Everything You Need to Know About Doubt, and How to Conquer It, According to an Expert

As the author of Confidence Creator and the host of the Creating Confidence podcast, Heather Monahan knows a thing or two about overcoming doubt to become her most certain self.

But how exactly did she get to that place? We had the opportunity to ask Heather a few questions about where doubt comes from and we can all work past it. Keep reading to find out if her insights might help you become a stronger and more confident version of yourself.

Sweety High: What makes us doubt ourselves?

Heather Monahan: Doubt can come from many places. It can stem from hearing your inner voice tell you to do something or you wanting to raise your hand and say something, but then holding yourself back and not doing it. Over time your inner voice will become more difficult to hear and you will begin to question if you should speak up or if you should listen to your inner voice.

To get rid of this kind of doubt, the key is to act on your inner voice always. Listen to yourself. You have your answers. Your intuition is right. In order to tap into your intuition, you can journal at night. Write down how you feel when you do different things and are around different people. Over time you'll begin to notice patterns and hear your inner voice, so you can now act on it! That will obliterate doubt.

Another thing that can cause doubt in ourselves is when we're surrounded by others putting us down. Over time that will chip away at your confidence and you'll begin to doubt yourself. It is critical to rid your life of toxic people and things, and surround yourself with people who encourage you and stretch you to grow.

Sometimes the negative voice in our life is our own. If you beat yourself up in your head and call yourself names, you need to begin rewriting this narrative. Use the same methodology advertisers use on you. Repetition and consistency are necessary to create change. Write down a list of things you want to say to yourself and then repeat it eight times a day. When you run this new positive tape in your mind over time, it will begin to change the way you feel about yourself. Try it for 30 days and watch the impact it'll have on you.


(via Unsplash)


SH: How can doubt hold us back?

HM: When you don't believe wholeheartedly in yourself, you won't take risks. You don't share your great ideas for fear that others will not think they're great. You don't take chances, pursuing your dreams, because you doubt it'll work. Doubt is a success killer. Those who doubt themselves usually want to fly under the radar in hopes they don't get noticed to avoid further criticism. Doubt can hold you back at work, in your personal relationships and everything else in between.


SH: What are some of the most common doubts that young women come across?

HM: So many teens and young women doubt that they are good enough and doubt that things will work out for them if they go for more. They doubt they'll get the job, get the guy, or doubt that others will like them. After journaling for years, I realized that I would doubt myself in nearly every situation until someone else would show me they were interested. I wanted to speak at a big conference for years, but never pitched myself until the man running the conference told me I was a great speaker. Then, I suddenly wanted to ask if I could speak at his event.

I can't imagine how many things I held myself back from, waiting for others to tell me I was good enough before I went for something. Don't wait for the invite. Create it yourself. What's the worst that can happen? If you're told no, that's a beautiful thing. For every no that you get, you're getting closer to your yes!

Doubt can come from our internal dialogue, the people we surround ourselves with, hanging on to self-limiting habits or even from social media and traditional media. If you find yourself feeling badly when you look at certain people's feeds, unfollow them. If you Google someone to compare yourself to them, realize that you're giving them your power and no one deserves your power other than you.

Shutterstock: Woman in a coffee shop looking distressed, unsure and doubtful with a mug

(via Shutterstock)


SH: How can we work to conquer our doubts and move forward?

HM: Put yourself first! So often, we want to make others happy so we take action based on their wishes and wants. This is a recipe for disaster. There is no one who will know what the right path is for you besides you. Take steps today to do the things you want. Remember that people will treat you the way you allow them to. Begin to put yourself first and treat yourself like a queen, and others will follow suit.

Practice gratitude daily. It's easy to feel down and get discouraged, but you can literally rewire your thinking by focusing on the good you already have. Write down three things a day you're grateful for, and very quickly you'll begin to attract more positive things into your life.

Surround yourself with those who are confident and are growing.  If you don't have people like that around you today, then begin to follow people like that on social media. Turn your social media feed into an instant pick-me-up each time you flip it on and see all of the fantastic reminders out there to just go bigger.

Unsplash: Court Prather - Two girls celebrating a scenic view of buildings best friends sisters

(via Unsplash)


SH: How can we prevent failures from furthering our self-doubt?

HM: You only fail if you give up. I will never give up on me and you shouldn't give up on you either. This is a choice. It may appear to the world that I've failed at things, but really those were redirections that guided me to a better path. The only way you'll ever really fail is if you quit on you.  


SH: Are there times when doubt can be a good thing?

HM: Of course! Each time I grow and push myself to the next level, doubt begins to creep back in again. This is normal. The more used to this I get, the more I realize it's just a reminder that I'm doing something new, and that I better put in more effort to silence the doubt. I practice, I rehearse, I research, I speak to those who have done the task before, and I search on YouTube for videos regarding the task at hand. The more time and effort you put into you and overcoming your doubt with preparation, the faster you'll silence the doubt and make the move.


Working on getting rid of your own doubt? Click HERE for 15 empowering quotes about confidence to use as captions when your Insta needs a pick-me-up.