“When you doubt you power, you give power to your doubt”
As an avid sports fan and a coach, I find myself watching audiences along with the play of the teams. Recently, I noticed a group of supporters using the language “never doubt” on shirts. I loved the sentiment and began to think about how I could use it in my own coaching. Take a moment to reflect on all the times we doubt whether we can really achieve our goals and how those little doubts creep in to destroy momentum and even enthusiasm for our goals.
How can we keep these doubts from creeping in? One of my favorite authors and one I refer to often is Jack Canfield. In “Principles of Success”, Canfield provides several ideas for continuing to move towards success despite obstacles. First, he advises that we need to drop out of the “ain’t it awful” club and surround ourselves with positive people. I would add that simply removing negative people from your sphere of influence and instead choosing to associate with positive ones, you will increase your odds of succeeding exponentially. Tapping that source of support through positivity can help you overcome your own self-doubts.
Speaking of removing dissenters and negative people from your immediate sphere of influence, think about how you might engage personal champions as part of your change team. A step in the process of change which can be found in “Changeology” by John Norcross is to build a change team. Often we think that we have to go it alone and yet creating support and accountability partners can accelerate achievement of goals. This team can serve as guides and champions when you begin to feel your energy wane towards your goals. Don’t forget that a personal coach could also be part of your change team.
Canfield also advises us to acknowledge our positive pasts. Often when working with clients, I ask them to go back to a place in time when they were successful doing what they are trying to do now. We all have experiences where we overcame odds to achieve goals. Just knowing that we have done is once allows us to believe in that possibility again.
Increasing your positivity ratio-the number of positive thoughts to negative thoughts can also help you fight the “doubt monsters’. Barbara Fredrickson in “Positivity” shares that the number of positive to negative statements made by team members to one another is 3 to 1 for successful teams. For ideal working relationships the number is 6 to 1. If we could apply that formula to our own self-talk, we could cast aside many of the doubts creeping in. You might want to check out Barbara’s self test at her website included at the end of this blog to see where you are with regards to your own positivity. Chip Conley, in “Emotional Equations” adds that when we divide the number of positive interactions/events by the frequency of negative interactions/events, we can actually compute a number that allows for thriving. You are now in the sweet spot of unlimited potential for success.
Next, check in to see how focused you are on your ultimate goal. Do you have your eye on the prize or are you allowing doubt to creep in? Canfield suggests that we use the last 45 minutes of the day to review goals, celebrate successes and make specific plans for the next day. Why do this at the end of the day? While you are sleeping your brain continues to work with your unconscious mind processing this input. Canfield shares that this focused attention to the replays of input is six times more frequent than what occurs while you are awake during the day. You mind is actually being programmed for success and achievement while you sleep!
Shawn Achor in “Before Happiness” tells us to measure our progress frequently to leverage the “escalation of commitment”. We do this by looking back at how far we have come and by remembering how much time and effort we have already invested in achieving our goal. When people do this, they often find that they do not want to give up the gains and can find the energy to continue.
When doubts creep in, we have to be able to transcend our limiting beliefs. If you find yourself saying something like “I’ll never make it to the finish line”, you have to check in with your beliefs. Asking yourself how that belief serves you can help you turn it around. We can leverage expectancy theory to work for us instead of against us. By just believing that something is possible, we can make it happen. Next time you feel stuck, think about how you might change your beliefs so that they move you forward instead of planting seeds of doubt that create anchors.
When you find yourself beginning to doubt that you can accomplish your goals, think about how you might apply of couple of these ideas to rebuild your momentum towards achievement.