Do you ever doubt your choices or your abilities? Do you often talk yourself out of things you want to do? Would you like to feel more confident in going after your dreams and creating your ultimate life?
If you answered yes to any of the above, then this post could change your life.
Trusting yourself means believing in your ability to make good decisions, handle challenges, and accomplish your goals. It’s what gives you the courage and confidence to expand your comfort zone, take risks, and try new things. And it’s a key mindset that sets highly successful people apart from everybody else.
When you have a high degree of self-trust, you can stop doubting yourself. You will no longer feel like holding back from pursuing the things you want to experience and achieve.
But without self-trust, you miss out on all kinds of opportunities.
UC Berkeley leadership professor, Don A. Moore, Ph.D., wrote, “The cost of underconfidence is the opportunity cost of adventures not undertaken, delights undiscovered, the life unlived.”
4 Telltale Signs You Lack Self-Trust
How do you know if you’re lacking trust in yourself?
If you second-guess every decision, stop yourself from taking action on your dreams, or find reasons why you can’t achieve what you want, there’s a good chance you’re suffering from low self-trust.
If you doubt yourself and your abilities, you might recognize these four signs in yourself.
1. You Second-Guess Yourself
Have you ever found someone attractive, but hesitated to approach them out of fear of rejection or embarrassment?
Do you have business ideas which you think could not only make money, but could help people, as well, but you never act on them?
Do you have trouble making simple decisions like, “Hey, what do I want to have for dinner?”
If you have difficulty making decisions, taking action on your ideas, or knowing what you want, even though you have all the skills and information you need, you’re not trusting yourself.
2. You Have A Fear Of Failure
Every time you want to try something new, do you talk yourself out of it with “what if…?” thoughts or nightmare scenarios about why it won’t work?
“I want to open a restaurant.”
“But what if nobody comes? Or what if they do come, and I can’t keep up with the work?”
“My favorite theater company is having open auditions. I should give it a shot!”
“Oh, who am I kidding? I could never get up on stage.”
“Wow, I’d love to go to India.”
“I can’t afford that. Anyway, I’d probably get dysentery or some other horrible disease.”
There are always things that could go wrong. But if those are always the first or strongest thoughts in your mind when you want to do something, it means you don’t trust your ability to handle challenges, grow as a person, or learn from any setbacks.
3. You Dwell On Past Failures
Do you keep thinking about things that have gone wrong in the past? Do you see these mistakes as proof that you’re a hopeless failure rather than as learning experiences?
If Michael Jordan had given up after getting cut from his high school basketball team, he would have deprived the world of one of its most loved and admired athletic heroes of all time.
And if I had hung onto all the struggles and failures I endured early in my career, I would never have built one of the largest training companies in the world… and you wouldn’t be getting the benefit of reading this article.
Failure is part of growing. If you trust yourself, you can celebrate your failures, because they mean you attempted something BIG! You can use them as motivation to do better the next time. But without self-trust, failure becomes proof of your inability to achieve what you want.
4. You Compare Your Current Reality To Your Goal
Do you judge yourself for being far from your ultimate goal instead of focusing on what you can achieve now or celebrating what you’ve already accomplished?
It’s wonderful to have big goals, but they can be motivating or discouraging, depending on how you look at them.
If you don’t trust yourself to go through the process of achieving your goals, you may never succeed. It’s like trying to jump ahead to winning the Super Bowl, instead of the scrimmage you’re actually playing today… or even successfully completing the play you’re running right now.
When you compare yourself to your ideal, you always come up short and feel bad about it.
These patterns point to a lack of trust in yourself. Business psychology expert Peter Shallard sums it up: “If you spend a lot of time regretting things you’ve done or decisions you’ve made, you don’t trust yourself. If you beat yourself up, if you think you’re not doing good enough, or if you constantly feel like you’ve got underutilized potential then you don’t trust yourself.”
If trust is an issue for you, it could be costing you in ways you might not have even considered.
What Happens When You Don’t Trust Yourself
Low self-esteem and lack of trust in yourself can have a major impact on your life. If you have these issues, you must become motivated to do something about them.
I struggled for years before I achieved any success. Each failure withered away my trust in myself a little bit more until I used up all my resources… and had to move back in with my parents! I had to hit an extreme low before I was able to turn my life around, and I don’t want that for you.
So pay attention here. What happens when you let self-doubt persist?
1. No Commitment, No Results
You waffle back and forth, doubt yourself, and never freakin’ commit to a single course of action. Others might see you as unreliable or untrustworthy.
Success takes time and focus, but if you don’t trust that you’ve chosen a good path, you get distracted or keep looking for an exit. So you run around all over the place but never get anywhere.
2. Downward Spirals
I know this situation all too well from my own experience – lack of self-trust leads to even deeper lack of self-trust. It’s easy to get into a cycle of increasing stress and decreasing confidence that takes you further and further away from happiness and fulfillment. If you don’t interrupt this pattern, you’re in for a lot of struggle and grief.
3. Lack of Fulfillment
If you’re always denying what you know or doubting what you want, you’ll never create a life that really fits you and feels good. You’ll watch other people accomplishing great things, or just living their passion, and you’ll wonder what’s wrong with you.
4. Never Actualize Your Potential
Lack of trust in yourself makes you drain your energy and creativity. If you don’t let yourself go after what you really want to do, you achieve (at most) a fraction of your true potential.
5. Doormat Syndrome
Not trusting yourself can become dangerous when other people see they can walk all over you and get away with it. Without trust in yourself, it’s hard to stand up for yourself. You make excuses for other people’s poor behavior and deny the damage it does to you.
How many people have “left the corporate world” to pursue their true passion only after hitting a wall in terms of stress, health, or emotional well-being? A lot. Meanwhile, you’ve got boldpeople like Steve Jobs or Lady Gaga who went after what they wanted wholeheartedly and achieved incredible success at a very young age.
Is this sinking in yet? Your life is literally on the line here.
Sure, you can survive by playing it safe and doubting every freakin’ idea or desire you have. But you won’t really live. Make sense?
How Trusting Yourself Boosts Your Success
So now let’s turn this ship around and take a look at how self-trust helps you create true success and happiness. It starts with a small step forward.
Just like wallowing in self-doubt traps you in a cycle of frustration and disappointment, each conscious act of self-trust builds the muscle of confidence. This gives you energy to take action, solve problems, overcome obstacles, get back up when you fall down, and create all the wonderful things you want in your life.
For example, Bill Gates became the youngest billionaire in history. But before Microsoft, his first business completely flopped.
Rather than looking at that as proof that he couldn’t trust himself, he threw himself into new projects and took bold action to win contracts, grow his business, and dominate an entire industry for years.
Danielle Steele is another great example. She’s one of the most prolific and successful writers of all time. She hasn’t always gotten the respect she deserves, but she’s never let that stop her.
“I grew up in Europe, where it was not considered polite for a woman to be working, and I was married to two different men who did not like that I worked,” she says.
But her passion was unstoppable. She used to write at night when her nine children were asleep, and she continues to spend long hours at the typewriter every day. “I had this drive to write the stories that came to me—and to conquer them. It came from the gut, not from the cash register.”
Of course, with 179 popular books currently under her belt and more always on the way, her cash register is always overflowing… along with her passion and creativity.
Trusting yourself may not lead you to become mega-wealthy like these icons (and that might not even be what you want), but it will put you on the path toward achieving whatever is most meaningful to you.
How To Build Trust in Yourself
Okay, so now that you know how important trusting yourself is, of course, the question becomes, “Well, how do I stop doubting myself and develop self-trust?”
I’ve got some suggestions for you, and then I’ll tell you how you can take this a step further.
1. Stop caring so much about what other people think
Anytime you try to grow and do something different, you’ll encounter naysayers and critics. Sometimes they can have valid feedback, but often they just have a limited view of you or the world. These people don’t recognize the potential you feel in your heart.
Walt Disney ran into the same problem with critics when creating Disneyland, the famous theme park. For well over half a century, it’s been a fixture in popular culture. He followed this success with Walt Disney World, the most popular vacation resort on the planet.
But if Walt Disney had listened to all the people who thought he was nuts to even think of building a theme park, these amazing places that bring joy to millions every year wouldn’t exist.
Affirm that you can make good decisions for yourself regardless of what anybody else thinks.
2. Get rid of “I can’t”
“I can’t” is the epitome of self-doubt. It’s not to say that there aren’t things you simply cannot do, but most people greatly underestimate their true capabilities.
Practice replacing any thoughts of “I can’t” with “I am more than capable.” Write it down 10,000 times if you have to. Your creativity and resourcefulness will skyrocket, and you’ll be much more resilient toward any challenges that come up.
3. Be a Spiritual Warrior
My definition of a warrior is “one who conquers oneself.” This means you don’t let your overprotective mind run your life. It means you’re willing to take risks and make mistakes. It also means you’re committed enough to your goals and dreams that you become whatever you have to be… and do whatever you have to do to succeed.
4. Take action
Don’t wait for confidence before you do what you want to do. Confidence comes from doing and succeeding. So take the first step toward your goals and practice consistently until you succeed… until it becomes impossible to think you could fail. Then move on to the next challenge.
5. Keep a success journal
You’re always building and reinforcing habits of one kind or another. The only question is, which habits are you going to build – supportive ones or destructive ones?
Keeping a success journal reinforces your successes in your mind so you build more self-trust. This is backed by the latest neuroscience of self-trust, which says that, “When it comes to trusting ourselves, we need to have retrievable memory of experiences where we were able to rely on ourselves to handle a difficult situation.”
Self-trust and self-doubt both come from your mind, which works to protect you and keep you alive. It does NOT necessarily work towards your happiness or fulfillment. So it always tries to show you any possible dangers and keep you safe.
Trusting yourself doesn’t mean you throw all caution to the wind and ignore important warning signs. But it does mean you can consciously evaluate the alerts coming from your mind and determine which thoughts are legitimate and which can be overlooked because of your own natural abilities and knowledge.
Take your self-trust one step at a time. Go for small wins and show yourself you can do and be more than you thought.
Developing trust in yourself is like building a muscle – you wouldn’t walk into a gym on day one with no weightlifting experience and deadlift 300 lbs. You’d want to set yourself up for success by learning the proper technique and maybe starting with just the bar.
Final Thoughts On Self-Trust
Trusting yourself comes down to understanding how your mind works and mastering it. Figuring this out – and helping others understand it as well – has been the great work of my life.
I hope you will use the concepts from this article to start building your self-trust muscle. And if you’d like to dive deeper with me into discovering how to take control of your mind, develop self-trust, and become a powerful spiritual warrior, I’ve got something you’re going to love.