Doubting yourself or struggling with self-worth? Read this.
Doubting ourselves and struggling with self-worth are unfortunate consequences of consistently being outside our comfort zones.
As entrepreneurs we get used to being outside our comfort zones and often do rather well hanging out on the edge. And while that is great for creating new and wonderful things in the world, it does come with some side effects.
Today I'm talking about those niggling thoughts of self-doubt and self-worth that like to pop in juuuust when we're finally starting to feel in flow and on a roll. And when that happens everything starts to be so much harder. It feels like everything is a slog and that the breaks have been put on.
Ugh... Been there. Done that. Have the fridge magnet to prove it.
But here's the thing... yes, as entrepreneurs we're regularly having to deal with thoughts that don't feel so empowering (i.e., make us feel like we're not amazing, that so and so is better than us, or that we aren't good enough), but they don't have to linger and make things difficult for us.
Here's a way to think about things differently to move along those thoughts of doubt and worthiness so you can get back in the game and show up as your glorious self again.
Imagine, if you will, a pipeline. It's open on both ends and there is nothing in the middle but open space for things to flow through.
Now, on one end is a never-ending abundance of creativity, inspiration, and fresh thoughts.
On the other end is the infinite space of action and choice. I never-ending space to hold everything coming out of the pipe.
The input side never runs dry and the output side never fills up. Think openness, abundance, infinity.
In this analogy the pipe is your mind.
When you're in flow, feeling great about everything in the world, and you're creating amazing things, the pipe flows freely from one end to the other.
When this is happening, the thoughts/creativity/inspiration are coming into your mind freely and you're allowing them to move through freely and in the process produce an action that flows freely into the output area.
This comes in the form of intentional action taken, dreams mapped out, goals set, and even simply letting go of thoughts or ideas that don't work for you right now.
That is the goal.
However, that can prove to be a bit tricky to do consistently.
Here's what often happens - and what happens when we're stuck in the cycle of doubting ourselves and struggling with our self-worth.
You have thoughts of doubt or worthiness that come into your mind. And rather than looking at them for what they are - sentences without meaning - we grab hold of them. We hold tight to them because we think they mean something about ourselves or our work. We think they're telling us something we should pay attention to. We hold on to them because they're familiar. We've seen these before and while they feel gross and icky, we're comfortable with them because we've seen them so often over the years.
So now we have these thoughts in our minds just churning and churning away. Nothing is coming from them. We're not doing anything with them to send them through to the output. They're sitting in there. And now, because they’ve been sitting in there for so long they're stopping up other thoughts. We're creating a clog in our pipe.
We started with just a few thoughts that we clung to, but now we have even more thoughts sitting in there stuck. They could have been great and inspirational thoughts or they could have been more of the same doubting and worthiness thoughts.
Either way, everything is clogged. Our mind is heavy. We feel like crap. Hardly anything is making it's way through to the other end.
And now we're spiraling.
Over and over again we're thinking these self-deprecating thoughts and we think that because we've thought and felt this way before and we're thinking and feeling this way again that there really must be something wrong with us.
We recognise this so we start doing all the mindset things. We up the affirmations, meditations, journaling, and visualisations. We reach out to our coaches and peer group.
And then we begin to pull away from being visible online and we stop writing new content because how could we possibly write or show up right now when we’re such an obvious mess...
We think we have deeply rooted beliefs about ourselves that need to be dug out with a dull shovel. We look for meditations, tapping, RTT, etc. Anything to help us get rid of feeling this way so we can get back to feeling great and being at the top of our game.
We all know the cycle, so I’ll stop there.
Instead... I ask you to consider the pipeline again for me.
If you consider the possibility that all this shame and spiraling started because of holding on to thoughts, isn't it possible that it can all be remedied by letting go of those same thoughts?
If you could move those thoughts along and clear out the clog in your mind, isn't it possible that there would be space in there for the creativity, inspiration, and fresh thinking to move in from the limitless abundance at the input end?
So our mission now is to figure a way to clear the clog and let go of those thoughts.
The very best way to do that is to do nothing.
No really. Don't force anything. Because then you're compounding the issue.
Allowing your mind to rest and not do anything will unclog things on it's own. Your mind's natural state is free flowing, so if you allow things to move on their own naturally then it will clear itself out.
This doesn't always come naturally, I know, so here are a few things you can do.
Meditate, but gently - don't force anything. Just try to sit in some mental quiet for a while. Do some yoga, Pilates, breath work. Or try walking, jogging, hiking outside. Dive into a novel, great podcast, or find an interesting article. Get a good night sleep. Or simply sit and dream for a while.
If you’re still really stuck in your head and those easy breezy things didn't do the trick, try this:
Think of a time when you had to let go of some thoughts to get on with things. Perhaps when you had a deadline or someone needed you, or a time when you had something going on in your personal life but you needed to get on with things in your business. How were you able to do it then? How did you let go of things and not let those thoughts linger and continue to get in your way?
Whatever has worked for you in the past, try that. But don't 'try' too hard. Be gentle and easy and don't force a resolution. Like I said, things will clear on their own, you just have to give it a chance.
Let me know how this works out for you and if the pipeline analogy resonated for you.
While I used self-doubt and self-worth as examples for this article, the same can be said and done for any time when you notice that you're stuck in your head, feelings like crap about yourself or someone/something else. It is the same process regardless of what is stuck.
With grace, grit, and gumption...