Self Doubt. It’s shitty.
It’s a creativity killer. But it’s also an inevitable part of life.
For artists, makers, photographers and creatives, it goes with the territory. And I’ve definitely had my fair share.
Just before Christmas I had a massive bout of self doubt. Like getting tangled in a fishing net, it got hold of me and dragged me down. I lost my energy, my enthusiasm, my joie de vivre. I questioned everything I did. Everything felt pants, to be frank! My daily internal narrative was telling me I was no good, there were other people far better than me and nothing I was doing was particularly original or interesting.
I needed to cut myself free.
I’m not giving you the answers to overcoming self doubt. This isn’t one of those fluffy posts telling you how to break free of self confidence issues or self doubt, whilst arming you with the tools to inner peace and contentment. Nope. Sorry.
6 steps to tackle the prickly feeling of self doubt
Instead I’m sharing how I deal with it. I’m on the other-side of this big bout of self doubt and lack of self confidence, but I’ll never be 100% free. Here’s how I’ve dealt with my 4,125,333rd episode.
- Accept – I’ll never be free of self doubt. Unless you’re some kind of zen master, I think this is pretty much the same for all human beings. It’s a side-effect of our egocentric ways.
- No Social – I stepped away from social media. This is my number one driver of traffic and potential work. However, it is also where I experience the most amount of jealousy, the feelings of not being good enough. Particularly on Instagram. (Especially since that darn algorithm change but that’s another post.)
- Get Out – I got active. I’ve been walking, running and stretching as much as possible. I put my favourite tunes on and danced my little booty off. It’s amazing the boost of endorphines you experience when you pop on a cracking tune. I grabbed my imaginary microphone and boogied with the kids around the kitchen. This stopped me worrying instantaneously. Magic.
- Stop Work – I stopped working on my creative projects. It was Christmas which really helped because I set about tidying, organising and decorating instead. I’m also now learning to play the piano which is great for time out and being present, simply in the moment and on the task at hand.
- Declutter – I de-cluttered the house, my studio and my wardrobe. All that ‘stuff’ – it’s not only physical clutter it is mental clutter too. When the voice of self doubt enters, you need to have a clear mind in order to handle it effectively. Have a clear out.
- Moodboard – I made a moodboard of my favourite work. This process was brilliant. It’s really helped me reevaluate my direction as well as appreciate my more successful artworks.. In addition to this I’ve written down all of the projects I haven’t enjoyed and ultimately I didn’t feel were good enough. I realised I need to change a few things in my creative marketing plan as a result. A very useful process.
Basically these 6 steps to tackle the prickly feeling of self doubt, make you concentrate on something else. Whilst also appreciating the good stuff like dancing with your kids.
I took a week off, but taking half an hour out to do some of these things can have the desired effect of shutting the voice of self doubt up.
That niggling voice actually has it’s benefits too.
That voice doesn’t always have to be negative. This voice tells you when something you’re working on needs a little more adjusting. When I’m creative, its a feeling that tells me my work needs a change of colour here, or a slightly different composition there. It’s when you turn that voice against YOURSELF, that it becomes negative.
Overcoming self doubt and lack of self confidence is a practice I accept is something I’ll always be learning to master. However I won’t let the voice of self doubt stop me from my creative calling.
I’d love to know how you tackle self doubt or lack of confidence so feel free to leave a comment below.
Have an inspired day