The greatest revolution in our generation is that of human beings, who by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives. Marilyn Ferguson
One of the most surprising things to students of my mentoring workshops is my advice to mentor themselves. That the very first and most connection that one must make is the connection with thyself. To know thyself and to understand the improv group you have residing within you. Yeah that crazy group of personalities that counsel you, make fun of you, inspire you, and doubt everything you do. They hold your interests, your passions, your emotions–and your potential.
Some people have a board of directors in their mind running their lives in an orderly consistent fashion. But most of us, including yours truly, have this collection of competing and often conflicting voices in our heads. Chief among them: Ambition, Doubt, and Confidence. A very rough variation of Freud's Id, Ego, and Superego.
Like any capable improv group some of the material works, some gives pause, and some falls flat. And like all improv groups there are compelling personalities. And the voice of Doubt can be the bully.
The bully yells louder and the group falls apart. Because we can be weak and easily succumb to the bully’s powers. Doubt undermines our confidence and therefore our ambition. Doubt breeds the most unfortunate process of settling.
Like most bullies Doubt is strengthened by the weakness of others. Doubt is hungry and greedy and it will eat your confidence for a snack–if you let it. Yes, there are many layers of accumulated experience, self-talk and other people's ideas and expectations that give Doubt its strength and power. But you always have to confront the bully!
You are not good enough. You have never been good enough. No matter what you do, you fall short of what you could and should do.
Confidence is fragile. And the voice of doubt can be brutal.
Top grad students were randomly told they were falling well below expectations without any evidence . 40% agreed with the unfounded criticism. Saying things like: "I know. I never meet expectations." WTF?
We all tiptoe on a very fine line of self confidence that is so delicate.
When you doubt your power, you give power to your doubt. Honore de Balzac
We doubt whether the good times will last and that the law of probability will catch up. In golf, like in life, or even flipping a coin, the "odds" are the same each time you try. But we think that the good is perishable. Our mind lets doubt ruin our momentum.
But we also know that life is not a Chair of Bowlies, as my dyslexic friend says 🙂 Yeah there is sweet fruit but there are always going to be the pits.
It is about moving forward through the challenges. Not in a straight uninterrupted line, but in a spiral upwards propelled by your lessons and failures.
Go from one failure to the next with enthusiasm. Winston Churchill
The easiest way to shut up the bully, the voice of doubt is to shift the mindset. To adopt a perspective that it is not about winning or losing but playing the game.
By the way we need doubt otherwise we are overconfident, obnoxious, unteachable, ego maniacs who live in a mythical world of certainty–the only thing worst than doubt.
Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd. Voltaire
Here are a few tips on how to put the bully of doubt in its place:
Let Doubt Out--Express your doubt see if it flies or dies. Talk about your doubts with others. Get feedback and ideas. Talk to your mentors about whether these doubts are real or imagined. And find strategies to address them. Doubt in captivity festers. Doubt in the open can be tamed.
Build on Your Strengths–Focus and build on what you good at doing. SWiVEL! Great basketball players shoot their way through the slump. Keep honing and practicing. Build your confidence around who you are and what you love doing.