Doubt can be healthy. The epidemic of spam calls and emails teaches us to doubt.
But doubt can also be deadly if not managed. For job seekers, it is the elephant in the room.
There is no perfect entrance in life. Doubts will always be there. Every team that starts a sports match has doubts as to whether they will win or not. IF they are behind in the score, even late in the match, they surely have doubts. The record of wins and losses largely confirms the victories, not only over the other team, but over doubt itself.
Doubt can make you downright scared. Especially if you are facing a dark time. There are many stories, such as the iconic famous book/movie, “The Pursuit of Happyness,” where a person was so far down and came back. There is a saying to the tune of, “I was so far down, I could only go up from there.” I don’t agree. You can always go down.
I am sure the icons of our time who have achieved great things, such as Mark Zuckerberg, Amancio Ortega, Stephen Jobs, etc. must have had great doubts at some point. Not just when they started out, but also as the decisions got bigger and bigger.
So how to go forward in life and not let doubt win?
1. Acknowledge doubts. You can’t banish doubt from your thought process. You need to consciously acknowledge doubts and what they are. Anyone who tries to sublimate doubt increases the risk of doubt winning. Doubt feeds on that like a cancer.
2. Know that every opportunity requires risk. There is no doubt about this. There is no free ride to new territory.
3. Recognize the risks. OK, so there are risks. Always. What are they? Get them on the table.
4. Evaluate the risks and be clear on your course. Once you know what the risks are, you can make a decision.
5. Be at peace with “the road not taken”. Frost said it best in his iconic poem of the same name. Go/no go. Left/Right. Both are ok. But only if you owned up to the consequences of the route you chose and don’t look back and regret the one you didn’t.
6. Understand that no battle is won without casualties. Don’t expect the route to roses to be lined with roses. There are the thorns.
So what if you recognized your doubts, you took the risk and it didn’t work? Learn from your experience and move on. I believe every success story has an element of failure. How many failures until success is, well, maybe just luck. Or better still, it is a catalogue of lessons you need to learn to be successful.
I am not the first to say this, nor will I be the last. Managing your doubts, big or small (they can seem SO big sometimes), will help you to avoid the worst situation a human being can be in: frozen by doubts.
This is my personal lesson to share.