s needs will help you destroy self-doubt in your life.