turn your doubts into stepping stones

Wondering how to turn your doubts into stepping stones?

Today’s post is about how to turn your doubts into stepping stones, and it’s in response to a question left in a previous post by Awesome Reader A.  As I suspect that A. is not the only reader to have this question, I thought I would turn my response into a separate article all on its own.

A.  asks:

How can doubts be used as stepping stones? They seem more like boulders that have to be moved out if the way or exploded with dynamite. Any tips on how to use them as stepping stoned will deeply appreciated!

This is a really good question, particularly in light of the fact that I’ve suggested using doubts and fears as stepping stones to bigger and better things in a number of places. But I’ve never actually gone into details on how you can actually do that, so here goes…

5 Steps to Turn Your Doubts into Stepping Stones

Step 1: Acknowledge the doubt. The first thing to do is to acknowledge the fact that you have the doubt or the fear in the first place. Don’t wallow in it, of course, but acknowledge the fact that it’s there. Write the specific doubt or fear down on paper so you can see it. This helps to externalize the doubt rather than have it continue lurking around in your subconscious, ready to sabotage you when you least expect it.

Most of our doubts and fears are really shadows – they seem bigger and scarier than they really are because they are half-hidden in the shadows of our own minds. Partially seen, partially hidden, but always there and always unsettling. Kind of like the bogeyman in the closet or the monster lurking under a child’s bed. And when you bring the doubts out of your head and onto paper, it has the effect of turning the light on to banish the monster – you can see the shadow for what it really is, rather than the phantom your mind has built it up to be. The doubt is reduced in size and complexity, and the locus of power shifts away from it and back into your own sphere of control.

Never fear shadows for they are proof that there is a light shining somewhere. ~Unknown

Step 2: Get perspective. Now I want you to take a good, hard look at that doubt. And I want you to ask yourself what the worst thing that could happen is, should that doubt or fear actually be realized. Really think about this, and answer the question honestly. Because in almost every single case, the worst possible outcome is never as bad as we think it will be.

If you doubt your ability to succeed in a new career or business venture, what’s the worst that could happen? You lose your income and your house? You’ll find a new job, sooner or later, and in the meantime you might have to ask family or friends for temporary help or shelter. But you would get through it and survive. If you doubt your ability to maintain a romantic relationship, what’s the worst that could happen? You get rejected, you’re heartbroken, and you’ll spend a week hiding in bed with the shades drawn and covers pulled over your head. And then you’ll pull yourself together, move on, and eventually find someone even better. Whatever the worse outcome is, by acknowleding that though and realizing that, no matter what, you will find a way to get through it, the fear immediately loses a lot of its power.

Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother. ~Khalil Gibran

Step 3: Realize that you are not alone. Realize that all of your doubts and fears have also been experienced by others – you are not alone. Most doubts and fears boil down to feeling like you’re not good enough. And this is something that all people deal with from time to time. I guarantee you that even the most super-successful business tycoons and A-list celebrities have these same moments of doubt and fear that you are feeling. But while the most successful people feel the fear, they do not allow it to control them. Acknowledge your fear, but follow your dream anyway.

How do you just ignore your fear and do it anyway? Know what it is that you really want. Devise a strategy and plan and figure out your baby steps. And then do them! Follow your plan and cross off those to-do list items!

Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy. ~Dale Carnegie

Step 4: Be here now. Many of our doubts and fears are caused by us ignoring the present moment and focusing ourselves in either the future or the past. Reliving past failures and traumas only leads to depression. Fearing what might happen in the future only leads to anxiety and panic attacks. Living in the now, the present moment, allows you fully live your life as it is. There is no berating yourself for the perceived mistakes of the past, and no needless worry about dramas that may never even come to pass.

When you find yourself drifting into worry or regret, recognize that you have shifted your focus out of your now, and gently bring your awareness back to the present. Focus yourself on your plan and just do what you can, with what you have, from where you are, and it will always be enough.

If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present. ~Lao Tzu

Step 5: Let it be and let it go. Let go of the doubt and the fear – you don’t need it any more. So I want you to take that paper from step 1, where you wrote down your doubt. Read it over one more time. Then crumple it up and stomp on it, or shred it into tiny pieces or (very carefully and in a safe location and manner) burn it. Destroy that paper, and your fear along with it. Release the fear and the doubt into the hands of the Universe – it’s more than willing and more than capable of handling it for you, so allow it to do so. Let the fear go, and trust that it’s being taken care of.

This step frees you to focus on your successes. Every time something goes right or you make even the smallest progress towards your goal, celebrate it! Focus on the good things and feel the joy and excitement in them! This will pave the way for even greater success to come your way.

The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it. ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Following these five steps will help you to turn your doubts into stepping stones by helping you overcome your fears and build on your successes. As always, never be afraid to ask the Universe for help when you need it. You are loved beyond measure and the Universe always has your back.

photo credit: andreakw via photopin cc
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