Overcoming Self-Doubt To Achieve Your Potential. Hello everyone, I hope you are well. In today’s post, I will be sharing a guest post from Aine O’Neill. Aine O’Neill is a member of Toastmasters International, a not-for-profit organisation that has provided communication and leadership skills since 1924 through a worldwide network of clubs. Aine will be sharing why we sometimes surprise people by exceeding the expectations of those around us and can give examples in her own life, plus offer six tips to help everyone exceed expectations.
Overcoming Self-Doubt To Achieve Your Potential
“Give me one moment in time when I’m more than I thought I could be”
Have you heard this song performed by Whitney Houston? And have you ever had a moment or moments like this? Times where your talents and true inner potential came to the fore? Where did your ability defy your limitations and preconceptions about you, having the potential to surprise your peers, colleagues, business associates and even yourself? A few such times spring to mind for me. Occasions occurred when I took my colleagues, bosses and teachers by surprise with what I said or how I performed.
Moments In Time
The first time it happened was in my final year in secondary school. I landed a significant part in the school play just one day before it was due to be showcased to the entire school. One cast member had to pull out unexpectedly, and I was tapped on the shoulder and asked if I could take her place. At that point, I didn’t know any of the lines and would have to sing solo on stage. I took on the challenge, and not only did I manage to pull it off, but I also enjoyed it.
The teachers, however, we’re amazed that someone they perceived to be quiet, shy and timid could do anything of the sort. It happened again, years later, when I landed on solid ground following a paraglide in the Austrian Alps. And again, when I unexpectedly won a karaoke competition at work.
Different people said the same thing after each of these events;
“That was a surprise. I would never have guessed that you had it in you!”
What struck me here is that I did know I had it in me. The challenge I had been presented with reached inside and pulled my ability out for the world to see. My peer’s genuine expression of surprise got me thinking that so many of us could tragically go through life without showing our inner talents simply because they either haven’t had the chance to shine through or weren’t brave enough to reveal them to the world.
I asked myself why others hadn’t seen this side of me before? Reality is perception-based and is grounded in social interaction. When judging others, we ask ourselves if they fit our version of normality, do they speak, act, dress and behave as we think they should? We make a split-second decision and categorise them accordingly. This judgement is mirrored onto our peers; consequently, our version of ourselves is made up of who we think we are and who others think we are. This can lead to us limiting what we put out to the world.
To have any chance at changing this perception and tapping into our inner potential, we need two things: opportunity and bravery.
The first opportunity comes from an external source. By their very nature, opportunities present themselves unexpectantly. We may, therefore, be caught on the hop or feel unprepared to take them on. The window to seize the opportunity could pass us by, leaving us with feelings of regret and frustration that we didn’t have the gumption to take the plunge.
The big obstacle most people face when deciding to take up an opportunity is self-doubt. So how can you overcome this and allow your true potential to come to the fore? The solution lies in garnering inner strength so that you bite the bullet and go for it. This is the second ingredient in the equation.
Remember that our feelings can form a pattern. When an opportunity attracts you, hope and enthusiasm will be the frontrunners. Self-doubt, however, is never far behind. It can stifle any courage that is beginning to surface. During these times, hold your nerve until you are through this rather unpleasant pattern of feelings.
Actions To Take
The following steps may help ease a daunting experience and prevent us from shying away from potential opportunities at work, in business and elsewhere.
Visualise A Successful Outcome
Think of the benefits that this event or project will lead to. How will your self-perception change? How will your self-image improve as a result?
Be brave enough to give the opportunity at least a go. You are bound to learn something even if it doesn’t turn out quite as planned. You’ll feel better for trying, and others will admire your courage.
Keep A Note Book
Keep a notebook of how you feel during the initial period of a new role. You will notice the pattern described above; the emergence of self-doubt and unease, gradually giving way to a more familiar experience. This can be used to draw solace when taking on future opportunities.
Look to Someone You Admire
Look to someone you admire, perhaps an entrepreneur or a sports star. Think of any struggles they may have had. Read autobiography and discover how such individuals overcame challenges.
Learn From Yourself
Build on any positive experiences you have had in the past, no matter how small. Write down how you mastered those tasks. List any struggles you had along the way and how you overcame them.
Break Tasks Down
If any challenge you’ve started on feels too huge, break the tasks down into smaller, more manageable chunks and work on them, step by step.
You’ll build up a bank of positive experiences by undertaking steps like these. This will help you access and use the power of your inner strength and unleash your true potential.
I hope you enjoyed that.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Aine O’Neill is a member of Toastmasters International, a not-for-profit organisation that has provided communication and leadership skills since 1924 through a worldwide network of clubs. There are more than 400 clubs and 10,000 members in the UK and Ireland. Members follow a structured educational programme to gain skills and confidence in public and impromptu speaking, chairing meetings and time management. To find your nearest club, visit www.toastmasters.org.