“That’ll never happen. That’s not even realistic. Who do you even think you are? You don’t have what it takes. You’ll never reach that goal. Good things don’t happen for you. It’s just not possible. Your life needs to be hard. Oh and remember… you’re not enough.”
Any of these thoughts sound familiar?? Does your mind like to feed you sentences like these on a weekly or even a daily basis?
Yeah, mine too.
This particular topic was actually inspired by one of my followers on Instagram. She asked, “How do you overcome your mind when it tells you certain things aren’t possible?” I LOVED this question so much because it’s something I’ve actually been working on myself and it seems to be a common theme for a lot of people in my personal life as well.
So, first of all- I wanted to sum up this question into one word that’s easily understood and relatable to all of us. And the word I decided on was DOUBT. Because that’s essentially what we are experiencing when we are feeling uncertain or demonstrating a lack of confidence in something, right? Something that we want to be possible and achievable but the mind just doesn’t quite believe it yet. And this can be applicable with so many situations in life. Here is a personal example I’ll share that demonstrates this concept really well in my opinion…
Earlier this year, my sister was feeling incredibly inspired and guided to move to New York. So, in April she acted on that feeling, packed up her things and moved to the city that never sleeps! She has dreams of attending one of the top acupuncture schools in the US there. But if you’re at all familiar with New York City, then you know it costs A LOT of $$$ to live there. In my sister’s situation, she’s been given an amazing business opportunity in the medical field that would provide more than enough money for her to live comfortably there AND go to acupuncture school part time. BUT… she is considered an independent contractor, so of course the income she gets will depend on how much business she’s able to generate on her own. Talk about a perfect opportunity for DOUBT to creep in. Her heart knows what’s possible, she can feel it in her bones how successful she could be, she knows she’s got all of the qualifications to be amazing at this job. But… her mind naturally wants to tell her that none of this is possible. That she’s going to fail. That this whole New York thing will not work out. This is where she has two choices… she can either believe her doubt and let her mind take over, OR she can choose to get past it and prove to herself what is possible! We all have these two choices.
So how do we navigate this?? How do we overcome the doubt in our minds and push through it?
In an article written by a man from Harvard Business school, he explains; “All healthy human beings have an inner stream of thoughts and feelings that include criticism, doubt and fear. That’s just our minds doing the job they were designed to do: trying to anticipate and solve problems and avoid potential pitfalls.”
If this statement above is true, then that means that when we have inner thoughts of doubt and fear, we are actually healthy human beings with minds that are just doing what they are meant to do! So, maybe…. the goal shouldn’t be TO OVERCOME the doubt. To overcome it sort of implies that we conquer it and get rid of it. But that’s not the way our minds work. So, maybe instead…. the goal should be to EXPECT the doubt to show up. Expect that no matter how badly you want something or how much you believe in it, you will at some point have that inner stream of thoughts that tell you, “this isn’t possible.” When you expect your mind to do this to you, it makes it much easier to just observe it happening instead of getting entirely wrapped up in it and spiraling from there.
It really takes away so much of the heavy, discouraging feelings when you’re able to just NOTICE and WATCH those doubtful thoughts play out and just say to yourself… “yep, this is just the part where my brain freaks out a little and is going to tell me all the things that I should fear and expect to go wrong. And it’s okay. I know my brain is just doing it’s job. But I’m no longer giving into the doubt. Because I know what’s truly possible. My brain just doesn’t know it yet.”
Here’s the thing- Your mind is ALWAYS going to look for evidence by what is happening in the present and what has happened in the past. And once your mind sees that the evidence it has doesn’t actually match the future you desire or the goal you plan to achieve, it’s going to freak out! It’s going to try to protect you from pitfalls and from emotional discomfort because it is scared and it wants you to act on fear… not faith or confidence.
The mind says things to us like-
“you’ve never lived in New York before and made a successful living here… so it’s just not possible.”
“you’ve never lost 40 lbs before… so it’s just not possible”
“you’ve never had a healthy marriage before… so it’s just not possible”
“you’ve never gone back to finish your degree… so it’s just not possible”
“you’ve never created your own business before… so it’s just not possible”
Many of us get paralyzed simply because we end up believing these things our mind tells us. But the key is to train yourself to rise above it. And my simple advice for doing that would be these 4 steps—
-1st- EXPECT THE DOUBT TO SHOW UP (as I mentioned earlier- super important)
-2nd- EXERCISE YOUR AWARENESS (meaning when the doubt does come and those thoughts flood your mind, just notice it and observe it without any judgement- that means no judging yourself and no judging the thoughts!) Just simply be aware of what your mind is doing and remember that it’s completely normal. You don’t need to make it mean anything else.)
-3rd- NURTURE YOUR BELIEF IN YOURSELF! ( every single day you should visualize what you want and imagine yourself achieving it. Make a strategy of how you’re going to achieve it. Talk to yourself and intentionally think thoughts that will encourage you and push you forward every day! Speak affirmations to yourself! And one of my personal favorites- get a journal and write down what you want to happen, as if it has ALREADY happened. Commit to doing that several times a week. Rachel Hollis preaches this a lot and has had crazy success and personal growth in her life because of it!)
-4th- TAKE ACTION NO MATTER WHAT! (no matter how much your mind tells you to doubt and to think that things aren’t possible, You MUST take action anyway. Taking action builds evidence and results. And remember, evidence is what your brain uses and looks for in order to believe that something is possible! And, whatever you do, try not to hang out in indecision for too long. Not making a decision about something just feeds your doubt and confusion like crazy! I’ve seen this happen in myself plenty of times. And the only way to get better is to practice making decisions quickly and taking action. Otherwise your mind will get in the way and end up draining you, keeping you feeling stuck.
OKAY! If you made it to the end of this post, congratulations! I hope this post gives you some guidance and some new ideas to try! OR I hope that it just confirms things that you already know. ❤ Practicing these steps really can make all the difference!
“Doubt your doubt before you doubt your faith.” -Dieter F Uchtdorf
Have a great week! Love, Morgan