Overcoming self-doubt and rediscovering your strengths

Every woman possesses a reservoir of untapped potential, waiting to be developed and released. However, self-doubt can act as a veil, obscuring our view of our true capabilities and holding us back from realizing our fullest potential.

Shelley Audette Settles

8/11/20235 min read

Every woman possesses a reservoir of untapped potential, waiting to be developed and released. However, self-doubt can act as a veil, obscuring our view of our true capabilities and holding us back from realizing our fullest potential.

As a mindset and empowerment coach working primarily with women, I've encountered numerous clients who grapple with self-doubt, preventing them from embracing their unique strengths and abilities.

Today I’m delving into the depths of self-doubt, understanding its roots, and offering insights and exercises to help women break free from the pain and indecision of self-doubt.

1. Understanding Self-Doubt

Self-doubt is the persistent feeling of uncertainty and lack of confidence in one's abilities and judgments. It stems from past experiences, criticism, and comparisons to others. Both self-doubt and a lack of self-worth reside in the emotional heart, or the subconscious mind. That’s why we can be aware of doubting ourselves but not be aware of the underlying reason. No matter: We can still rewrite a new belief about ourselves!

Pay attention to your negative self-talk and be aware of the moments when you hesitate to embrace new challenges or opportunities. In fact, practicing ‘awareness’ is one of the best tools you can develop in your quest for healing or for advancement. That’s because awareness is the first step to changing your habitual thinking.

2. Challenge your Inner Critic

The inner critic is the voice that fuels self-doubt by highlighting your perceived shortcomings and mistakes. Challenge this inner critic! Ask yourself if these negative beliefs are based on facts or merely assumptions.

Be careful here. Because we rarely challenge our assumptions and because we are so close to our own thought processes, it can be difficult to judge an assumption’s validity on our own. We may find outside perspective helpful.

Either way, replace these thoughts with positive affirmations as part of your plan to rewrite your belief system into one that serves you better. This process is an ongoing one, rather than ‘one and done’.

3. Embrace Failures as Learning Opportunities

Instead of viewing failures as evidence of inadequacy, embrace them as valuable opportunities. Failure is just feedback; it isn’t who you are! Analyze what went wrong, identify lessons learned, and use these insights to improve and move forward.

4. Identify Limiting Beliefs

Deeply rooted limiting beliefs can hold you back from realizing your true potential. Reflect on beliefs you hold about yourself, success, and the world. You don’t need to pinpoint your exact beliefs, just determine which of your beliefs are empowering or limiting. You’ll probably find that many of your beliefs are ‘umbrella’ beliefs that are similar in nature.

This is identification process is easier than you might think. You can listen to your language when you think about the major areas of your life, such as your relationships, your finances, even your health. If your beliefs are limiting (which you identify by having used ‘I can’t’ language) then decide what you would LIKE to believe instead.

This is also easier than you think. You are not married to your beliefs. In fact, chances are ‘your beliefs’ weren’t initially yours in the first place. They were installed in you as a baby, or you absorbed them along with absorbing your native language. You were too young with an undeveloped conscious mind to challenge them. You accepted these things as true, and they became your beliefs.

With your adult mind, you can now challenge your beliefs and replace limiting ones with new beliefs that align with your aspirations. You can choose to believe anything you want to because just as much ‘proof’ exists for your new belief as it does for your old one.

Many mindset professionals suggest that you can write new beliefs that align with your aspirations simply by making positive affirmations. In truth, positive affirmations have their place in re-writing and re-wiring your thoughts, but that’s too simplistic. These beliefs live in your subconscious underneath your conscious awareness. You need more tools than just affirmations. Fortunately, there are tools available.

5. Celebrate your Achievements

Often, we downplay our achievements attributing them to luck or external factors. Recognizing and celebrating your accomplishments boost your confidence and reinforces your belief in your capabilities.

6. Cultivate Self-Compassion

Self-compassion is crucial in overcoming self-doubt. Treat yourself with the same kindness and understanding you would offer a friend facing similar challenges. Acknowledge that everyone has setbacks and that imperfections are part of being human. Understand that the REAL you, your spirit being, is perfect and does not need ‘fixing.’ We only want to adjust our learned behaviors, which we picked up from others and from the school of hard knocks.

7. Surround Yourself with Support

Surround yourself with supportive individuals who uplift and encourage you. Seek out mentors, friends, or like-minded communities that nurture your beliefs and provide a safe space to share your aspirations and fears. You are not alone.

8. Rediscover your Strengths

Unveiling your true potential requires rediscovering your unique strengths and abilities. Engage in self-assessment exercises to identify your core strengths skills and passions. Reflect on past accomplishments and moments of flow where you felt most alive and engaged. This is important because many times women our age have learned to suppress their own dreams and aspirations for so long that they begin to feel that they don’t have them anymore!

Write down a list of your past achievements, whether big or small, and the strengths you utilized to accomplish them. Realize that you possess the power to recreate such moments of success in the future; in fact, realize that you are far more powerful than you know. All that power is inside you, waiting for your unique expression!

You are already using your unfocused power but not benefiting much from it. You may even be using your power against yourself through your default choices. I’d love to chat and help you tap into your inner strength in a fruitful, productive way.

If you’d like additional exercises and tips, simply reach out to me at Mentor4Breakthrough@gmail or contact me through my website: ShelleyAudetteSettles.com.

9. Step out of your Comfort or ‘Familiar’ Zone

Often our comfort zone isn't very comfortable. But we return to it time and time again because it's familiar and part of our paradigm. Identify areas where self-doubt holds you back then challenge yourself to take calculated risks. You can do this!

10. Set clear goals

Set clear, realistic goals that align with your passions and strengths. Traditional wisdom then advises that you ‘break these goals into actionable steps and create a road map to achieve them.’

Having said this, it doesn't always work this way. Many people feel under pressure with this traditional method. They are more successful in achieving their goals by doing advanced mindset work first which makes their action steps easier and automatic.

I suggest starting with this exercise: Visualize your ideal future with as much detail as possible. Practice feeling what you would feel if you were already living it. Stay in this mental state as long and as often as possible.

This sets up a dynamic response in our subconscious mind which goes to work right away to bring the idealized future into your present. With this method, you don’t need to know NOW what steps you’ll need to take to get to your ideal future. As you tap in and keep feeling and seeing the reality of your desired future, your conscious mind which knows you better than you do will inspire you to take the action needed when the time comes.

11. Embrace a growth mindset

Your abilities can be developed through dedication and consistent practice. Instead of fearing challenges, view them as opportunities for growth and learning. Embrace the journey of self-improvement and continuous development because this is the gateway to living a more fulfilled, happier life.