I’m hosting a free Building Boundaries masterclass next weekend. Like all my free masterclasses, it will be fun and informative. But here’s something I know for sure. A whole lot of women who could get a whole stack of benefit out of joining me won’t be there.
Because they’ll be caught in a self-doubt loop.
What’s a self-doubt loop? Gee I’m glad you asked.
A self-doubt loop happens when:
- A woman is clear on something she really wants or needs to do.
- But then her protective self-doubt holds her back so she doesn’t have to risk feeling overwhelm, disappointment, inadequacy or something similar.
- Maybe she doesn’t want to be visible. Perhaps she doesn’t trust herself to succeed. So she holds herself back from doing the thing.
- And ultimately ends up feeling like she disappointed and failed herself.
- She realises that she still really wants or needs to do the thing and the self-doubt loop continues.
It really is such vicious cycle that can keep women feeling really stuck. And self-doubt loops can show up in so many obvious areas of life including careers and relationships, as well as less obvious places like training, education and growth. But there are steps you can take to break the self-doubt loop. Here’s an exercise that uses my signature framework of clarity mindset and action. Feel free to try it if you find yourself stuck in a self-doubt loop at any point.
Exercise – using clarity, mindset & action to break a self-doubt loop
- Step one – Get clear. Take a sheet of paper. List all of the reasons why you really want or need to do the thing you say you want to do. Go as deep as you can. List out the positive consequences of taking action. Capture all of the things you’ll gain or feel if you do the thing. Feel into this, and try to put yourself into the picture of how it would feel to be taking action and what benefits would come from it. Every time you add to the list, ask yourself why that point is important to you and write that answer down too. When you’ve run out of reasons, put that sheet aside.
- Step two – Work out what’s holding back. On a second sheet, write out all of the things that are holding you back from doing what you want to do. Again, dig deep, this time looking for anything that is worrying you as well as any sneaky self-protectors. They’re the ones that seem reasonable, but are really just sophisticated ways of keeping you stuck. Ask yourself what risk you are protecting yourself from by not taking action.
- Step three – Identify the negative consequences of not acting. Time for a third sheet. Get down on the page all of the things that will happen or you’ll feel if you don’t do the thing. Compare the things you wrote in steps 2 & 3. Analyse where you’ll feel bad whether you take action or you don’t. This usually comes down to understanding where you’ll be rejecting or disappointing yourself in your attempt to protect yourself from risk.
- Step four – Become a curious data gatherer. Grab a lucky last sheet of paper and write out all the possible actions you could take when it comes to doing the thing you want to do. Choose one that feels quite easy – remember, you don’t have to do the whole thing, just a step towards it is fine for now. The go and do it. Document how you feel before, during and after you take action.
This exercise is powerful in breaking the self-doubt loop for three reasons. Firstly because it gives you clarity on your ‘why’ as well as getting all of the spinning, contradictory thoughts out of your head and onto the page where you can objectively assess them. Secondly it allows you to see the consequences of your protective beliefs and how they’re very likely to be the same consequences you’re trying to avoid by not doing the thing. And finally, it opens up the opportunity for you to get curious and experiment – there can be no failure or disappointment when you’re just collecting data. But by taking even the smallest action, you’re breaking the self-doubt loop because you’re proving to yourself that you can take steps towards your desires.
I’d love to know… Do you ever get caught in a self-doubt loop? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.
And until next time – stay fabulous.
PS. If you know of anyone who could benefit from some support with boundaries, I’d be honoured if you could share my Building Boundaries masterclass with them. They can find out more and register for the masterclass by clicking here xx
Photo Credit: Haute Stock Co