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Success and Leadership

How to stop doubting yourself?

Téa Angelos
Téa Angelos, founder and CEO of Smart Women Society (SWS) (Image courtesy: CEOWORLD magazine/FILE PHOTO.)

We are not born with self-doubt. We develop it through our life experiences and the impacts of the people around us. Self-doubt is the lack of confidence and belief in ourselves and our ability. It’s the voice in your head telling you that you’re not good enough, that it won’t work out, that someone else is better at it or that you will fail.

We all experience self-doubt. Even the most successful people in the world doubt themselves. What sets them apart, though, is that they have learned ways to conquer this self-doubt, and use it instead as a powerful tool to take action.


The first step in overcoming self-doubt is to increase your self-awareness and understanding of what is holding you back. Think about the specific scenarios or situations that cause you to doubt yourself. Maybe you’re scared of sharing your ideas with your team because you’re worried they’re not any good, or maybe you want to apply for your dream role but you don’t tick 100 per cent of the boxes. Reflect on the limiting beliefs you have and how these impact your self-doubt. Once you do this, you can start to take action.


After you identify what’s holding you back, it’s time to start changing your self-talk. Look back on the previous chapters in this book and challenge your negative thoughts and the reasons why you doubt yourself.

Consistently challenging your self-talk will result in huge benefits over time as your subconscious mind starts to adopt new empowering beliefs and positive ways of thinking.


Who we surround ourselves with will have a significant effect on us. Think about the five people you spend the most time around. How do they make you feel? After spending time with them, do you feel energised and inspired or drained and grumpy? Audit your circle and spend less time around people who attract negativity and hold you back.

Instead, prioritise nurturing relationships with supportive people who you can seek guidance from during the doubting times, and who will cheer you on when you need that extra push. This could be a friend, family member or a mentor. Reciprocate the positive energy and elevate this person and the people around you. Remind them of their special skills and talents and how proud you are of them.


Self-doubt often causes us to justify situations, make up excuses and think of a million reasons why we can’t, won’t or shouldn’t do something. But when was the last time you actually believed in your own potential?

Think about all your past achievements. Think about all the times you did something that felt scary or unfamiliar or impossible at the time. Sit in that feeling of overcoming your self-doubt. You’ve done it before, and you will do it again. Stop letting self-doubt get in the way of going after what you want and achieving your goals.


How many times have you compared yourself to a friend, sibling, colleague or a random person you’ve stalked online? It’s human nature to compare ourselves to others. The difference, though, is whether we use this comparison as a form of jealousy or discomfort to fuel our self-doubt, or as a source of inspiration. Every single person is on their own journey. We all have unique backgrounds, circumstances and varying levels of privileges.

When you see someone doing well or succeeding, clap for them. Take it as motivation and inspiration to see if you can find a way to achieve it too. There is enough room in this world for us all to succeed. Find ways to learn from others’ success and then focus your energy on your own unique path.


We all have that ‘thing’ we want or need to do. You already know what the ‘thing’ is. You’re probably thinking about it right now as you read this. You’ve been avoiding it and putting it off for a while now. Most likely because you’re scared of taking the first step. But here’s your reminder that you are brave. Go do the thing.

You are capable of doing hard things. You are bigger than your fears. Take the first step today.

Edited extract from Smart Moves: Simple Ways to take Control of your Life (Wiley $32.95) by Téa Angelos.
Written by Téa Angelos.

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CEOWORLD magazine - Latest - Success and Leadership - How to stop doubting yourself?
Téa Angelos
Téa Angelos is the founder and CEO of Smart Women Society (SWS), one of the world's largest and fastest-growing online education platforms helping a thriving community of hundreds of thousands of women globally get smarter with their money, careers, wellbeing, and love lives.

Téa Angelos is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. Connect with her through LinkedIn.