A Coaching Power Tool Created by Lady Tinor
(Achievement Coach, CANADA)
For the last few months, I was certain that the topic of my Power Tools would be Fear-vs-Self-Confidence; however by the time I started to write I wasn’t so sure anymore that these two were meant to be the opposite of each other.
Should it be Fear-vs-Courage? Not really because I knew I wanted this Power Tool to go ‘beyond Courage’.The more I pondered on the title, the more I knew I wanted ‘Something’ vs Self-Confidence; especially since self-confidence was the end goal that I wanted to talk about.
So what was that ‘Something’ that stands at the opposite end of self-confidence? Suddenly it felt like I had a mission: find the culprit who, so many times, had blinded my vision and hindered my path.
All along I thought it was “Fear” but once unmasked “Fear” stood naked and showed itself under another name: Self-Doubts.
Understanding Fear vs Doubt
In an online interview, American author and security specialist Gavin de Becher (2015)explains that there are two types of fears:
True fear is a brief signal in the presence of danger and is based on something you perceive in your immediate environment or situation. In this case, true fear takes over your thinking and causes physical responses to prepare you for fight or flight.
Unwarranted fear, on the other hand, is based on something from your memory or your imagination. It is either based on the past or your expectations of something in the future. This is the kind of fear that causes anxiety, doubts, and worries.
True fear can be your friend, keep you alert and save you. True fear is not being oblivious to a situation but rather being aware of it and acting accordingly.
Doubt, on the other hand, is no ally and often hides behind many names: Fear, Distrust, Uncertainty, Avoidance, Complacency; and the list goes on.
Whatever name it is given, doubt can be your worst enemy because it is often the one hardest to see. In times of vulnerability or when facing a threat, doubt distracts and weakens your resolve; and it can bring you to defeat because you do not act.
Self-Doubts: Origins, underlying beliefs, and negative behavior patterns
In an online article, Dr. Cynthia Thaik (2013) explains the origin of self-doubt as follows:
Self-doubt is one of the major obstacles to living the life you truly deserve. This unhealthy food for the soul drags down your spirit, crushes your ambitions, and prevents you from achieving all that you can. We all have those inner voices inside our heads that tell us we are not good enough, not strong enough, and incapable of doing the things we dream of. Often, these feelings of weakness or incompetence stem from childhood and become ingrained in our very being.
There are psychological mechanisms self-doubters use to uphold and perpetuate their unhealthy attitude toward themselves. Moodpath (n.d.)
When we’re convinced we can’t, we make less of an effort. Why bother after all? With less effort, we increase our chances that we won’t succeed, reinforcing our own negative beliefs and creating a vicious cycle.
“I didn’t” – Self Sabotaging
Self-sabotaging emerges from a fear of failure. It loves procrastination. Keeping this up too long, however, will eventually lead to what you were trying to avoid all along: You will being to believe that you’re incapable of success because you have forgotten how well you do when you try.
“I shouldn’t” – The Impostor Syndrome
The Impostor Syndrome is strongly connected to self-doubt. It describes the unreasonable feeling of being a fraud in disguise, with achievements gotten through luck rather than personal ability or effort. This imposter syndrome often accompanies depression and anxiety and can also be used as a predictor for these emotional challenges.
Unfortunately, once self-doubts become part of your psyche it becomes increasingly difficult to reverse these doubts and underlying beliefs and negative patterns are developed over time. It becomes even more difficult to develop the courage necessary to initiate and maintain actions that will create the self-trust and self-confidence necessary to make long-lasting changes.
It is said that “the road to heaven is paved with good intentions (author unknown) but I would add that the roadblocks are made of self-doubts scattered along the way!
Removing Self-Doubts Through Courageous Actions
Courage is not the absence of fear; it is the making of action in spite of fear.– Scott Peck
If courage is action despite fear, then the first step to take to move away from fear (self-doubt) is to take action. Therefore, the main challenge is to find the initial courage necessary to initiate action.
In facing true fear, actions are automatic responses as a means for survival. They may require survival skills but they are not taken out of conscious choices or based on conscious decisions. True fear generates survival skills; whereas you learn and develop skills to preserve your existence.
In the case of unwarranted fears and self-doubts, actions must be taken consciously and these actions require courage to put your doubts to the test.
Living life to the fullest is an art that is developed through the process of finding ways to initiate action and develop courage despite fear.
True Fears ->Survival Skills -> Automatic Responses &Involuntary Reaction -> Existing
Unwarranted Fears &Self-Doubts -> Courage -> Voluntary Action -> Living
So what are the triggers that will generate courage? I believe three main triggers can generate the courage necessary to initiate action: a desire for change, a belief that there is ‘more to life’, and a willingness to do something.
Courage itself comes from the conscious decision to silence the inner voice of self-doubt and the willingness to explore what lies beyond a life of mere existence. Courage comes from the daring decision to explore and discover ways to live life to the fullest.
Furthermore, courage requires you to go beyond what is familiar and travel to unknown territory – to become the ‘Christopher Columbus of your own Life’. To do so, you must believe that you a life of endless opportunities lays ahead – beyond the sea of self-doubts.
Understand and Developing Self-Trust
A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking because its trust is not on the branch but on its own wings– Charlie Wardle
In her book, Feel the Dear and Do It Anyway, author Susan Jeffers explains that “…underlying all our fears is a lack of trust in ourselves.” (Jeffers, 1987)
If this is so, then to move away from self-doubts we must find ways to develop the courage to initiate actions that will build our self-trust.
As Cynthia Wall writes in her book The Courage to Trust: A Guide to Building Deep and Lasting Relationships, “The person you need to trust first is yourself. No one can be as consistently supportive of you as you can learn to be. Being kind to yourself increases self-confidence and lessens your need for approval. Loving and caring for yourself not only increases self-trust, but it also deepens your connection with others.”(Wall, 2005)
Wall also lists other components that encompass self-trust. They include: being aware of your thoughts and feelings and expressing them; following your personal standards and ethical code; knowing when you need to care for yourself first; knowing you can survive mistakes, get up and try again; and pursuing what you want without stopping or limiting others. (Tartakovsky, 2019)
Eventually, through persistence and determination, you come to realize that your true (inner) strength does not rely on external forces but rather on your self; and it is then that the seed of self-trust is planted and self-confidence begins to grow.
Self-Confidence Through Self-Trust
Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.– Henry Ford
Self-confidence comes from feeling secure in yourself and your abilities (self-trust). Oftentimes, self-confidence does not relate to your actual abilities but rather your perception of yourself. When you are self-confident, you can silence the inner voice motivated by self-doubts and instead listen to the inner voice that is based on your wisdom and intuition.
Although nobody can feel self-confident all the time it is clear that repeat successes build self-confidence. However, it is as important to pay attention to the small successes to develop the self-confidence to tackle the bigger challenges.
There are many benefits to having self-confidence which can affect both your personal and professional life. Self-confidence is a tool that can help you silence the self-doubts and tackle life’s challenges with more certainty and positive energy.
This power tool shows the process of going from a mindset based on self-doubts to a mindset based on self-confidence.
Self-Doubts -> Courage -> Actions -> Self-Trust -> Self-confidence
In a coaching application:
- The coach works with the client to assess the self-doubts that are preventing the client from moving forward.
- The coach works with the client to identify and address the underlying beliefs and negative behavior patterns.
- The coach works with the client to identify core values and personal strengths; thus encourage the client to take action in spite of fear.
- The coach works with the client to identify and recommend actions through exercises and participation in specific events chosen specifically for the client to develop the building blocks of self-trust.
- The coach empowers and encourages the client to move through the recommended actions and exercises aimed to develop and enhance the client's self-trust.
- The coach provides accountability and guidance as the client develops self-trust to move forward towards professional and personal goals with self-confidence.
During her speech at the Virginia State University, Deshauna Barber (2019)said: “Do not be afraid of failure but please, be terrified of regrets. Giving up is the birth of regrets.”
It is easy to let unwarranted fear and self-doubts become the determining factors that drive our decisions and lack of actions. The best way to ensure that we have a fulfilling life is to live a life through courageous actions that move us towards our dreams. Although it is often said that life is short – a life filled with regrets would be a sad one to look back on.
Therefore, we must learn to silence the inner voices of self-doubt and develop the courage needed to trigger the actions that will help build the self-trust needed to move forward with self-confidence and live life to the fullest.
Go ahead…Be brave enough to suck at something new! – Author Unknown
CUNYTV75. (2015, August 7). The Open Mind: The Gift of Fear – Gavin de Becker. Youtube. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OacSMQM-Oe0&t=365s)
Jeffers, S. (1997). Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. Ballantine Books.
Moodpath. (n.d.).When self-doubt consumes you – Identify and stop it
Retrieved from https://mymoodpath.com/en/magazin/self-doubt/
Motivational Instinct. (2019, August 11). Deshauna Barber Story: An Inspiring Story of Overcoming. YouTube. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_f8vpS4IRk0
Tartakovsky, M. (2019, May 24).3 Ways to Develop Self-Trust. Psych Central.
Retrieved from https://psychcentral.com/blog/3-ways-to-develop-self-trust/
Thaik, C. (2013, June 9). Self-Doubt Destroys the Heart, Mind, Body, and Soul. HuffPost. Retrieved from https://www.huffpost.com/entry/self-doubt_b_2960936
Wall, C.L. (2005). The Courage to Trust. New Harbinger Publications.