“A feeling of having no confidence in your abilities and decisions”
Doubt is a mental state, where the mind gets stuck between two or more contradicting propositions. Doubt on an emotional level is to be stuck between belief and disbelief. It can involve uncertainty, distrust or lack of conviction on facts, actions or decisions.
Self-doubt and me
It’s no secret that there are plenty of photographers out there; professionals, amateurs & beginners setting out to start their own photographic journey. A common theme among us, certainly at the start of our journey, seems to be that of Imposter Syndrome! Add in the pressure of quite literally selling yourself (because there’s only one me, right?!) and it feels like everything is towering above!
“Am I good enough to charge?”
“Would anybody even pay me for just doing what I love?”
“Why wouldn’t they just go to *Insert any other photographer here*?”
“I know I’ve priced fairly, but it feels like a big price tag just to cover my costs”
I’m no different! I go through phases of self-doubt, and I thought it might be useful for me to share some tips and insights whilst I’m working through my latest episode.
We’re all HUMAN
Even the most confident of us start out having wobbles, and wondering if we’re worthy of what we’re setting out to do. It’s how we work through the challenge our mindset presents that matters – and that is something I’m continuously working on!
What does self-doubt look or feel like to you? Take a moment to have a think on this before you read on…
Dance with self-doubt
Tony Robbins says “I don’t have to get rid of the fear, I just have to dance with it.” And he’s so right.
Self-doubt is learned, it isn’t something we are born with. It’s embedded by repetition as we go through life, and so we need to combat it with repeated self-improvement techniques. It can be easy to get lost in self-doubt, to let the world pass by whilst wallowing in (supposed) inadequacies. Let’s not stay there too long, right?
Good habits to overcome self-doubt
- Focus on past achievements
- Stop comparing yourself to others
- Surround yourself with supportive people
- Kick self-criticism to the curb
- Seek help from a professional
- Log your thoughts in a journal
- Identify your values
Give yourself a break. When we doubt ourselves or our abilities, it’s often because we don’t want to make mistakes. Mistakes can be our biggest points of growth – we learn from them and can take those learnings forwards into growth.
Focus on past achievements
Think back to a time where something felt scary, but ended up going really well. Lots of our achievements are born from uncertainty and in some cases self-doubt we’ve managed to turn around. This exercise helps to remind us about times that things have gone our way; the same thing can happen time and again. In contrast, it’s not the best thing to focus too much on past failings. Today is a new opportunity for us to change that storyline.
Stop comparing yourself to others
You’ve heard the saying “comparison is the thief of joy”, and it’s so true. Seeing someone else’s success and wishing for the same or better can be paralysing. All of us travel a different journey, and have different ideas of what success looks like. We can control and focus on our own path and where we want to take it – no matter where others are at or what they’ve achieved.
Surround yourself with supportive people
There are friends and family we can spend more time with, those who believe in us and everything we’re capable of will always be on our side. When those feelings of self-doubt creep in, surround yourself with these people and their love and support for you can make the world of difference.
Kick self-criticism to the curb
Imagine a friend speaking to you about your self-doubt as their own. What would you be saying to them? Because I can promise you, if you’re experiencing self-doubt, you wouldn’t be talking to your friend the same way you speak to yourself right now. We are our own harshest critics. Let’s treat ourselves with kindness.
Seek help from a professional
As someone who has spent time and money on speaking with professionals over the years, I can’t tell you more how much this can change your life. We deal with a LOT in the course of our lives, even if we consider ourselves lucky to be ‘drama-free’. CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) and EFT (emotional freedom tapping) are two techniques I’ve been introduced to. Each has it’s own success stories, and suit some better than others, so I’d recommend finding out more about the therapist you choose and how they might work with you.
Log your thoughts in a journal
I LOVE stationery, so a physical journal is always an exciting thing for me to write in. Honestly I need to reintroduce this into my daily routine, because I’ve been slack. Journalling can be a very therapeutic practice, it helps to get thoughts out of your head and gives you space to process.
Identify your values
What truly matters to you? What makes you feel good? Proud? When we recognise what is truly important, the fear of criticism falls by the wayside. We might be kindhearted, a good friend, a compassionate mentor or maybe we make strides towards making life better in some way for us or others. I’d love to know what you value in life above all else.
I really hope that some of these have been helpful – and know that if you ever need to chat I’ve an open ear and no judgement to offer. Whether you’re beating your own self-doubt demons or supporting a loved one, I wish you nothing but positivity and good health on your journey.