By Younas Chaudhary
Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.-Suzy Kassem-
I feel most of us doubt ourselves at some point in our lives. We lose faith in our knowledge, skills, talents, and capabilities. Well, I have, and I still do! Self-doubt happens when we question our worth, confidence, and skillset.
I had many self-doubts when I began my career. Over time, I realized that the best way to reduce and even eliminate these was through self-discipline. I had absolutely no clue about the oil and gas industry when I arrived in the US in the late 1970’s and could not even read an oil and gas related land map. However, once I started working seven days a week and put in a lot of time, effort and discipline, the self-doubt that I had internalized vanished with the passage of time.
I came to America at a difficult time when the Iranian hostage crisis was happening. I looked like an Iranian trying to take American oil away by leasing land and drilling oil wells owned by local farmers in Kansas. In this harsh environment I had to overcome self-doubt and let local farmers trust me by my simple, positive and friendly attitude. I would let the local ranchers know that I was new to the oil industry, and I was learning. I felt that most of the farmers helped me to lease more land by calling their family members and friends who owned land around the same area. I was able to secure land leases from local farmers.
Earlier, when I first arrived in Canada in late 1973, I could not stand the freezing conditions and just wanted to leave. I was doubting myself at every point in my life. How can I survive here? It is too cold, and the culture is so different, and I do not know how to speak English. How will I travel? Will I get a job? Soon, I started making excuses that Edmonton was not the place for me and doubted my own existence in an alien land. Yet, I persevered as one part of me had a clear goal of making money. I knew if I could withstand these temporary inconveniences, I could accomplish my goals. So, instead of self-doubt, I moved on to self-motivation and I perked myself up by saying regularly to myself that I could do difficult things, which boosted my own self steam and morale.
Over time, I have found that the best way to remove self-doubt is to attempt to actually perform hard, difficult tasks, and meet them head-on. For instance, if someone is afraid of walking in the dark, they should try and reframe their thinking that if they could walk with no issues in daylight and see no ghosts, what difference does it make if it’s nighttime?
Positive affirmation from people you care can help reduce self-doubt. Whenever I had a doubt on a small issue or a multimillion-dollar deal, I would consult with my wife. She was very simple, but direct and honest and her advice with positive affirmation helped me a lot in my life.
Trusting your gut and making quick decisions can erase self-doubt when you are leading a team. This kind of decision-making requires patience and practice but will help you get out of the spiral of self-doubt easily.
One of the major disadvantages of clinging to self-doubt is that you will avoid making decisions resulting in delays shipping your product or providing service on time. People worry about perfection, doubt their skills, and prolong projects without getting them into the market. This is where huge losses happen and where each of us as individuals need to take proactive and positive measures. Blessings!
The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article are my own and do not represent the opinions of any entity with which I have been, am now, or will be affiliated. Further, I make no warranty regarding the accuracy or effectiveness of my recommendations, and readers are advised to consult other advisors as well as their own judgments in making business decisions.