When self-doubt inevitably creeps into your mind, you could do all the usual stuff to talk yourself up. (You know, journaling, meditating, et cetera.) Or, you could take the brilliant advice of these ten women—our friends, family members and co-workers—on how to keep self-doubt from taking up more space in your brain than it deserves.
Try a power pose
“Honestly I stand in front of the mirror in a Superman power pose and say, ‘you got this.’ And then I make myself think of three things that used to be hard for me or weaknesses that aren’t anymore. I also practice my yoga—especially headstands—because it’s a way for me to see and feel tangible progress toward goals.” -Olivia K.
Start a supportive group chat
“Before my wedding a few months ago I experienced a lot of self-doubt about all the little choices I had to make. My friends’ group chat was honestly such a help to me. Just telling them and then having them all build me up was essential for my sanity.” -Lindsey S.
Say a little prayer
“It's super old-school and pretty uncool sounding, I guess, but truth is when I am feeling like I can't handle something, I say a quick prayer that I be effective so I can help whatever person or entity needs my efforts to be effective. That way, my efforts become less about my pride and more about my performance.” -Dana D.
Create a pump-up playlist
“Sometimes I’m shocked by how much music can change my mind-set. I’m the queen of creating playlists for just about every mood imaginable. The one I always play when I’m experiencing any kind of self-doubt is heavy on Beyoncé, Lizzo and Shakira. A little cliché? Sure is, but it works, so I don’t care how basic it sounds.” -Sarah S.
Think of everything you've already achieved
“I experience self-doubt every single day (sometimes multiple times a day), but it's something I've ‘come to terms’ with. If I'm doubting myself in my personal life, I try to think of all the things that have led up to that point. If I was able to get through all of that, then I can make it a little further. If it pops up at work, I gently remind myself that I was hired for a reason, and if the organization trusts me, f then I should too. And I have zero shame in asking a million questions. And if that still doesn't work, I think of the several tattoos on my forearms that serve as my daily reminders to stay positive.” -Rachel G.
Save positive feedback in one place
“In my email inbox, I have a folder marked 'YGG' (yes, that stands for 'you go, girl'). Whenever I get an email about a great job I’ve done, I file it into that folder. When I’m feeling a little imposter syndrome creeping in, I scroll through some of the emails there to remind myself that I deserve to be where I am.” -Gracie O.
Normalize how you're feeling
“I usually just tell myself it’s totally normal to feel self-doubt, I just can’t let it control my life. Normalizing the feeling keeps it from becoming too overwhelming.” -Caroline M.
Designate a self-doubt buddy
“A few years ago, one of my best friends and I were talking about doubting ourselves, and then and there decided that we’d be each other’s self-doubt buddy. Whenever either of us is feeling unsure, we call or text for positive reinforcement.” -Taylor P.
Be kind to yourself
“It sounds silly, but when I was graduating from college, I had a lot of anxiety. I emailed my friend who graduated ahead of me—and was always full of sage advice—and asked her (in a nutshell) what to do with the panic and self-doubt I was feeling all at once. Her advice? To be kind to myself and not try to figure everything out in an instant. She wrote: ‘The person you are today took more than 15 years to develop—if you need a minute to consider what's next, that's OK and smart.’ I swear, that perspective helped me breathe again. Now, in my adult life, I think of what she typed to me so often, especially in moments when I feel unsure. It's OK to not have all the answers; it's OK to take missteps and feel your way through change and fear. After all, it's just an evolution as I work to be the person I'll be. Again, it sounds silly, but she's the voice in my head in those moments.” -Rachel B.
Sweat out negative feelings
“I do a spin class. The music and the affirmations that the instructors give stay with me when I’m doubting something in my life. My favorite one was a SoulCycle class I did last week—the instructor said that “all choices are beautiful,” and I think I’ve told myself that five times since.” -Allison H.