how to overcome self doubt


I have a theory – a simple theory unvalidated and measured by science – that artistic souls are by nature far harder on themselves them “ordinary” folk. Take for example the email I received today from a very talented lady.

She is the former editor of House and Garden, a Qantas award-winning journalist, freelance writer and bestselling non fiction author. She’s also a wonderfully talented author of fiction – winner of a recent romance writers award, and finalist in another as she forges a new career in the competitive world of category romance.

So her email to me today on the one hand surprised me. On the other it didn’t, knowing as I do that self-doubt often follows talent:

“So what do you do to counter doubts? I seem to be swinging wildly from “I can do this!” to “OH MY GOD, I CAN’T DO THIS, WHO AM I KIDDING, MAYBE I SHOULD GIVE IT ALL UP AND JUST HAVE A NICE EASY LIFE WITHOUT BEING NAGGED BY CONSTANT DOUBT!!!!!!

When she emailed me I said to her: “I feel a blog post coming on re this! “Tell me 10 things that have worked for you in the past – first!

Here is what she wrote:

1. Get productive. Progress is cathartic.
2. Get some sleep. Tiredness breeds doubt.
3. Read a really good book in the line I’m targeting, for inspiration.
4. Read a really bad book, to remind myself I’m not that bad.
5. Wait an hour. The feeling usually passes.
6. Read my writing. It’s usually far better than I’ve convinced myself it is.
7. Seek external feedback. It’s often encouraging. (Can backfire though…)
8. Go for a run. Exercise makes me feel indomitable.
9. Ask the five year old if I can do it. He’ll always say yes 🙂 And I’m always telling him you can never succeed if you don’t try, and you can never be good at something without practicing.
10. Make a concrete goal, lists of the steps I need to take to achieve it, and create a calendar to map it out.

There, I feel better now!

I did suggest she add to this list all her achievements – like winning and being a finalist, plus awards in the past…plus that she is super human with all the life roles she juggles…e.g. mother to two pre-school boys, mum, wife, freelance writer, main breadwinner…

What would you suggest? What are your favourite ways to overcome self doubt?

Interestingly, just days after the email above by my client expressing self-doubt, she won another writing contest!

The power of persistence and holding a positive picture of the outcome

“Another very good technique for handling a problem is just to stay with it; in other words, don’t give up. It’s amazing just what simple persistence will do where you use it intelligently on your difficulties When everything goes (or seems)  wrong and you seem particularly inadequate, what shall you do? Just keep on pitching. And tenaciously hold a positive positive picture of the outcome.” ~ Norman Vincent Peale, writing in The Amazing Results of Positive Thinking.

A great way to maintain a positive picture is to keep a passion journal. The purpose of the passion journal  is to act is a central, easily retrievable place to collect and store sources of inspiration, insights and clues related to your passion criteria and preferred future. It is also a motivational tool to be updated regularly and looked at frequently – ideally daily.

Want to see a passion journal? Watch TV footage of Cassandra on the Good Morning show talking with Brendon Pongia about creative goal setting, click here


4 thoughts on “how to overcome self doubt

  1. and i am a different cassie gaisford. i live in utah and am a literacy coach for k through third grade/

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