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Sometimes self-doubt comes from nowhere, other times it lingers like a bad smell, threatening to overshadow all the good things you are doing. It can rock your self-belief, disable your creative thinking and cripple your productivity.

Here are three simple steps you can take to get rid of the negativity and stay productive:


Often when faced with a nagging self-doubt, the instinct is to ignore it and battle on gamely towards your goal or succumb to being sabotaged which then accentuates the chances of a poor or hesitant performance and outcome.

However, an alternative and more positive approach is to recognise and acknowledge your self-doubt as your mind’s attempt to protect yourself from danger or failure by questioning your motives or capability.

If you can actively recognise and acknowledge the potential self-sabotage, you can then objectively move on to understand its context. Is your inner fear just constructing mental obstacles and your mind toying with you or is your self-doubt being expressed for a good and logical reason? Sometimes, your instinct not to do something is a warning that you should heed.

You can process what your mind is saying as if it were advice or feedback from someone else and then logically make a decision on that basis. By facing this problem head on and making a logical decision you can get away from being automatically sabotaged by your own mindset.


When you have self-doubt, you need to prove to yourself that you are good enough, smart enough or capable enough to make this situation happen and then get it done.

So you do need to develop a mindset that is positive rather than negative – one that hears yourself complaining and being negative and overrules it so you don’t automatically succumb to its message that you can’t, that you’re not good enough or you will fail.

You want to get yourself to a position where you are in equilibrium and can pause and think logically about the message you are being given.

Make a decision on whether you should be listening to this “advice” from your self-doubt because it makes sense OR disregard it and then proceed with renewed positivity, confidence and self-belief. In this case, you are proving yourself right.


One of the ways to reduce or remove your self-doubt altogether is through becoming productive. If, every day, you can successfully achieve, to varying degrees, your goals and targets then you slowly and surely build your inner self-belief. Your mind doesn’t try to second-guess or protect you because it ‘knows’ that today and tomorrow and the next day you will make things happen. Your self-doubt will recede.

In my first ever real job my “boss”, had a phrase “get up, dress up and show up” meaning whatever physical or mental state you were in Monday-Friday it was your responsibility to show up for work and do your best. I never gave in to ‘Mondayitis’ or took sick days through a crisis of confidence or self-doubt. Most days I was productive and some days I wasn’t but I developed a habit of being productive.

My self-doubt didn’t disappear altogether but it receded to be replaced for the most part by self-belief.

So, what is a productivity habit? Well, it is the daily routine that makes you as productive as possible, day in day out, and likely covers when you get up and what you do in the first few hours, how much time you allocate to work, sleep and personal time and then in the context of work, how you prioritize time spent on the most important things and don’t allow yourself to become distracted or diverted by internal distractions (eg self-doubt) or external distractions (which are often technology related).

It will become routine for you to be productive and through your productivity, you will prove your self-doubt wrong and your self-belief right.

Also celebrate your successes – if only with a fist pump or an extra cup of coffee.

Using the MTQ48 4C’s mental toughness framework helps you overcome your self-doubt through developing your Control and Confidence (self-efficacy and self-belief), extending your personal capacity to perform (Challenge) and creating a productivity routine (Commitment).