Did you know that self doubt is one of the biggest hurdles you face?
Truly. You think your funders, your board members, your staff, or policymakers are a tough crowd? I bet your toughest crowd is actually you, yourself.
You know what I’m talking about. It’s that voice that wakes you up in the middle of the night screaming, “You don’t know what you’re doing! You’re screwing up left and right! You’re going to run out of money by morning!”
Or maybe it whispers to you in the middle of a really important board meeting, “Honey, you don’t have a clue. Every single person in this room thinks you are full of it.”
Or perhaps you’ve felt it smirking at you when you’re meeting with a funder, questioning everything you say, certain that there is no way this funder will ever give you a dime.
Whether you believe it or not, that little (sometimes incredibly big and loud) voice holds tremendous power over you. If left on its own to run rampant in your brain, it can really start to impede your ability to move your social change work forward.
So at the first sign that self doubt is creeping in, take action.
Start by bringing the self-doubt out of your head and into the real world. You can articulate it with pen and paper, or (my favorite) via the laptop. I type my self doubts out in a Word Doc on my computer.
Start with the biggest, hairiest self doubt. Just put it out there.
Maybe something like this:
“I feel like an impostor in my role as leader of this organization. I don’t have a CLUE what I’m doing. I don’t have the training, or expertise, or confidence for this job.”
The next — and most important — step is to write a response to that doubt.
So, take a deep breath, feel your feet on the ground, and just write what comes to the surface. My guess is that your loving alter ego will respond. They might say something to calm you down, offer you some inspiration for moving forward, or just give you the pep talk you desperately need.
It’s sort of like Call and Response, but where you help yourself move beyond your own relentless self doubts.
At its core, bringing your self doubt out into the open where you can examine it, and maybe even calm it, helps you to stop battling with yourself — someone who (by the way) should be your biggest ally. Because if you can’t get yourself on board, how can you possibly lead your board, staff, funders, and partners forward?
Give it a try, befriend your own self doubt. Then let me know how it goes.
And remember, you don’t have to go it alone. And it doesn’t have to be so hard. If you want your social change work to be easier, here are 3 ways I can help:
- Grab a copy of my book Reinventing Social Change to learn how to start moving toward abundance.
- Watch my video training series on moving from scarcity to abundance.
- Schedule a discovery call with me here to see if Strategic Advising is right for you. If you’re intrigued by the idea of having someone in your corner helping you to grow your fundraising, create a more helpful board, or build your confidence as a leader, let’s talk.
Photo Credit: Blake Weyland