On Conquering Self Doubt (and some great weekend reads)



“Our doubts are traitors,
and make us lose the good we oft might win,
by fearing to attempt.”
― William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

Self doubt has been something I’ve struggled with all my life, from not believing I could succeed as a musician to having the confidence to lead the various institutions I am honored to be a part of. It’s a very human emotion, and it’s made worse for some people because of life experiences or temperament.

Self doubt also makes you feel alone. Sometimes you think you’re the only person in the world who suffers from a loss of confidence, while thinking all of your friends and colleagues have it completely together.

It’s really hard to rid yourself of doubt entirely, but I have been able to ditch it for long periods of time. Here are some suggestions that may help get you through those doubtful times:

Remember past successes:  Make a list of times in the past you doubted yourself but ended up coming through with flying colors.  I always think about a great performance I had and how it felt.  Knowledge and recognition of your past successes will get you through many tough times and help you achieve great things in the future.

Call your friends: Often, our friends can see our lives more objectively than we can. It always helps to confide in my good friends when I am in doubt of myself; they remind me of past successes.

Celebrate your successes: Take the time to cement positive emotions in your mind when you have a success.  It will make the doubt disappear more quickly next time.

Self doubt is normal, but it can be paralyzing if you aren’t careful.  We all deserve to reach our full potential as human beings; while we sit and doubt ourselves, others are out there taking the fearless plunge.  So get out there in confidence!


My blog has been nominated for The Top Personal Finance Blogs of 2012.  Please vote for me if you enjoy reading!  The contest is hosted by One Smart Dollar and can be found here.


Here are some great weekend reads:

How to Budget: Your First 3 Steps on Everything Finance

Let the Monkey Off the Chain on Be More With Less

7 Life Misconceptions Portrayed in Superbowl Ads on Becoming Minimalist

February Goal: Declutter my Digital and Online Life on Reach Financial Independence

The Lending Club Experiment….4 Months Later on Mr. Money Mustache

$500 Cash Giveaway – Save Money with Coupon Codes on Young Adult Money

Debt Movement Update – It’s Time to Rock, I Salute You! on Work Save Live

Save Money on the Costs of Car Ownership on Eyes on the Dollar

When Quibbling Over Finances Leads to a Rift in Friendship on Broke-Ass Mommy

16 Ways to Become More Content on Money Saving Mom

Becoming Minimalist With Joshua Becker on Simple Life Together

How to Start a Blog – Tips for a Beginner on Making Sense of Cents

How Bad Do You Want It? on The Great Jollyhoombah

15 More Side Business Ideas on Frugal Habits

Giving Up Cigarettes – It’s All About Mindset on Helpful Habits

The Importance of Budgeting in Financial New Years Resolutions on Savvy Scot

How to Spend Lots of Money, Feel Good, and Not Give a Damn! on Financial Samurai

Contributing to Our Household’s Finances in More Ways than Earning on Frugal Confessions

Shopping Tips We Use to Save Money On Canadian Budget Binder

5 Gift Ideas for Those Who Hate Valentine’s Day  on Plunged in Debt

Beginner’s Guide to Investing in Real Estate On One Smart Dollar

Get Money for Unwanted Gifts on Frugal Rules

99 Problems on Fearless Men

Real Life Minimalists on Miss Minimalist



  1. Thanks for the mention! Glad we found your blog and can help each other out.
    John @ Fearless Men recently posted…My 5 Shopping Strategies for Online Savings | $500 Cash GiveawayMy Profile

  2. “Self doubt also makes you feel alone. Sometimes you think you’re the only person in the world who suffers from a loss of confidence, while thinking all of your friends and colleagues have it completely together” – this reminds me of the time I was doing an incredibly difficult 8-week group fitness program (which I’m repeating now). For weeks I kept thinking I was the only one suffering and my inner-demons were ranting about how crappy I was doing because I was suffering so badly.
    One day, I actually looked around the room at everyone else in the class and realized with shock that they all looked as miserable as I felt. They were all suffering too!! It was only my perspective, my own self-doubt, that made me feel alone. My whole experience AND MY SUCCESS completely shifted when I realized that I wasn’t alone, that we were ALL in it together. Now, on round 2, I’m at the front of the class, leading the charge for transformation!

  3. Something we don’t do enough of is “celebrate our successes”. We tend to focus on the negative aspects of our life and why they are negative rather than saying, hey but I did do this and it turned out ok. Don’t sweat the small stuff, set milestones and enjoy a big pat on the back even if it is from oneself.
    Canadianbudgetbinder recently posted…January 2013 Canadian Budget Binder Monthly Budget Update #1My Profile

  4. Cheers for the mention! :) Have a good weekend
    Savvy Scot recently posted…5 Tips for Planning a Holiday – £300 GiveawayMy Profile

  5. Thanks for listing our site, Tony! And terrific post. Tammy and I have made a habit of discussing and celebrating ALL successes. We usually find ourselves at a pub on Saturday reviewing the week and making various toasts to this and that. We’ll be toasting to you tomorrow!
    cj recently posted…Facing Fear TogetherMy Profile

  6. I love the line “self doubt is normal.” Several times I found myself very close to paralysis over the What Ifs and negative thought patterns. I still experience failure, but I am much better at dealing with it. I stayed in a job and continued to climb the ladder sure that if I just worked harder everyone would see me as a confident, in-control person. Little did I know that, by facing those fears and following my dreams, I would feel more empowered to make other changes in my life like adding exercise, healthy eating, and writing to my daily activities.

    Many, many thanks for including us on your Great Weekend Reads list. We are honored and so glad to have found your blog. I believe we also found Gareth from Helpful Hints here, and we adore him too!

  7. Thank you Tony for “great weekend reads” mention; it’s very much appreciated.

    Self-doubt is indeed a corrosive and insidious beast which, more than any other mode of negative thinking, has the capacity to paralyse achievement. The eloquence and impact of Shakespeare’s quote is unfortunately lost in my last sentence; a man whose words always perfectly sum up the nature of an issue. :-)

    I have been (sometimes, still am) plagued by both self-doubt and fear of failure. Your advice to reflect on past successes, as well as to imbibe yourself in the emotions of success when they naturally arise, is indeed profoundly helpful.

    Likewise, I often find it extremely helpful to mentally quarantine past failures, as well as future anxieties / expectations when I’m working towards a specific goal.

    Stay in the present and the “traitor” of self-doubt loses much of its power, and its hold.

    All the best, Gareth
    Gareth Mitchell recently posted…It’s personality that counts…right?My Profile

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