5 ways to stop doubting yourself

So this week I want you to think on the following quote:

“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.”

This week we want you to focus on not doing passive but doing passion! 

Being passionate isn’t about being consumed by work alone and losing sight of life outside it. Being passionate isn’t being exhausted by being ‘on’ all the time.  Passion to me is being engaged, intentional and conscious about your work.  It is about knowing your worth and not doubting yourself about what you can do and the type of work you deserve. 


For too long I lived as a self doubter.  And I do not think I am alone with the self doubt self talk. (I am actually a big fan of Melissa Ambrosini, she has a whole book you can read called ‘Mastering your Mean Girl’ if you want to go deeper on this negative self talk).

The above quote spoke to me when I saw it recently as it took me back to an old internal battle I used to constantly fight.  About how often at uni and then at work AND also in my out of work life I would know the answer, I knew the correct solution, but I was afraid of speaking up.  I constantly second guessed my actions.  It drove me mad.  I had the knowledge and resources to do so many things at work and outside but I listened to a little voice that kept telling me I didn’t know how or I couldn’t do it. Essentially ‘who was I to speak up’. 

Needless to say, this sort of talk holds us back significantly.  When we lack self assurance we hold ourselves back from progressing.  We don’t speak up when we should as a patient advocate.  We don’t action clinical decisions in case they are wrong.  We let people treat us less than they should just in case we actually ARE in the wrong. But more often we aren’t. 

I am sorry to say that the solution is not simple.  There is no clicking of fingers here and suddenly our insecurities go away.  It is a steady progression of improving but one worth investing in. 

Below I have compiled my top 5 ways to stop doubting yourself.

1.Don’t get stuck on planning out every minute of your day.

Don’t get me wrong I love being organised. I love using day planners. However when we get too caught up in our planning we can get a little bit upset when something doesn’t get done on your previously set out schedule. 

You may fall into the mindset of ‘now one thing has gone wrong, everything will go wrong’ and lose the flow of your day. It can be a slippery slope from there!

 Continue to plan. But also make sure you are adaptable to the day and be realistic.  Things happen!  Life happens!  No matter how much we try to control the day, we have to accept the unpredictability of our roles as nurses. 

2. When you catch yourself wasting time overthinking, just start on the tasks.

Have you ever fought with yourself in the corridor about what to do next. Eating up precious time?  This type of overthinking can really turn your brain to mush! And take up space for critical thinking. Just starting something is more effective than thinking about starting something.  It will all happen or you can always hand it over.  The beauty of nursing is that someone else is coming!  Thinking about urgent tasks (think time specific or patient safety tasks first.)

3.Don’t get stuck in the comparison trap.

Stop looking at how other people from your intake are going. Comparing yourself to others will have self doubt creeping up before you know it. 

A better idea is to only compare yourself to yourself. How have you improved from one month ago? Six months ago? One year ago? Then you will really notice how far you have come. 

4.Sharpen your skills.

If you are doubting your ability in a certain skill then I have one piece of advice. Do that thing until you don’t doubt it. 

Remember that song line ‘Do one thing every day that scares you’? Well do it! 

I used to dread running up a certain hill on my runs. For a while I used to run a different track so I didn’t have to do it. But did that help? No. So I started to include the hill in EVERY run and now I own the hill! 

Keep doing it until you feel confident and competent in completing that task.

5.Celebrate each small step forward and wins.

When you feel like you are doubting yourself and your ability it is time to celebrate the small steps and the small wins.

Stop and note on a regular basis what you have achieved that week. Keep them on a list in your phone so when you doubt yourself look at the list and smile and remember how great you are. This will then recharge your motivation and keep you taking action. Your self doubt will be pushed aside so you can keep getting those wins, big or small. 

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