Overcoming Self-Doubt: 5 Approaches to Tame Your Inner Saboteurs
by Natalie Barron & Lori Tabb, Momentum Partners, LLC
No matter how high you climb in your career or how many years of professional experience you have under your belt, chances are you’ve experienced self-doubt. Those negative little voices in your head telling you you’re not doing enough, you’re not qualified enough, or you’re bound to fail? Those are your inner Saboteurs. They throw up roadblocks that get in the way of you stepping into your full potential.
The tricky thing about Saboteurs is that you can’t ignore them — they’re deeply ingrained, and they’ll keep popping up in the back of your mind until you take the time to tame them. Here are five approaches that will allow you to cultivate a more peaceful coexistence with your inner critical voices.
Step 1: Give them a name
Your inner Saboteur has a name — probably several names, actually. Take some time to consider the ways your inner critic tries to sabotage you. This quick and free assessment will help you identify them specifically. Make a list of your top three Saboteurs. If you can name them, you can tame them.
Step 2: Identify and analyze
Now that you’ve named them, put them to work in your favor. The truth is, your Saboteurs are born from your strengths. Identify three strengths that your inner critic feeds on. Then identify three challenges or situations that rile up your negative inner voice. Analyze the relationship between these strengths and challenges.
Step 3: Find your other inner voice
If you have a negative inner voice, you have a positive one in there too: your Sage. Now’s the time to locate your inner Sage — and help it speak louder than your inner critic. Think of a time when you felt truly successful, alive, and empowered. What beliefs did you have about yourself in that moment? Those positive feelings can fuel your supportive Sage voice when a Saboteur rears its ugly head.
Step 4: Anticipate success
With that positive Sage voice ringing in your head, anticipate specific circumstances that might stir your Saboteurs. Maybe it’s certain people, particular types of meetings, pressing deadlines, or specific interactions. Consider how you might respond to the circumstance without the interference of your inner critic. Envision yourself handling it successfully.
Step 5: Acknowledge your power
When you subdue your Saboteurs in favor of embracing your strengths, celebrate! Acknowledge the power it takes to change your thought patterns. When you feel grounded and successful, your colleagues, clients, friends, and family all benefit. At the end of the day, take a moment to reflect on a situation where you benefited from taming your inner critic.
It takes time and effort to tame Saboteurs, but with regular practice, you can elevate your Sage voice to keep them in check. Even if inner critics emerge from time to time, you’ll have the tools to tame them — and even leverage the opportunity to lean into your strengths. Whether you’re in the C-Suite, climbing the ladder, or building your business, learning to work through your self-doubt guarantees less daily stress and greater success in the long run.
Turn insight into action
Powerful question: In the next week, what’s one situation you can anticipate igniting your inner Saboteurs, and how can you plan to proactively talk back to them?