How High Achievers Conquer Self-Doubt

self-doubtWe all experience challenges with self-doubt.  However, the high achievers among us have developed a special capacity that allows them to overcome self-doubt and achieve their goals.

Let’s begin by exploring the concept of self-doubt. Self-doubt is a state of uncertainty in which people become immobilized and cannot move forward. Stumped, stymied, frustrated, and blocked are some of the many words clients use to describe the mental state that self-doubt represents. It implies that we are somehow unwilling or unable to act on something or move toward a goal that we are striving to accomplish. We have a destination but are unable to reach it.

How a Coach Can Help With Self-Doubt

So how does one address these roadblocks?  As a coach, I support my clients in two ways:

  • First, I help them to clarify their goals.
  • Next, I encourage their self-belief in what they are capable of accomplishing.

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Willful Blindness

willful blindnessI recently had the luxury of a free morning due to client vacations, so I took some time to watch a portion of the Rupert Murdoch parliamentary hearing on CNN.

After a series of questions posed to Murdoch, a panel member asked him if he was familiar with the concept of willful blindness.

The definition for this term varies, but Margaret Heffernan clarifies it beautifully in her book, Willful Blindness (a great read which I highly recommend).   Heffernan describes her book’s title concept as the following:

An opportunity for knowledge and a responsibility to be informed that is shirked

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The Importance of Shifting Perspectives

shifting perspectivesImagine this scenario… You are at a family gathering and want to take a candid photo. You spot your kids at the pool and need to decide whether to zoom in on your kids or zoom out to capture the entire scene.  What do you do?

I read a terrific article in the Harvard Business Review called Zoom In, Zoom Out. The author, Rosabeth Moss Kanter, relates the importance of the ability to zoom in and out as a key strategic management skill.  Ms. Kanter identifies the difficulties inherent in being stuck in either a too close or a too far out perspective. Being immersed in the details may cause you to miss a key pattern, and focusing too far out may cause you to not examine some small but significant blip.

Flexibility in Focus

The best leaders use the zoom button in both directions. Often, a complex situation will require the ability to zoom both in and out over the course of resolving the issue at hand.  This flexibility in focus is an important skill to develop.

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