Embracing doubt and its benefits.

From my perspective, doubts are a bit like fear. There are different levels, and some are potentially motivating, although perhaps not in the healthiest sense. Given a few contributing factors, there appears to be a more pronounced focus on mental health, and I’m a big fan of this. Especially since doubt can be a contributing factor to a person’s mental health. 

This week I was personally experiencing a higher level of doubt than I am accustomed to. It was uncomfortable and truthfully, also distracting. For some reason, my mind kept going back to a place which was having me rethink some decisions I have made over the last several years. One of them happened to be about my business, and the direction I am taking it in. 

The strange thing which doesn’t contribute or make sense about the doubt I was experiencing about my business, was that several growth factors that most would say are favorable, made me feel just the opposite way. Although when I think back to another part of my business when I was changing the focus of my target market, I realized I felt the same way. This rearview mirror look and remembrance was helpful, as it helped to remind me that steady growth is not bad. Although in reality I prefer hyper growth, I know that I need to become more comfortable with a slower, more deliberate, and focused growth model. 

On a weekly basis, I am discussing doubt with others. The fascinating part for me is to see first-hand how others are handling their own challenges with this feeling. Sometimes the doubt they have makes them feel stuck and without options to make forward progress. Other people are suggesting the doubt is like a nagging pain. It’s just constantly looming in their mind, and there are days or hours during the day when it sometimes disappears, and other times when it follows them like a shadow. The third group of people who are experiencing doubt is the most interesting one. 

This third group is interesting because the doubt serves them well. One of the positive attributes is that it makes them think through and come up with alternatives to whatever situation causing this feeling, or thought process. This is a much healthier approach to handling doubt, and which can contribute to anxiety and in severe cases, depression. Certainly not everyone has doubt progressing to these levels, but I’m suggestive that it’s a good idea to be aware of the level that you, or perhaps another person is at. 

Many of the leaders, sports coaches and individuals associated with these people in these two groups, have similar challenges in terms of how they handle doubt. However, the common thread they share is that none of them took a course on how to best deal with this doubt feeling. Sure, some of these people may have watched a YouTube video, read a book, or talked to a professional about the topic of doubt, but there isn’t a certificate you can achieve to fully master eliminating having doubt as a potential feeling from your life. 

So, are there ways to consider how to embrace doubt and also derive benefits from this emotion or feeling? Yes, there are, and here are some for you to consider.

  • When you have doubt in your mind, it can serve as a great source for having an in-depth conversation with a trusted advisor. Ideally to talk through and determine if your doubt is valid, or without merit. In either scenario, you will feel much less doubt after talking through your doubt concerns with another person.
  • Very few people will tell you they have more than enough confidence. Given this, working on increasing your confidence in a variety of different ways, and to higher levels than you are currently at, and which can potentially reduce your mind from having you doubt yourself, more than you trust yourself, or have confidence to do so.
  • This is worth noting again, as having doubts can put us in a situation to either reconsider or come up with better or alternative ways to proceed when we have even a “shadow of a doubt” in our mind about something or someone. 
  • Doubt can serve to protect us in a variety of ways or situations. Think of doubt as perhaps an overactive “gut instinct”, which not everyone has fully embraced to trust more than they should. It takes practice to trust and see the results of trusting your gut instinct, so allow yourself to practice leveraging this to help minimize or potentially support the reality of the doubt you are experiencing. 
  • Some levels of doubt can in fact be motivating. Especially if they are lower to moderate levels, and you can override them, and accomplish or prove to yourself, or others that you can do whatever it is that you, or they are doubting you can achieve. 
  • Risk taking isn’t for everyone, but everyone will experience some level of it. Doubt and risk are in similar thought categories, and can be supportive of helping you to make clearer and better, more calculated decisions, which can factor in risk mitigation which will serve you and others well. 

Although it might not seem like embracing doubt will offer you or others benefits, I assure you that if you “test drive” some of the suggestions above, that you could begin to start seeing how a perceptively negative feeling can be turned into one that you might at some point look at differently. Potentially in a positive way too.

TAGS: #Embracingdoubt #Doubt #Howtodealwithdoubt #Fearanddoubt #Leadership #Leader #Sportscoach #Business #Motivation #Positivethinking #Management

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