We all go through moments of self-doubt. Todd Kashdan reminds us that “every emotion is useful. Even the ones we think of as negative […].” As someone who has recently found myself battling against the feeling of self-doubt, I started thinking… where is (or where could) this negative emotion help me? Below are 6 benefits of self-doubt I have been attempting to keep top of mind:

Formalizes Purpose
When the going gets rough, you reevaluate whether it is truly worth it to keep going in that direction.

Prevents Cutting Corners
When you are doubting yourself or your abilities, you typically go back to the basics and follow the rules to make sure you do it right.

Keeps You Safe
It could be physically, financially, or emotionally, but regardless, self-doubt helps you back down from something you are not prepared for.

Connects Your Network
Self-doubt begs for the courage to ask for help from your network.

Fosters Compassion
Experiencing self-doubt provides the opportunity to fuel connection.

Enhances Resilience
The ability to try – even with the presence of self-doubt – strengthens our ability to overcome future difficulties.

And in an ideal world, I would think about the above every time that self-doubt creeped into my mind. But, in my realistic world, what I find is my reflection after I experience self-doubt allows me to consider the above and actually make progress in my development.

My heart and soul lights up every time I have the opportunity to facilitate a transformational experience with a client. I can have the best plan and know I bring the energy and subject matter expertise to the room, yet I am often plagued with self-doubt (“I don’t add enough value” – my most suffocating limiting belief). So what do I do? I go back to the basics. I write up a facilitator guide, spend extra time walking though content, and typically over prepare. That extra level of preparation becomes my safety net. It helps me be ready for anything – because a client saying we are cutting the time short or we have an extra hour does happen! I am most successful in those situations when I reach out to other SME I trust and ask for advice and walk through my plan. It refocuses my heart and mind on my undying purpose – to inspire leaders to make intentional choices – and reminds me of the incredible impact I have the opportunity to have. It challenges me to remember these experiences when I see others struggling and extend the empathy I need in those moments. And, maybe most importantly, after I successfully lead a client experience, I realize my resilience muscle is a little stronger. I was presented with a challenge, I faced it, and I came out thriving. And that is an opportunity to celebrate a personal success!

Where can you use your self-doubt to propel you forward?



Danielle Aaronson

Danielle Aaronson

Danielle’s mission is to inspire leaders to make intentional choices that move them to positive action. She speaks at conferences, management summits, and leadership programs as well as facilitates efforts with executives and senior leaders at organizations seeking to influence their culture. Her mantra, “be the change you wish to see in the world” has allowed her to strive every day to be the best she can be and help others recognize the potential they have to make a positive difference. @deaaronson

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