“What if I made the wrong decision? What if I am on the wrong path? What if all of this, is just a bad mistake?” Patricia sat on the couch and verbalized what she’d been stewing for weeks. She had just made some giant changes in her career and she worried that somehow she had screwed everything up.
Patricia is not the only one who wonders this. Anyone who takes a risk at any level experiences fears of the unknown and of immobilizing self-doubt. Those of us who challenge the status quo because we believe in something better will ultimately stumble with self-doubt. I primarily work with people during crossroads stages in their lives, and after 18 years in this profession, I have noticed patterns emerge. Those folks who are determined to change their world for the better take extraordinary personal and professional risk to accomplish their goals. They say the hard things, they hear the hard things, and they make necessary sacrifices. They stand up for what is right and what they believe. They listen to the truth, even if it hurts. They resist the path of least resistance.
There are many crossroads decisions in our lives, some big and some small. But the self-doubt that plagues World Changers can stop you in your tracks, if you let it. I’ve seen self-doubt immobilize World Changers to the point of bewilderment. Just when they are making great strides, knocking down giants, and conquering goals, a wave of self-doubt hits them and sets them back. These motivated, spirited world changers get sidelined with fears, responsibilities, guilt, and doubt. They struggle to move through it, putting one foot in front of the other.
Fear is at the Root of Self Doubt
Some of the most resilient and get-er-done people I know get sideline by fear and self-doubt. Here are the things you might be afraid of.
What World Changers are Afraid Of
- Afraid of your own potential: What if you fulfilled your purpose and potential in this life?
- Afraid you can’t do it on your own. I know, I’ve been here too. I think things like, “But I don’t know enough to reach that goal,” or “I don’t have enough _____ to make that happen.”
- Afraid you will be a disappointment. You wonder if you will disappoint others, God and yourself.
- Afraid that God isn’t as good as He says He is. Another version of this is, Afraid God doesn’t love me as much as I hoped he did.
- Afraid you’ve made a mistake: You wonder if the mistakes you’ve made are so irreparable that you won’t be able to recover.
- Afraid of being insignificant: You wonder if your life will add up to a whole lot of nothing, and the things that you put your time and effort into just flop.
These fears are common to those people who put themselves out there, take risks and change the world around them. When World Changers make a change in their life, it comes with risk, sacrifice, and increased vulnerability. When you’re doing something big, something hard, and something good, be prepared for external and internal challenge. It’s normal. Ask yourself…
- How do I respond to challenge?
- Where do I give my power away?
- What is taking more from me, than it’s giving?
- Where do I need to ask for help?
- What do I want to grow?
As you ask yourself these questions, keep in mind that anytime you are doing big things, or making big changes, you will be challenged, tempted and delayed. That is just part of the process. How you respond to these challenges, temptations and delays is the key. Here are some ways that World Changers respond.
Things That World Changers Do
- Align with Reality: You have a solid grasp of what is true and what is not. You are not interested in worst case scenarios, wishful thinking, someone to rescue you, or the fantasy. You do your research and you deal in reality. You’re big enough to handle the truth even if it’s hard to hear. Truth is sacred.
- Blue Book Buyer: My dad carried around a little blue book that gave the current value of any car, anywhere and anytime. The Blue Book would tell him how much something was worth. You are a World Changer, if you know your value. You don’t sell yourself short, or value others more or less than yourself. You don’t stick around if someone is not valuing you, and you don’t use other people for your own personal gain. People are valuable.
- Leaving behind what is good, to go after what is best. You are willing to take a risk for yourself. This is very important. You could stay status quo, but you know there is more to life than the easy life. You trust yourself to know that life is about taking risks, making hard decisions, and pushing past fears. There is a better way.
- Get Out While the Gettin’s Good: If something is harmful, abusive, wicked or wrong, you know to separate yourself from it to protect yourself and the others around you. Even if leaving comes with loss, cutting your losses earlier is better. You know that harmful behavior is not supposed to be ignored or pacified. You know that bullies should have consequences. Even if abuse is what you have known in your past or present, you are not willing to let it be a part of your future. You are worth more.
- Pick the Right Pain: If you are a World Changer, then you know the difference between the pain of injury, and the pain of growth. World Changers know that injurious pain should be avoided, and growing pain should be embraced. The reality is that you cannot choose a pain free life. However, you can choose the type of pain you experience. World Changers choose the kind of pain that results in strength, growth, wisdom and future goals. Use pain to your advantage.
If you are experiencing a lot of self doubt, chances are that you are about to embark on a sizable change for the good.