If there were a competition for natural self-doubters, Melancholics would get the gold medal, followed by the Phlegmatic in a close second for silver. Then, the Choleric would come in for the bronze medal, while the Sanguine is likely to be last. Whether it be:
- The fear of failure
- Lack of confidence
- The fear of repeating previous negative experiences
When I teach the Know Yourself Framework we acknowledge that Self-doubt has a healthy, natural role to play, and we’ve all experienced it at some point in our lives. So, if you’re struggling with self-doubt, perhaps you should try embracing it as a friend, and this is why.
I am currently reading ‘A Promised Land’ by Barack Obama, and his presidential campaign makes it clear that self-doubt has been a major driver of his success. Here are some interesting quotes from ‘A Promised Land’:
“But doubts continued to nag me. Did I have the experience, the toughness, the political savvy to navigate not just these particular issues but the unrelenting storms of a presidential campaign?”
“My doubts, however, were never far from the surface. As much as I tried to assure myself that I was ready, that the country was ready for me, and that I was the man who could lead America through its most perilous moments, there were times when my confidence would be shaken.”
Self-doubt is a powerful motivator, and it drives us to critically evaluate our actions and decisions. It enables us to question our choices and forces us to consider different perspectives, options, and approaches. This is the basis of much of the Melancholic analytical drive. Doubt powerfully propels the Melancholic to think beyond, and self-doubt drives them to prepare and over-prepare. Self-doubt drives us powerfully to introspection, which, if it is engaged with healthy self-interrogation, radically increases our self-awareness. It drives us to acknowledge and seek out our weaknesses so that we can work on them.
“As the campaign heated up, my doubts sometimes broke through. I worried that I might be too professorial, too detached, too cerebral to connect with ordinary folks.”
“I felt the same familiar ache of self-doubt that I’d experienced throughout my political career—that I might be out of my depth, that despite my long tenure in politics, I might not have what it took to win the presidency.”
“And yet, even as I was filled with doubts, I also felt a sense of exhilaration, of purpose, of possibility, that I’d rarely experienced before.”
These internal dialogues of self-doubt drove him to prepare, over-prepare, and often to do so well in advance. His success was no accident, though there are significant contributing accidental factors. I really explore this aspect of the self-doubt response in my upcoming book ‘Know Yourself Melancholic,’ which is due to be published by July 2023 (God willing).
To acknowledge and embrace your weaknesses is not weakness but the source of great strength. For when we acknowledge and embrace our weaknesses without justifying them, then we must embrace the discomfort of acknowledging them and giving them a legitimate space. In self development I call this the squirm space. Most people flee this discomfort with distractions, but this robs your self-doubt of its gifts. This discomfort squirming in our being drives us to work at our weaknesses to become better versions of ourselves. We have to flee our comfort zones into terrain of great discomfort, where we must commit to doing the work. You can’t allow yourself to endlessly repeat the same, or the squirm gets worse. It is through and beyond these mountains that personal growth and a sense of accomplishment is earned.
Self-doubt is not your enemy. Embrace it as your friend, for it is a gift that gives and gives, and it can raise you to heights that you can scarcely imagine.
Find Out More
Don’t get trapped in a never-ending cycle. To learn more about Know Yourself Self Development Journeys and to discuss your journey, DM me on Instagram @alexander.carberry or book a Discovery call, but most of all, don’t forget to read my Know Yourself books, which are available on Amazon. Follow the link in my bio to find out more. Or follow this Link to connect.