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Negative self-talk. It happens to us all… But what if there was a way to stop it?

This week we had the privilege of hearing from best-selling author, international keynote speaker, and seasoned media commentator Margie Warrell, as she talks about the life-changing power of trusting yourself.

It’s time to defy your doubts… since what you want most is riding on it!

Who do you think you are to do that?

One of these days people will realise you don’t know half as much as they think.

You’re just not that talented. 

Give up. 

Give in. 

Go home. 

I don’t know about you, but I’ve spent much of my life wrestling with negative noises in my head, urging me to think smaller, dial myself down and retreat back to the couch.

Yet having stepped through my doubts many times since leaving my parents small dairy farm in rural Gippsland, Victoria, where I grew up, I’ve learnt that our doubts will sell us short every time… if we let them.

Of course, not all doubts are created equal. Some serve a positive purpose, keeping us from taking stupid risks or doing illogical things that would work against our best interest (like doubting it’s a good idea to swim with crocs… someone did…once. Didn’t end well.)

But given that we live in a culture that feeds on insecurities and fuels our doubts, we have to be extra vigilant to discern between the doubts that are serving us (the ones motivating you to try harder, keep learning or swimming with crocs) from those that are stifling us — keeping us from taking the very actions that would build our confidence and expand our horizons.

Following her show-stopping performance at the Super Bowl, Jennifer Lopez told how she’d been plagued by self-doubt earlier in her career.  What made the difference is what she did with that doubt. “I just kept going. That’s all I did. I just kept going….and it started paying off,” she said in an interview. “But more than that, I started believing I wasn’t an imposter, that I wasn’t a fake, that maybe I am good at this.”

So if Doubt FM is permanently stuck on high volume in your head, continually replaying all the reasons why you can’t or shouldn’t, then take a step back and challenge the story it’s spinning you. Sure, maybe you don’t know exactly what you’re doing. Sure, you might fail. Yes, they might say no. And of course, some people (the ones also stuck living in the shadow of doubt) may think you’ve got ahead of yourself. You might even make a mistake here or there.

But is that any reason not to lean into the butterflies in your belly and take a step toward whatever it is that you want – take that brave action (you know the one!) or have that awkward conversation (yes, that one too) or say Enough! to what keeps pulling you down?

And what new experiences, opportunities, connections and learning do you put at risk if you do?

Here’s my little litmus test to discern if the belief you’ve been buying into is moving you forward or holding you back. Say your doubt out loud. Then do a quick self-audit.

Physically. Do you feel stronger and energised or weaker and tired?

Mentally. Do you feel more focused or overwhelmed?

Emotionally. Do you feel more optimistic and connected or more negative and alone?

Spiritually. Do you feel more on purpose or like you’re just dimming your flame? 

As I wrote in my new book You’ve Got This! The Life-Changing Power of Trusting Yourself :

 “When we let our doubts sit in the driver’s seat, they exact a steep hidden opportunity tax – on our happiness, health, wealth, careers and relationships – that goes beyond anything we can calculate.”

I would never have written my latest book, or frankly, done any of the most worthwhile things I’ve ever done, if I gave my doubts the power to call the shots. And the same is true for you. Letting your doubts win can keep you from doing the very things that would open up all sorts of new doors, and experiencing whatever it is that, in your heart of hearts, you yearn for most.

Vincent van Gogh once said: ‘If you hear a voice within you say “You cannot paint,” then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.’

Most of us live our lives with an internal tug of war between our small-self and our true self. Oftentimes, the voice of fear grows louder than the voice of faith. Yet every time you surrender your power to your doubts, you sell yourself short and deprive the world of who you could be and what you could do.

So what can you do to stop the negative self-talk?

Next time a doubting voice pipes up (give it five minutes), call it out for what it is – your fear, doing what fear is programmed to do – keep you safe. Then make the conscious decision to take action amid your misgiving and despite those fears. After all, the ultimate tragedy in life is to live it so safely, so cautiously, so timidly, that we never really live it at all.

In the long arch of life, it’s by deciding to defy your doubts that you will discover how little reason you had to doubt yourself to begin with.

Go on, be brave. It’s time to defy your doubts. What you want most is riding on it.

Loved this as much as we did here at SWIISH? Get more from Margie below…

Margie Warrell is an international speaker and bestselling author.

Check out her fifth book You’ve Got This! The Life-Changing Power of Trusting Yourself here at margiewarrell.com/YGT. #YouveGotThisBook #YouveGotThis

Or, connect with her on Instagram @MargieWarrell