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How to use Doubt to Motivate You

Updated: Mar 27

Two approaches to self-doubt. a). Use it to slow you down, or b) use it to motivate you.

Thought Provocateur Social Media Series post about how to use doubt to motivate you.
Thought Provocateur Social Media Series

Nothing worthwhile comes easily.

The “dark side” of achieving something worthwhile is that it is usually (always?) accompanied by self-doubting thoughts or emotions that make us question ourselves or our abilities. 

I can't think of a single personal accomplishment that didn't have self-doubting thoughts or emotions. I’m not sure you can do something meaningful without the presence of doubting thoughts. It's part of the human condition.

Sidebar: Just to say it. You are not alone if you struggle to be vulnerable enough to tell someone your self-doubts. I've had to work on it, so I know the challenge. Once you get over the hump, you'll find that sharing your struggles makes you more resilient. And, human. People. Want. To. Help. But. You. Have. To. Open. Up. To. Let. Them. Because we all have self-doubts. Welcome to the club of humanity.

So, what to do?

If you find yourself doubting yourself, don’t shut it out. Instead, reframe and repurpose it as confirmation that you are on the right path. Use the doubt to motivate you. See them as “part of the deal” when working to accomplish something meaningful rather than as an unwelcome guest. 

Give the self-doubting thoughts a name to create more cognitive distance from it. “Well, ‘Mr. Doubt Guy’ is visiting me hard today and trying to interrupt my important work. I'm not going to let him.”

Here's how to Apply it and use Doubt to Motivate You

Without Reframing: "There is no way I can do this."

With Reframing: "I'm noticing that I have the self-doubting thought, 'There is no way I can do this.' I'm not surprised I'm having such thoughts because those are to be expected when things are hard. 'Mr. Doubt Guy' is relentless, but I’m more relentless. This too shall pass.”

Thought Provocateur Social Media Series

The inspiration for the Thought Provocateur Social Media Series is that I love it when I encounter questions or bits of wisdom that stop me in my tracks. These insights stay in your head for more than five minutes and may come back later to revisit you. It’s when the signal outweighs the noise. You tend to remember them because they touch something deep inside of us.

About The Nexus Initiative

The Nexus Initiative is a boutique executive coaching firm whose mission is to develop emotionally intelligent and mentally agile leaders and teams. My approach leverages real-world operating experience, multi-disciplinary thinking, industry-leading certifications, and a Wharton MBA.

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