Overcoming Doubt and Unleashing Your Talents

“What if?” These two words can be an empowering combination or they can be thefirst step down a path of keeping us locked into limiting patterns. Each day, hundreds of times, we are faced with the opportunity to make choices that lead us toward our dreams or away from them and for far too many of us, the tug of thoughts that tell us we“can’t” or “won’t” are far stronger than those that lead us to our true desires. If you are ready to overcome your doubts, then choose to read on.

There are four keys to moving beyond self-limiting behavior by unleashing your talents and living your best life.

1. Become aware of the choices you are makingin each moment: Just as I mentioned above, deciding to read this article is a choice you are making—and you are making these types of choices constantly. Do you see each person you meet as a chance to make a connection and open up new possibilities? Do you turn events into positives or negatives? Do you allow people to see who you areor do remain distant from others? In everything that comes your way, you have the choice as to how youframe it –become aware of the power of that choice and own it.

2. Notice the difference in how you feel asyou consider the “I can’t” and “I can” voices: In a world where we are often encouraged to move past ouremotions, they are the best barometer of how to get beyond our doubts. When we indulge in the “I can’t,” “it won’t work” and “it never will,” we don’t feel good. Sad, defeated and uninspired we easily spiral downward into a well of self-pity or at least self-defeating behavior—and from that place itis extremely difficult to create a life we want to live. When we allow for the possibility of “I can,” “I will,” or “wouldn’t it be great if” we instantly put ourselves into a better feeling place and the possibility of forward movement becomes concrete.

3. Know who you are and reveal it to everyone inyour life. When I consciouslystepped on the leadership path I recognized that not only did I need to learnwho I was, I needed to be that person all the time. Generally, people have a broad sense of their talents andwhat they enjoy, although too often an authority figure had told us that who weare isn’t good enough or what we love to do isn’t worth pursuing. Overcoming doubts starts with you—andyour belief that who you are, just as you are, is good enough. When you fall in love with all thebeautiful qualities that make you, you, naturally you become more open,outgoing and enthusiastic with everyone. Which brings us to other half of this step, living who we are all the time. There are too many examples of people who bifurcate their lives because they don’t believe that they can be themselves regardless of the situation and it is a prison many people live in. As you get past your doubts about who you are, you will begin finding the people who will accept and enjoythat person, in every area of your life.

4. Live your talents everyday. The people who are the most satisfiedwith their lives and who enjoy the greatest success are those who find a way to do what they love everyday. Just as a person can’t be happy only being themselves part of the time, it is impossible to be fulfilled and not do what you love all the time. This does not mean that you have to do everything you love to do every day—it means becoming mindful of the things you enjoy and ensuring they are a part ofyour daily life. For me, working with people to understand their talents and how to effectively put them intothe world is my passion, some days I practice this with clients, other days I write about it and sometimes it comes through a meaningful conversation with afriend or one of my sons. Each day is different and I am mindful of the opportunities I have to live my talents, regardless of the package it comes in.

Adam Jones said, “I’m my own worst critic,” which means he is human just like the rest of us. It is far easier to believe that we can’t than we can. While it would be nice to think that someone will come along, pick us up and put us on the path to our potential, in my experience the only person who can do that is you. Once you get past your doubts, start walking the path and living your talents is when those wonderful angels will come along to assist you at just the right moment—until then, the first step is up to you.

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Jay Johnson

Most men lead lives of quiet desparation. – Henry David Thoreau Life’s too short to be desparate. We should take action every day to work to our strengths and be the person we know ourselves to be, and your post gives some great tips on how to do that. Thanks

Kitty Wooley

Kathleen, this is great – and T. Jay Johnson’s Thoreau quote also resonates with me. This same set of thoughts running through my head is largely why I started doing these events after work a few years ago. I also started a Twitter self-efficacy list for people who seem to be on this same road. You’re both talking about something really important, that I think holds the key to not only personal happiness, but organizational improvement as well. By the way, also see Deadra Welcome’s GovLoop blog; it’s related. Best wishes.