Self-Doubt can be a real devil when you’re faced with important decisions or big change.

In today’s “Shadow Knows” post, we’re going to have a look at the way self-doubt can worm its way into your thoughts and undermine your most important life choices.

If you’re wondering why we might want to have a look at the more troublesome aspects of life on, please be sure to check out my last Shadow Knows post, where I explain the benefits of having a good look at our less-than positive sides.

Oh! Also make sure you read down to the bottom of this post, where I give you a simple way to expose and route-out those undermining, self-doubt thoughts from your life :)

Yes? … No! … Maybe?

Is there a difference between self-doubt and uncertainty? Yes, there definitely is! Self-doubt is an undermining force in your life, based on lack of trust in your self or your circumstance. Uncertainty, on the other hand, is what sometimes arises during the process of making a big life decision.

Uncertainty is the space we are in before enough information is gathered. It’s a temporary state. But when uncertainty becomes paralyzing, self-doubt is often the culprit.

Here’s an example…

The Job-Change Jitters

Let’s say you’ve become unhappy with your current work. At first it may have been a little annoyance or boredom from time to time, but now it’s become a full-fledge bother. You’re unhappy most mornings and are starting to feel angry or irritable too often.

You know you need a change. The problem is: you’re not yet sure what that change might be.

All kinds of thoughts, ideas, fears, feelings and questions take their turn spinning through your mind:

“What should I do?”
“What if the next job is even worse?”
“Can I afford to change?”
“But I’m so unhappy!”
“When should I do it?”
“Insurance benefits are really important to me and I have them now.”
“I’ll miss my friends”
“What if I can’t find a better job?”

And on it goes …

At first, these questions represent the normal concerns and uncertainties we all face when it’s time to make an important life decision. But uncertainty has a shelf-life … and a short one at that! Once expired, uncertainty rots into unhealthy self-doubt.

The Voice of Self-Doubt

After it’s sell-by date, Uncertainty’s once valid questions become a kind of self-perpetuated self-doubt loop. The ‘voice’ of this loop usually begins sentences with things like:

“What if I don’t …”
“What if I can’t …”
“Maybe I should …”
“Maybe I shouldn’t …”
“I don’t know if …”

See the pattern?

It’s not so much about fear of change either. Because many of the most successful people feel the fear and do it anyway. Self-doubt is evident when we avoid making a decision due to “what if …” thinking.

Routing Out the “What if …” Thinking

Here’s a simple exercise you can do to expose and route-out self-doubt when you need to make an important life decision.

Step 1: Listen for “What if …” and “Should/Shouldn’t” thinking running loops in your head.

Step 2: Write down every one of these in a list.

Step 3: Once you’ve got every single annoying self-doubt question written down in a list, go back through the list putting a counter statement next to each one. Here’s an example:

“What if I can’t find a job with better pay” … “What if my next job pays me more than this one?

Step 4 (Optional): Make an audio recording of yourself reading all of your new, positive statements. If you only have a few, read through the list several times.

Step 5: Listen to your recording each night for 3 months, just as you are drifting off to sleep.

What’s your “What if …”?

Are you facing an important life decision and finding self-doubt getting in your way? Maybe I can help. Let me know your “What if …” in the comments below!

Many blessings,