Have you ever had one of those “oh shit” moments, where you realised everything was about to go to hell just before it did? Perhaps it was a mistake you made at work, or a social slip-up amongst friends you were hoping to impress or maybe it was when you pushed things a little too far undertaking your extreme sport of choice (believe me I’ve experienced them all). It’s not a nice feeling and even if you end up getting away with it, you generally get left feeling scared, worried and indecisive about your next move. This is the feeling of self doubt and it can be downright paralysing if you let it get on top of you.
Self doubt is a particularly nasty customer when it comes to creating wealth and the super villain responsible is worry. This worry is associated with losing something that you have worked so hard to create and it can lead to unproductive behavior like procrastination or not following through on an action (although sometimes it can be good to do nothing). Unfortunately for many of us, self doubt does not dissipate as we create more wealth and gain more experience, it tends to grow stronger instead.
Playing the Odds
I’m not much of a gambler myself, I like the idea of rolling like James Bond, but to be perfectly honest I’m just shit at gambling. Some people swear they have a system, a way to guarantee they don’t lose. I’ve seen it played out in roulette, it’s purely a numbers game and it’s very simple. If they lose, they double their bet until they win again – simple. It’s not rocket science, in fact its not even remotely impressive, but it works if they stick to the formula (and have enough money to back it up). This is belief, granted it isn’t very smart, but there is no self doubt because they know the enemy that causes self doubt and how to defeat it.
You can do exactly the same thing with your own fears. I’m not advocating gambling, but If you don’t do your homework and understand the game you are playing, then you may as well head for the nearest casino – you will lose either way. If you do understand the factors at play and your position in the game, then the odds are heavily stacked in your favour. Investing is not a guarantee, there is no silver bullet, but if you know the rules you have a greater chance of winning and keeping self doubt in check along the way.
Name and Shame
Like most other things that scare us, it is the fear of the unknown that causes self doubt in many wealth creators. Not knowing where interest rates are going, if there will be another bubble, or even just what tomorrow will bring is enough to tip some people into a self doubting tailspin. Even the most hardened wealth creator can struggle against the fear of the unknown, but unlike those that let it overcome them, they go to war against it instead.
Personally I’m prone to worry more than I should, so it can be easy sometimes for self doubt to creep in and take hold. To rid myself of unproductive feelings I like to identify the culprit(s) and expose their weakness for all to see. This is the process of naming and shaming, it involves specifically identifying the thing that is creating self doubt and developing a strategy to beat it into submission.
Good Example: I’m worried about how I’m going to pay the bills
Shame: Calculate your total expected bills for the year, quarter or month so you know what you are up against
Strategy to win: break it down further to determine what this costs you per day or as a percentage of your salary to make your enemy smaller. Budget for it by putting away this amount each day so you have funds in reserve to come to your rescue in future.
In the above example we have brought our enemy into the open, made it small and easy to defeat and created an strategy to win. This may sound like a very simple and un-worry worthy fear, but it is often the small concerns that manifest into larger ones if we let them.
Bad example: I’m crap at everything
Name: too broad to define (*continue wallowing in self pity*)
Shame: on you!
Strategy to win: Be more specific about things that are causing self doubt – make a list and attack each one in turn. In our bad example, we can’t identify a specific fear, so it is difficult to defeat.
This is a common problem for many of us as we just continue to bundle all the bad stuff together and create a nemesis of gigantic proportions. Use the good example above to unravel the fears that have been combined and break them down into smaller enemies that you can take on one at a time. This is the key to success.
Taming Self Doubt
A successful wealth creator requires an array of weapons in their arsenal in order to emerge triumphant at the end. The ability to tame self doubt and stick to your guns is one of your biggest challenges, so It’s worth bringing out the heavy artillery to ensure success. Don’t tackle these concerns on your own, share them with someone that can help and your burden will immediately feel lighter. Partners, friends, family and financial consultants may all fall into this category depending on your situation. This is a big part of the naming and shaming process and it shouldn’t be overlooked, often just sharing your problem will remove you self doubt and have you feeling better immediately. Practice identifying your fears and see how much better you feel for it.
Now get out there and beat your self doubt into submission.
Image by Jimee, Jackie, Tom & Asha