Everyone suffers from self-doubt at various times of their lives, while for us introverts, it is an almost multiple times daily occurrence.
Over the years, self-doubt and low confidence has stopped me from participating in life at various times, because in my head, I wasn’t willing to put myself out there and face potential embarrassment and judgement from others. So I have stayed relatively safe all these years, hiding from the world, hoping that somehow, magically, I would discover a way of living a life I wanted, helping others and still be hidden from the world.
If I am being honest, I doubt myself several times (or more) daily, but I now know how to keep functioning with life, and even know how to kick-ass (yes, its ok for an introvert to say and think they can kick-ass), when I should be curled up on the couch, or under the covers, hiding from the world.
And let me add, there is nothing wrong with hiding from the world, all introverts need down time, it is what helps us be the magical unicorns that we are, but there is also some living to be done, outside of our hiding places and comfort zones. All it takes it a little courage to come out, and present yourself to the world (that might still sound scary, and that’s ok).
I have known, and I dare say you will know it too, that buried somewhere deep inside of you, you are meant to do more with your life, and shine brightly (or dimly) for others to see. If you want to discover all that life has to offer, then you can’t continue to keep hiding 100% of the time.
At some point, maybe it’s a wake-up call that appears after a milestone birthday, a health scare, the loss of a loved one, or maybe you simply wake up one day and realise that your life isn’t where you wanted it to be, and you are the only one that can do something about it.
If you are reading this, then I know that you have that feeling, and even if it is only a small feeling, that’s enough to know you are ready for more in life.
Here is what works for me in learning how to overcome self-doubt as an introvert;
1. Facing your fears and doing it anyway
Introverts are experts at overthinking everything, and then thinking about it some more. There is a point in your life, where you decide to stop thinking about all the possible outcomes of what may or may not happen. Learn to say to hell with it, and do it anyway, what-ever it is, and at what-ever risk (I’m thinking mainly emotional risk, risk of embarrassment, risk of failure etc, rather than hurting yourself). It might be trying something new, going out with a crowd, or attending an event that you would normally say no to. The event might be the difference in your side-hustle becoming a success or not.
Stepping out of your comfort zone is often where life happens, and where you find the most growth, but you aren’t ready for that just yet. Keep reading.
2. How many people have told you they have no regrets?
I have regrets, but I also know that everything I have done in life, good and bad, has helped me get to the place I am in now, and I love it, and the regrets have taught me so much. Had I not have experienced, or made the decisions I have made in life, then I wouldn’t be the person I am today. Many years ago, I had a regret in not asking a girl out on a date, but it was a learning.
When the opportunity presented itself in more recent times, with a different girl, I decided to risk any embarrassment, or rejection, and ask her out. I let my past regrets, and that experience, allow me to do it anyway. I made a decision, backed myself, overcame my self-doubt for a moment, and went for it, and I couldn’t be happier about the outcome.
Allow your past regrets to teach you.
3. Make a decision and move on, even when it’s the wrong one
For many years I had clients tell me they couldn’t attend a session, and that after they said no, they would beat themselves up mentally, and tell me that they should have been there. My message was always the same. Make a decision and stick with it, whether it was a yes or a no, don’t sit in the middle, thinking about whether or not you should have made the alternate decisions. Make it, stick with it and keep moving.
If you are going to the trouble of making a decision, put your energy into what-ever it is you decide to do rather than regretting what you haven’t done.
4. Back yourself
What happens as an introvert, is that we spend so much time in our head that we over analyse, everything, and think way too much about what everyone else might think about us.
As an introvert, one of our strongest traits is low confidence. You need to learn to back yourself, and be confident in your abilities. Start small in building confidence in yourself and your abilities, but find something small you can do, or start something new and prove to yourself that you can do it, then move onto something slightly bigger. Back yourself, you can do it!
‘You know all those things you’ve wanted to do, you should go do them!’
5. Believe in you!
You don’t need to be an introvert to not believe in yourself, it happens to almost everyone, no matter what image people portray on the outside. Similar to the previous step in backing yourself. You actually need to start believing in yourself, and believe that people want to spend time, and choose to spend time, with you, it’s a highlight. Believe that you actually have qualities that others admire in you, and that you need to admire in yourself. I have met too many introverts who have so much to offer, yet have such little belief in themselves, and are not able to recognise their qualities to help those who would benefit from their skills. Introverts can see self-confidence as an unattractive quality, or that someone is showing off, rather than being humble, as many introverts are.
Confidence is a quality, and allows you to go places that having no confidence will take you. And, big news, you can still be humble, and keep all of your beautiful traits, and be confident at the same time. Go figure!
6. What do you have in your life that needs to be thrown out, and what boundaries do you need to keep to not let it back in?
It might be those boxes sitting in a room or in the garage that you have been keeping for years, maybe its friends that don’t actually help you be a better human being, or reading material, books/online/magazines, that support you in being down on yourself. We tend to look for confirmation of what we are doing wrong, rather than what we have done right.
When you are surrounded by clutter, you are surrounded by constant reminders that you plan on there being a magical ‘one day’ when you have time to clean it up, to read those books again, to sort through those clothes, file those old bills, shoes, toys.
You carry the same mentally with your business, that you will put all your energy into it ‘one day’ when you have time.
In being surrounded by clutter, it also reaffirms your self-doubts, as the longer it takes for you to reach your ‘one day’ when you have time, the more you decide subconsciously that you will never actually get there.
Clean yourself up in these areas, be firm with your boundary setting, and start making better decision about what you put your energy in to. By doing this you will start to have more energy for the good friends, good books, and building a strong business, and not have your life cluttered by things that aren’t fulfilling you.
7. Start something!
I couldn’t write a list of steps to follow without encouraging you to start something, anything. The best way I know how to overcome self-doubt, and how to kick some serious ass as an introvert, it by starting something. Your something will be very different to the next persons something.
My focus is on helping introverts start a side-hustle, but depending on where you are at, you may need to prove to yourself that you can do it. I encourage you to try something creative or fun first (this may also become your side-hustle), it might be learning to paint, taking a course, playing guitar, learning to fly a plane, or you might prefer jumping out of a plane. Whatever it is, start researching it, then don’t delay, take your first step towards starting it, today.
If you are ready to start your own business, then by all means, go for it. The act of starting something has so many benefits, but in starting something (and finishing it), and potentially getting out of your comfort zone, and out from under your rock, you learn a new skill, and show yourself that you can do something you didn’t think you could do. And whammo (it’s a word), you are on your way to overcoming your self-doubt and stepping into the life you were born to live.
This is all about you overcoming self-doubt and believing in yourself, while maintaining your introvert safety blanket. You may read these steps and wonder how they are helping you build your side hustle. These 7 steps are the reason you haven’t built your side hustle yet, and will be the reason why you do, or don’t, build your side hustle.
My goal is to help introverts see that life is waiting for them, if they are willing to step outside of their comfort zone and take a chance. By hiding from the world, no one gets to see your shining light, or be touched by your beautiful and caring soul that is unique only to you. You have the ability to inspire so many with your thoughts, and outlook on life, and you have the ability to build a business that harnesses all of your strengths.
All of these steps will help you in overcoming self-doubt, but if you take anything from what you have read, let it be this. The world is full of so many wanting the days and weeks to go faster, waiting for their ‘one day’, racing to 5pm or waiting for the weekend to arrive. You have the ability to make this life of yours a kick-ass life, and you have the ability to help others do the same with your side hustle.
Start something, build your own confidence, and help others, one at a time, and you will start to see your world changing for the better.
Don’t wish your time away, instead make better use of the time you have. You get one life, it’s time to make the most of it.