6 Ways to Conquer Self-Doubt

By Justine Perry (@justine_perry)


I have always worked as a lyricist (writing lyrics for other songwriters) but until recently, I also had another business. In April, I made the decision to close the second business. This was mainly because I wasn’t happy anymore. I also wanted to focus more time on my music related work.


Since making this decision, I’ve experienced severe self-doubt. I wouldn’t say I’ve ever been entirely confident. Self-doubt has always been a lurker. Recently, it’s not so much lurking as clicking its fingers in front of my face. So I’ve had to address the issue.


I’ve found these things helpful when dealing with self-doubt:


  • Go into 'me' mode

Make time for yourself and things you enjoy. This should lift your mood and improve your general happiness. If your self-doubt is mostly about work, time away from work is much needed.


I’m learning French. Focussing on this takes my mind off self-doubt and boosts my confidence. You could also treat yourself, for example do a facemask or paint your nails. If you can, invite your friends. Socialising usually lifts my spirits.


  • Distract attack

Read a book or watch a film. This works for me because I’m immersed in the world of the characters. I’m too distracted for self-doubt to enter my mind. If the self-doubt is crippling, escaping from it, even temporarily, makes life more enjoyable.


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  • Celebrate successes

Sometimes a failure or negative experience fully charges self-doubt. I (over) analyse failures again and again, whilst successes don’t get much headspace. Why is this?


Buy a jar (or use an empty food jar) and cut up strips of paper. Every time you have a success, write this on one of the strips and put it in the jar. When you feel particularly low, look through the jar and remind yourself of all you’ve achieved.


  • The great outdoors

I’ve seen several people recommend this. Whether you go for a run or a leisurely walk, fresh air can clear your mind. Again, why not invite a friend? If you have a dog, there’s no excuse not to. 

  • Meditation

I’ve also seen this widely recommended. A few of my friends have found it helpful. You can use the Headspace and/or Relax apps. Both are free, with paid upgrades available.


Meditation isn’t for me because it makes me sleepy. I used to meditate after walking the dog and getting ready for the day, but I have an energetic dog so anything relaxing after his walk, and I’m lost to the world! I’m thinking of meditating before bed instead. 


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  • Switch off from work

I’m trying not to check emails or social media notifications after a certain time every night. You could also take at least one full day off from these things every week.


Let me know if any of these work for you, or if you have other tips. The most important thing is not to let self-doubt stop you pursuing your goals. Have doubts and do it anyway!


“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.”

~ William Shakespeare

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