How to Quiet Doubt With Ice Cream

When you start a new venture, I promise you, there will come a day when a voice emerges.

Some days it will be quiet, sometimes moderate, other times blaring in your ear all day long.  It won’t shut up. It will be so incredibly loud you wish you could drown it out, but you can’t, and you succumb.

It will be the voice of doubt, and nobody is immune to its siren song.

Doubt is a character trait of our humanity. It means we have the ability to weight our choices, and question them, making sure we are heading a direction that feels right to us. Doubt would have saved many a teenager in the Friday the 13th movie series.

No, Amanda, tying your shoelace alone in the woods is NOT smart decision.  You should doubt the wisdom in this decision!  *insert screechy slasher music*

Is doubt a reflex when we touch something that is too hot, or is brought into being from insecurity and anxiety?

There are many catalysts for feeling doubtful:

  • You’re in a new job or career and wondering, was this the right choice?
  • Or, you’ve decided to take a class, is it really going to help my career?
  • It’s the same for relationships, friendship or otherwise, will we be bff’s and go on vacations together?
  • Do I tie my shoelace here on my own, in the dark, or keep running away from the guy with the machete?

In all of these scenarios we insert a certain amount of doubt until we have confidence in our ability to trust the situation. The problem is what do we do when the doubt get so loud it drowns out everything else?  By letting doubt be the star voice in your head, it can start to erode our confidence and our ability to focus on actionable tasks that keep us moving forward.

How do we quiet that inner voice so we can get back to being productive?

  1. Question yourself
    • What is happening right now that you’re not feeling confident? Has something happened personally that is impacting you? Outside influences can take an emotional toll on our ability to manage the rest of our lives.  This projection can influence decisions and lead us to question ourselves when we normally wouldn’t.

  2. Go do something
    • Take a break from what you’re doing. Find something you enjoy, from going for a walk, working out, eating ice cream, going for coffee with a friend. Take a moment to decrease your cognitive dissonance by separating yourself from the situation influencing it.

  3. Let it go
    • It’s OK to not always be “ON”, you can turn that switch to off, and not feel that you have to do something every waking hour. The world will keep going, and you may miss something, but that is also OK. Being in the moment is not nearly as important as taking care of yourself.
  4. Sleep on it
    • We are emotional beings, our bodies are filled with amazing things that keep us  moving and working every single day. Sometimes these miracles of sciences can mess with our amygdala, the emotion centers of our brain. Give yourself a day, and sleep on it. Re-assess when you wake.

If none of these steps work, talk to a friend, or use that network you’re working on building. Perhaps, you aren’t heading in the right direction, and you’re trying to force something that shouldn’t happen. Whatever way you decide, I would caution you against making a brash decision, hold yourself to a higher standard instead.

Doubt can create emotional fragility and a need to feel comforted, and sometimes giving up is the easiest. I will tell you this though, the best things in life require effort, and perseverance, and you keep going even on the crappiest of days when you are full of doubt. Try the four steps above, and I promise that they will give you a way forward when the voice of doubt would tell you otherwise.

Now, I’m off to eat ice cream while watching Friday the 13th.

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