“When in doubt … don’t.” Maybe it was easy for Ben Franklin to share these winsome words, but did he actually believe them?

Self-doubt is a deep, heartfelt, very real emotion we all struggle with. It brings uncertainty, and then a lack of confidence. It brings into question what you believe to be true. It can literally hold you hostage and keep you from accomplishing even the simplest of tasks. It births procrastination.

We all face self-doubt at one time or another, and we can’t always overcome it simply by saying don’t. It’s not quite as easy as Ben suggests, but there are a few ways you can conquer doubt in your life.

1. Be accountable. Take responsibility, then take charge. Set short-term goals and tasks that will take you to the end result you want. Give them deadlines, to keep you on track. Tell your friends what you’re doing, so they can keep you accountable as well.

2. Get moving. Push yourself to begin. You know what that first step is, and it’s always the hardest one to take. Break down your goal into manageable strides as you move forward. Taking small steps leaves less room for doubt and procrastination.

3. Imagine the worst. What? This seems rather counter-productive, but it can be helpful when you’re facing doubts.  By turning those doubts into fears and then imagining a horrible outcome, you will increase your anxiety, which you can then turn into motivation. The fear of failure becomes stronger than any doubts you may carry.

4. Embrace positive self-talk. Stop dwelling on your negative character traits and focus on those qualities that make you the delightful person you are. Say them out loud. Often. If you find it hard to speak well of yourself, ask someone to help you define your positive virtues, then write them down and read them aloud, at every opportunity.

5. Think differently. Look at your challenges from a different perspective. It doesn’t always have to be outside the box, it can simply be from a different angle. When you find different solutions or create new strategies, you rejuvenate your mind and push aside those feelings of self-doubt.

6. Believe. No matter what happens, never stop believing in yourself. You are awesome! You have a combination of strengths and abilities that no one else has. You have the support of family, friends and associates who believe in you. They want you to succeed.

Don’t let self-doubt sabotage your dreams. You have so much that needs to be done. So many things you need to accomplish. So many people whose lives will become better because of you.

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