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‘Self-doubt is self defence’: How to speak up about your achievements


It’s a common scenario, often in a boardroom or some kind of meeting place. People are looking for a solution to an issue. They need a resource they can tap into which they can trust to solve the issue – and you are the resource. You know you have the skills and ideas, but then you shrink back instead of speaking up. Doubt takes over your mind, and a fear of something bad happening comes from a swirl of thoughts about letting people down or treading on people’s toes. It’s an awful scenario, but one you can overcome so you can move ahead in life. If you want to know how to speak up about your achievements, you need to know how to stop self-doubt.

What is self-doubt?

Self-doubt is a frustrating emotion, something that often sits in our stomachs as we embark on a new path in life or make a big change. It’s the last-minute entry from your negative inner voice [How to challenge your inner voice], trying to make you reconsider your abilities before taking action, and it can stop you from doing so much. Sometimes, self-doubt can be so strong, it stops you before you can even think about doing something. So, why do we self-doubt, and how much does it impede us from achieving?

Self-doubt isn’t self defence

One of the reasons why we allow ourselves to doubt is part of wanting to defend ourselves.[Low self esteem: Stop putting yourself down] Self-doubt is a skewered last remnant of our survival instincts, the intuitive feeling of danger before we take the plunge. The problem is, in our much safer, more developed world, self-doubt is still active in our minds even when we aren’t in danger. Enrolling on that new course or wearing that new dress aren’t dangerous, life-threatening choices, but our fear of humiliation or regret causes us to step back. Self-doubt in this sense isn’t self-defence, but perhaps getting in your way of learning, enjoying and embracing life at its fullest.

Why self-doubt is worse than arrogance

Self-doubt is closely related to modesty. We self-doubt because we feel we should stick to the status quo and keep our heads down, not attracting attention or praise. Ideally, you’d be neither, but it’s actually better in terms of personal achievement to be arrogant than self-doubting. From arrogance, you still make a journey, even if you’re pursuing it recklessly. You might have heightened notions of your abilities, but you have the time and experience ahead of you to get more realistic. From self-doubt, you never even cross the start-line of your journey. So, which one is better?

So let’s go back to the boardroom. When you consider how much not speaking up can limit you, how much it can rob you of in life rather than give you, would you still stay quiet. When speaking up about your achievements, use them as justification in what you can give to somebody else. Sell yourself and open yourself up, and people will listen. Sometimes, the only person you can rely on to promote you, believe in you and talk you up is yourself, so don’t let self-doubt ruin things for you. For a personalised answer to your self-doubt book a Skype or phone appointment with one of our life coaches here.  Alternatively join our empowering community with tools to help to build your confidence day by day and to help you get more out of life.


This article was contributed by Pink Moods.

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