Doubt kills more dreams than failure.
– Suzy Kassem
How many opportunities have you let pass simply because you didn’t feel “ready” or “good enough”?
If you’re here, it has likely happened more times than you can count. It’s incredibly frustrating to doubt yourself, no matter how hard you try not to. Especially when you think about everything you could be doing now if only you were confident enough.
Here’s a “fun” fact: The University of California Berkeley’s Haas School of Business found that the key to success is actually confidence, not talent. According to the World Economic Forum, those who were more confident had greater success than their peers, despite their talent.
If overwhelming self-doubt is what’s keeping you from reaching your true potential, you’re about to learn how to eliminate it.
Here are a few proven ways the world’s most successful people overcome self-doubt.
1. Surround yourself with confident people
You can only change your life if you change your environment, and your friends play a major role in that. Surround yourself with confident, successful people and soon enough you’ll find yourself thinking and even acting the same way.
Finding a mentor is also a good idea if you feel like you can’t do this alone and don’t know which friends to trust. As Oprah Winfrey says, “A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.”
2. Embrace the chance of failure
One of the main reasons we doubt ourselves is because we fear failure. No one wants to embarrass themselves or show weakness. But failure is merely the proof that you’re trying.
Look at Elon Musk and his million-dollar failures. Because of them, he was able to achieve his current billion-dollar successes. You may fail in what you do, and that’s perfectly okay. If you need some more motivation, check out Elon Musk’s #1 tactic to never be afraid of failure.
3. Breach your comfort zone
Stepping out of your comfort zone doesn’t happen overnight. You won’t go from stuttering your coffee order to phoning Elon Musk for a job interview. But you can only grow if you do something that makes you nervous and awkward.
Try easing yourself out of your comfort zone by doing little things you usually avoid. Go alone to that restaurant you’ve always liked or text that person you’ve always wanted to talk to. Small acts like these slowly build up your self-confidence and soon you’ll be tackling much bigger challenges, like taking on that new job or building your own business.
Only with confidence will you be comfortable enough to stop letting great opportunities pass you by. Richard Branson famously advised,
“If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!”
4. Don’t give in to the negativity
Speaking of Richard Branson, the famous billionaire once wrote in a blog post that he also experienced self-doubt during the first stages of building Virgin. Branson says there is always optimism when you just think of a great idea, then negativity tends to creep in as you go.
There will always be difficulties on the path to achieving what you want. Branson insists that the trick is not to allow yourself to listen to those negative thoughts. Turn challenges into opportunities and find solutions to the things holding you back.
He also advises taking a break when things get tough. The world is always a bit brighter after a warm drink and time spent in good company.
He ended the blog post with some wise words of advice:
Keep going and most importantly, keep believing. Realize that you are the only thing stopping you.
— Richard Branson