The Positive Aspects of Self-Doubt

Don't know about you, but I've had times when I've doubted myself. For me, those times have anchored me to my humility. And as far as I'm concerned, being humble in business and life is pivotal; it helps to lift our self esteem. Moreover, humility doesn't necessitate any need for attention, or for us to be validated. One of the reasons is that those with humility live with a lack of vanity. Vanity is associated with excessive pride, and often I find it's unwarranted, which in my opinion is an outcome of having an inflate ego.

An inflated ego denies us the possibility to learn, be receptive and be humble. Self-doubt enables us to be reflective and to look for answers outside of ourselves. In addition, our learning journey is never ending, as self doubters are constantly searching for ways to decrease the doubt they have of themselves. Doubt provides us with the hesitation to believe -- something I buy into. With humility, I allow myself to see something from the other persona's point of you. However, my hesitation is always on call, as I require robust evidence, before continuing.

Of course, too much self-doubt can be negative, in that it can erode self confidence and prevent us from taking action. Some might say, I know my own mind as a rationale for having narrow thinking, or being a know it all. None of us know it all, and it's humility that helps us to think like that. I've coached many top leaders and those who convey humility are the most effective. Those with even a smidgen of self-doubt are the leaders who are able to lead others extremely well. Self-doubt has its benefits. Robert Sutton in Good Boss Bad Boss says, "The best bosses dance on the edge of overconfidence, but a healthy dose of self-doubt and humility saves them from turning arrogant and pigheaded. Bosses who fail to strike this balance are incompetent, dangerous to follow, and downright demeaning."

I think Mr. Sutton has got it right. And as long as self-doubt doesn't paralyze you, learn to embrace it rather than deny its existence. In addition, self doubt encourages us to be curious. As Thomas Hobbes puts it - "Curiosity is the lust of the mind." And another benefit of self-doubt is that helps us to be more authentic.

Some tips:

-Remember, less is more

-Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it's a sign of courage

-Be reflective -- could you have done something better or differently?

-Remember, ego is the school bully

- Don't allow pride or vanity to be your rule of thumb

-You can have your cake and eat it, but be prepared to share it with others

-Avoid saying to yourself, "I'm cleverer than... " or "I know more than the others"

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