Overcoming Self-Doubt

It’s easy to let thoughts of self-doubt cloud your thinking.

“What if I mess up? What if my work is not good enough? What if I can’t?”

We all lack confidence in ourselves sometimes and that’s completely normal. Even a little bit of self-doubt can be detrimental to whatever you’re doing. As a student-athlete, I can attest to many moments of doubting my abilities in the classroom or on the pool deck. With those experiences, I have learned a few tricks to boost myself back up and restore my self-confidence.

Positive self-talk

My go-to phrase is “speak to yourself how you would speak to others.” If you’re feeling overwhelmed with negative thoughts, think about if you were to say those things to your best friend or your coworkers. Most likely, you would probably never say those things. So why are you saying those things to yourself? It is definitely easier said than done but try practicing switching your negative thoughts into positives. Instead of saying “I can’t…” say “I can” or “I am not..” say “I am.” With enough practice, it will be easier to fight off self-doubt in the future.

Spend time with supportive people

Motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said that we are an average of the five people we spend the most time with. When it comes to relationships with others, I feel we are greatly influenced by our closest friends and family members. So, how can you have confidence in yourself if the people you spend your time with can’t support your individual goals and aspirations? Surround yourself with people that bring out the best in you and enable you to be great. For me, my experiences swimming in high school and swimming at JMU have been completely different because here at JMU I am surrounded by people that care about me and my successes as much as I care for theirs.

Celebrate your successes

There is no better feeling than saying “Yes, I did that!” Celebrating your own accomplishments can be a great way to boost your confidence. All of your successes can serve as a good reminder that you are capable of anything you set your mind to. If you’re ever feeling down or unable just remember how you felt in those moments of achievement. No matter how big or small, success is success. So give yourself some credit... you deserve it after all!


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