“Sometimes you don’t realize your own strength until you come face to face with your greatest weakness.”

—Susan Gale. Great #WednesdayWisdom quote from Susan Gale. Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will and is likely your greatest weakness. Doubt can be created by experience, by adversity to risk, or simply by the frames we create. Here’s my take on overcoming doubt ……

The gift of having a rich career filled with many different roles in a number of industries is perspective and vision with a lot of data points. Couple that with robust coaching and mentoring experiences and you see A LOT of best practices and conversely, some significant opportunities for improvement. There can be a number of career limiting demons lurking in the background.

  • For the 30 year old millennial media entrepreneur, the enemy is almost always: time, resources, grit, and doubt, specifically the belief that they can reach their goals living and working from their parent’s basement.
  • For the mid level corporate manager, it’s: experience, network, frame (primarily the job description) and expectations. The fresh memory of a brutal recession always in the back of their mind.

I’ve covered these topics under separate cover in the past but want to take a minute to reiterate a couple points that are critical to our success. There are two areas that absolutely lead to “NOT” (spoiler alert below). I did NOT, I can NOT, I will NOT.

First, some call it the ‘devil’s advocate’ or even ‘critical thinking’ but there is no way to sugar coat it. It is DOUBT, the doubting little voice in the back of your head that can become paralytic. Doubt may be the most destructive and biggest waste of your time and killer of raw talent you encounter in your career. Why? Doubt usually rears it’s ugly head only after we have started a project or initiative or plan. We have already made an investment and commitment of our precious resources and it is doubt that begins to sabotage our success. It’s self fulfilling and reinforces ‘play it safe’ behavior.

Next, once you’ve allowed doubt to dictate the outcome, we begin to set LOW EXPECTATIONS because of a need to be certain or successful. These lower expectations and the need to be certain results in our boundaries, or our frame. We tend to live within our frames and they define our effort and outcome. To change our frame we need to be exposed and most importantly, open to new data points to stretch. The best illustration of this was my personal wake up call thanks to former Marine, George Hood.

See an earlier post on how my frame changed and immediately resulted in greater performance and outcome: Do You Need A New Frame?

To summarize, it is your DOUBT that begins a cyclical and performance limiting process. Doubt, and the lack of faith and belief, leads to failure or lower performance. The result can be a set of lower expectations and a new tighter frame.

Overcoming Doubt:

How can you overcome debilitating doubt? I’ve found two simple concepts to help clients and mentees successfully quell the little voice inside.

  1. Work Backwards. Start with your vision output and work backwards to where you find yourself today. Being able to see the incremental steps, sometimes very small steps, helps break down what can seem to be a monumental task or goal.
  2. Adopt Continuous Improvement As A Lifestyle. Once you embrace failure as an opportunity to improve, your outlook and belief system can completely change. Adopting a forward looking posture that rewards incremental progress can be very liberating!

Finally, there is no better illustration of frames and setting expectations than this insightful post and video from a {LIFE}BUZZ staffer Sheyla. Take a moment to watch this powerful video and post…..

Check out this terrific post from {LIFE}BUZZ:

“Strangers Wrote Their Biggest Regrets….They All Used the Same Three-Letter Word”

see this article and more than 50 other career and talent management articles, posts, blogs, and tips at: Mike McNamara / TalentBlvd

About Mike McNamara:

Mike has held C-Suite, Executive and Senior Sales, Marketing, Business Development, and General Management roles with Cox Enterprises, WW Grainger, and Federal-Mogul Corporation. Mike has led sales, service and operations organizations of over 1,500 associates and accountable for P&L responsibility in excess of $250M.

mmc-on-macDedicated to giving back, Mike formed a Private Group in 2009 with the sole intent of providing pro bono career and business consulting services. Today he coaches a number of high profile media personalities as well as holding advisory board positions guiding a number of multimedia and small business startups.

Mike earned his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University and also holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Michigan State University. He is a past chapter President of the American Marketing Association. Mike and family split time between their adopted state of Missouri and family home in NW Michigan where their philanthropic causes include The Kingdom House – St Louis, BACN in Benzonia, MI., and Samaritan’s Purse, Boone NC.

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