How self doubt can challenge your progress.


Not impossible for me

Impossible is not in my dictionary

Last night it hit me.

You can call it the wet, cold mackerel of truth. You can call it having the curtain lifted. You can call it being honest with yourself. But whatever you call it, it is devastating. It was suddenly very clear to me:

1. I don’t know what I am doing

2. I am not making any progress toward my goals

3. My goals are hopeless and unrealistic.

Suddenly I was in a funk.

My life was in shambles. I was doing too much in too many areas and as a result spreading myself too thin. I wasn’t doing enough about the important things and spending too much time on trivialities. I way overestimated my ability to take on the challenges of my goals and therefor couldn’t hope to be successful. I was spinning my wheels. I wasn’t getting traction. You name the failure cliché and I was flogging myself with it.

I should have been depressed.

Surprisingly I was not. It was almost comforting. If my perception of reality last night was correct then all I had to do was relax and let mediocrity roll on. No more daily challenges to be more, do more and learn more. No more pressure to engage and relate with new people and new experiences. I could just relax and let my life flow on as usual. No more pressures. Everything would be fine. We can get by with my retirement income. My car is good for another 180,000 miles. We really don’t want to take that cruise. I began to wallow in the comfort of mediocrity. I slept well.

Back in perspective.

Thankfully, a good night’s sleep helped me get my life back in perspective. The ‘truth telling’ of last night was in reality a lie. I am making headway on my goals. I am staying focused on strategic activities and letting some of my marginal ones go. I may not have everything figured out. Some of my decisions may be flawed and need changing down the line and I may have to adjust my priorities from time to time. Daily I am learning new skills, understanding myself better and managing and focusing my limited time and resources to make my dreams happen.

Moving on.

Today I took the tasks were causing my funk and addressed them. It only took a few minutes and they went from being problems to just issues to take care of as needed. Then I sat down and planned my day and now am doing what I need to do.

The lesson.

The reason for dragging you through my journey is not to pat myself on the back. I want to illustrate how small things can influence my attitude and how much I am drawn to comfort and security. It was enough to make me distort reality, convince myself that black is white and almost enough to keep me satisfied with the usual routine over making a difference and being exceptional. What made the difference for me is the reading of good books, the examples of people who make their own good luck and the honest reflection of how far I have already traveled on my journey. I am certain that successful people deal with this struggle from time to time but keep moving. I know that there are many other people with tremendous potential that aren’t able to argue against self doubt and stop fighting because they haven’t read one more book or learned from one more winner how to fight the battle for success.  You surely fit one category or the other.

The question.

Have any readers made that transition from knowing you can’t to knowing you can? Are you choosing to reject the ordinary and aim for extraordinary?  If so, what made the difference and how does it keep you going against your own denial?

{ 17 comments… add one }
  • Ray January 29, 2010, 2:02 pm

    I have felt exactly what you described on a number of occasions. It just feels like life is overwhelming, and I just don’t have the energy to fight on. I just want to go to sleep and wake up to everything having gotten better miraculously with no effort on my part. It’s goddam hard to put a positive, Look-at-me-I’m-a-winner face all the time. It just takes too much energy. But……..Then you realize you had better get up off your ass, and get to work, ‘cuz if you don’t, then no one else will. Take a deep breath, relax, and just get goin’.
    .-= Ray´s last blog ..How To Profit From The New Goldrush =-.

  • Ralph January 29, 2010, 2:20 pm

    Thanks Ray. That is it and doesn’t it feel wonderful when you get moving again?

  • wrthofnino January 29, 2010, 8:22 pm

    I like! 😀
    .-= wrthofnino´s last blog ..Homestruck =-.

  • Karen January 30, 2010, 9:22 am

    Hi Ralph,

    Great article! I think that all of us have felt like this at one time or another. It’s great to hear that you didn’t let it depress you.

    Don’t be so hard on yourself. You’re only human and are trying your best (which is fantastic, by the way).

    What has helped me is reading the book “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyways” by Susan Jeffers. Check it out if you get a chance, it can make a real difference.

    Looking forward to reading more insightful posts from you.


  • Ralph January 30, 2010, 11:17 am

    Thanks. I think I have heard of that book but never yet read it. Another one for the list.

  • Ralph January 30, 2010, 11:18 am

    Hey Nino,
    Why is nothing happening with your blog?

  • Selurus January 30, 2010, 1:27 pm

    Exactly. Its essential to believe in yourself and keep the focus to achieve the goal.

  • Ralph January 30, 2010, 5:13 pm

    Essential but sometimes challenging.

  • Rose January 30, 2010, 8:16 pm

    I too have felt what you described. I think self- doubt is normal. Actually self-doubt is holding me back right now from something.

  • Eric January 31, 2010, 9:21 am

    I feel that if you know where you’re going you’re more likely to get there if the want is strong enough.

    I don’t have a clear mindset for my life half the time but still know that I want better than I have. Sometimes what I have is good enough and for me to even want better I have to understand what is really the better I want and why do I want it so badly.

    You just have to keep moving forward and keep on trying.

    What do you think?
    .-= Eric´s last blog ..Lets Help Each Other =-.

  • Ralph January 31, 2010, 10:05 am

    I think that all of us experience this. I know when it hits me, however, it seems like I am the only one. It helps to know that this is part of life but not a part we need to accept.
    .-= Ralph´s last blog ..The Top 10 Reasons to Post Daily =-.

  • Ralph January 31, 2010, 10:06 am

    What you said is a big part of what I was trying to say in the post. The call of mediocrity and good enough is strong but not very satisfying in the end.
    .-= Ralph´s last blog ..The Top 10 Reasons to Post Daily =-.

  • Lee January 31, 2010, 10:55 am

    I think the important thing for me is as you stated as well, is to be able to not only recognize it but to say it, share it and look for the solution. Sometimes just sharing it is the most beneficial to me. It helps me get others’ input and see the picture as a whole. But it also helps me to have a balance and know when to include something leisurely. Usually when I find I’m overwhelmed it’s because I’m too focused on one thing w/o a balance. Thanks for sharing this Ralph….I’m envious I want that cruise. Yeah, that’s what I need…lol
    .-= Lee´s last blog ..Progress Not Perfection ~ New Design Coming Soon =-.

  • Ralph January 31, 2010, 12:49 pm

    I think that’s why I blog because it gives me a chance to see what is going on in my life and put it into perspective—- and get feedback from others to either verify or point out my errors. Thanks. The cruise is coming.

  • TheInfoPreneur January 31, 2010, 2:02 pm

    I relate this to when I went through a high rise assualt course, designed to play on your fears. Some of the obstacles are illusions so it the gap you have to jump looks impossible (especially at 60 foot in the air with no harness).
    It’s different for everyone but I’m the sort of person to think ‘a pile of scaffolding isn’t going to beat me’ .
    I break it down to it’s simplest form and jump both feet into it and learn how to swim once I’m heading to the bottom!
    .-= TheInfoPreneur´s last blog ..What Rank Are You? =-.

  • Ralph January 31, 2010, 2:06 pm

    You rock!

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