Is self-doubt and fear of failure holding you back and stopping you from achieving your blogging dreams? Vicki Montague, Wellbeing Coach, Podcaster and Owner of Free From Limits, shares her personal journey and explains how you can overcome your doubts and fears to fulfil your true potential.
A worrier, perfectionist and over-thinker…
For as long as I can remember I worried.
What would I do if…
How would I manage…
What will they think…
I’m not good enough…
And so much more.
It came to its first ‘head’ when I was studying for exams at university. I couldn’t sleep and the lack of sleep was creating more worry which led to more sleeplessness.
The doctor prescribed me beta blockers to slow down my racing heart, caused by the adrenaline coursing through my body, and I eventually got some sleep.
That should have alerted me that there was something to address, but it didn’t. I carried on with the over-thinking, fear of failure, self-doubt and perfectionism. Putting myself under increasing amounts of stress to ‘achieve’ but all the while comparing myself to others and always falling short.
When I was made redundant in 2012 it was my opportunity to do something different. To move out of employment where I felt constantly under pressure, and into self-employment where I thought I would be more in control.
In actual fact what happened is that my self-esteem plummeted. I believed that my income was a reflection of my worth and while I was earning pennies it was evidence that I was useless.
I doubted that I was good enough to compete with the other bloggers on the scene and felt constantly nervous about what I should be doing to be ‘better’ at what I did.
I pushed myself to go to blogging events, to ‘put myself out there’ but it felt uncomfortable and I hated it.
At the time ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’ was my motto.
But it led to greater and greater anxiety until in 2018, after the death of my father-in-law, I just stopped.
I had previously trained in Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and counselling, aiming to find a solution to my own problems.
As they hadn’t worked, I started to look at other self-help techniques, hoping to find something that would free me from a constant feeling of fear and worry.
I knew I couldn’t go on because although everything looked perfect in my outer world, things were far from perfect inside myself.
I explored everything from EFT (tapping) to essential oils and hypnotherapy. I read self-help books like there was no tomorrow and yet there was still the self-doubt and fear.
In September 2018 I heard something different…
You don’t have to listen to your thinking
An innocent sentence that changed everything for me.
Until that point I believed everything that came into my head. All the thoughts of not being enough, of worrying about what people thought, were absolute truths.
And then I was gently pointed towards an exploration of the principles behind life. Of how every human’s experience is created from the inside out. From the thoughts inside the mind, not the external things and events.
And suddenly it all made sense. Why, although everything looked perfect on the outside of my life, I was unhappy and fearful.
I had been innocently creating the fearful life that I was trapped in though the power of thought.
In that moment I saw that there was no objective reality; that we all create our own realities based on the thinking we have in the moment.
That’s why we all have different experiences of the same external thing (like a film for example).
“Your thoughts are like the artist’s brush. They create a personal picture of the reality you live in.”Sydney Banks
Thoughts create feelings
I was gently guided towards exploring where feelings arise from. The feeling of worry and self-doubt were very familiar for me. They showed up as a tight knot in my tummy and chest.
What I came to understand was that my thoughts were creating those feelings in my body. It wasn’t the things going on in my outside world, but the things that were going on in my mind that created my suffering.
“Thought is not reality, yet it is through thought that our realities are created.”Sydney Banks
Do a quick experiment for yourself to see if this is true…
Think about something you’re scared of. Notice how thinking about that thing has the ability to create physical sensations in your body. But is that thing actually there? Is it actually happening? I’m guessing not, which shows the power thought has to create physical feelings.
This was a revelation for me because I now understood where my feelings were coming from. Rather than the outside world I came to see that they were coming from my thoughts or interpretation of the outside world.
How does this help with self-doubt and fear of failure?
Our body acts as a beautiful barometer of what is happening in the mind.
When we have thoughts that we are not enough, our body tells us with a tightness or constriction. It might be that we get ‘knots’ in our stomach, headaches or even migraines. Or indeed any myriad of symptoms caused by living in the feeling of our low mood thinking.
When we feel that then we have two choices.
Firstly, we can do what we’ve always done and continue to ‘feed’ that thinking. This will often lead us to feel like there is something that we need to do urgently to change our lives in some way.
The second option is to realise that the feelings in our body are coming from our thoughts. Not from the circumstances or events we find ourselves in.
We can choose to ignore them; using the feeling as an ‘alarm’ to tell us that we are buying into thoughts that are not true.
The latter leads to peace and clarity on what to do next.
The former leads to distress and uncertainty.
We get to choose how we want to feel in life. We are not the victims of our thoughts when we understand the nature of thought; that it comes and goes all on its own, all day long.
In the words of Charlie Mackesy:
“One of our greatest freedoms is how we react to things.”
And that includes how we react to thoughts.
So next time you have those thoughts of self-doubt or you worry about doing something in case you should fail, consider what you want.
If you want to feel anxious, constricted and upset then go ahead and listen to the thinking. But know that there is another way. You can choose peace and clarity. You can choose not to listen to that thinking and wait for another, fresh thought to pop into your head.
And then you’re on the path to fulfilling your true potential because, in my experience, when you stop listening to those thoughts that are driving your behaviour, you are free to do whatever you want.
If you’d like to know more about what I share here, you can:
- Join my free ‘Finding Inner Peace’ 5 day online course
- Join my free parenting webinar on Thursday 25th March at 7.30pm GMT. Email me at [email protected] to register your place
- Work with me 1:1 to explore freedom from your limiting beliefs, self-doubt and fear of failure. For Productive Blogging readers I have a special offer of five 1 hour sessions with me over Zoom for £200 (usual price £300) if booked before the end of April 2021.
- Watch videos at sydbanks.com. Sydney Banks was the person who articulated the Three Principles.
More productivity tips for bloggers…
- 11 easy ways to make THIS YEAR your best year EVER!
- 10 ways to stop wasting time and actually get stuff done!
- 22 ways to avoid blogger burnout (and get your blogging mojo back!)
- 17 ways to overcome writer’s block for bloggers
- How to turn your blogging dreams into an actionable plan