Last night as I watched the Golden Globe Awards, I was touched by the authenticity and genuine humility in Anne Hathaway’s acceptance speech. I was particularly interested in her comment “…thank you for this lovely, blunt object that I will forever more use as weapon against self-doubt…”
I thought to myself, wow, here’s proof that even beautiful, accomplished actresses like Anne Hathaway struggle with moments of self-doubt! Obviously, she did not let self-doubt stop or paralyze her, but the fact that she mentioned it tells me self-doubt has played a significant role in her life.
When we doubt ourselves, we fear that we are not good enough, that we will make a mistake or we simply don’t trust ourselves in a particular situation. Self-Doubt is Fear of Failure’s little sister and she is a challenging opponent. She can’t be seen and she is very convincing. So how do we overcome this invisible, persuasive gremlin? I believe we start by making self-doubt visible. We must do what I imagine Anne Hathaway probably does; she calls it out.
You must challenge your doubting self. Question it. Refuse to believe it. Is it true that you are not good enough? Who says you’re not good enough? Think of times when you have trusted yourself and told self-doubt to “sit down and be quiet!” How did you feel afterwards? So what if you make a mistake? We all make mistakes. What happened the last time you made a mistake? Obviously, it wasn’t fatal because you’re here, reading this article.
Doubting ourselves causes us to become paralyzed and end up with feelings such as resentment, shame and hopelessness. If we give in to self-doubt and do not push past it to do the things we desire to do, we deny ourselves the opportunity to reach our full potential. Not only that, but we deny the world the gift of our talents as well. (Imagine the Les Misérables movie without Anne Hathaway.) If you need another reason, when we hold ourselves back and play small, guess what we get? More feelings of self-doubt and unworthiness!
When I reflect back on Anne’s statement that she will “forever use” the trophy as a weapon against self-doubt, I hear a very important message. As Taylor Swift might say, our self-doubt will never, ever, ever go away. As long as we stretch and challenge ourselves to move out of our comfort zones, we will always have fears and doubts. Each and every time we want to move ourselves beyond our present circumstances, the nagging inner voices of fear and limitation will begin talking to us.
The only way to overcome those voices is to begin to do the thing we fear. Simply put one foot in front of the other and begin moving forward. You don’t need to go from “A to Z” all at one time. However, if your goal is t to overcome self-doubt, you must start with “A” and then move to “B” and so on until you reach “Z”.
Whenever you experience self-doubt, consider it to be a confirmation that you are on the right path.