This Key points to a clear and present danger. There are probably more problems and ailments caused by this blind spot than by any other issue. Your success and well-being can be seriously hampered by this insidious blind spot and freeing yourself from it can amount to finding a new beginning and giving yourself a second life.
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A Clear and Present Danger
There is an adversary that represents a clear and present danger. It has to make the top of your CIA watch list. It shows up as self-doubt, low self-esteem or insecurity. There is almost nothing more debilitating and dangerous than chronic self-doubt and insecurity. Here is a little inventory of what self-doubt, low self-esteem and insecurity can do to you and to your people:
1. Sap your energy
2. Drain you emotionally
3. Stifle initiatives
4. Dampen creativity
5. Diminish morale
6. Separate you from your strengths and good instincts
7. Produce anxiety
8. Kill collaboration
9. Paralyze action
10. Deplete the immune system and make you susceptible to a variety of health conditions
A wide range of physical and psychological conditions can be traced back to self-doubt and low self-esteem. Major studies have linked the incidence of depression, anxiety, asthma and immune system disorders directly to how a person views themselves and the level of care they take or do not take in areas like exercise, nutrition, sleep, stress relief and cognitive function.
Let’s be clear: there is an important distinction between being unsure in the face of a situation with inherent ambiguity and having self-doubt, insecurity and anxiety. Actually, handling ambiguity effectively and gracefully is a critical competence in today’s rapidly shape-shifting world.
A healthy sense of self-esteem and confidence is pivotal to effectively handle ambiguous situations. When the path forward is unclear you need to be even more centered and poised. You face ongoing change-technology is evolving, the market is undecided, relationships are transforming, your environment is shape-shifting and the outcomes are uncertain. The last thing you need is self-doubt. These situations require your best strengths and talents and your confident and capable responses.
What is the blind spot?
1. Equating uncertainty about outcomes with doubts about self
2. Reacting out of insecurity
3. Personalizing rejection as a value judgment about you
4. Basing your self-esteem on the oscillations of public opinion
5. Forgetting that every big success started with a few small first steps. (Early in their career U2 drew only 9 people to a gig.)
This becomes even more critical when you lead. A leader who is full of self-doubt and low self-esteem creates a paralyzed system. A leader with sound confidence and self-trust is willing to empower and trust other people.
Here is the big secret, the inside scoop: Nobody knows anything for sure about tomorrow. That’s right. All the smart people you see and hear who talk with confidence about what’s going to happen tomorrow don’t really know! This means you are in good company. Yes, some of them have insights, hopes, intentions, projections or even a vision and most of them see the trends, but no one knows for sure. So relax; you are not the only one who doesn’t know.
1. STOP. When you experience repetitive self-doubt and shame the first thing you must do is to stop it immediately. That’s right; stop it right away. Change your thoughts.
2. RE-DIRECT. Take charge; change your thought and change your feeling. Say the following out loud. “I can be confident in the face of uncertainty. I am confident in the face of uncertainty.” Believe in yourself first. Remember, you are your first audience.
3. ACT. Take a positive action. Do something that helps you connect with a sense of meaning and purpose. Help another person in need; focus on contributing value. Confidence is one of the byproducts of consistent and purposeful action.
Now it’s your turn. Be your own leader. Turn the key. Remove self-doubt and step into your greater power.
© Aviv Shahar