Self Doubt and Mission

by Ron on February 7, 2012

Right now is a tough time.  I don’t know if it’s the cold and dark weather of winter in a strange country, but maybe that has something to do with it.  I know there’s more though.  There’s a shadow peering over my shoulder, and it’s the shadow of doubt.  Self doubt.

Why am I here?  What is my purpose?  Did I read the signs right or did I miss something?

Yes, leaders do have bouts of self doubt.  After coaching hundreds of them over the past decade, I know this from experience even though it surprised me the first few times I encountered it.

I even thought about writing a book titled “Confessions of a Poor Leader.”  The premise is that perhaps there are a few people who could learn something from all the mistakes I have made and from my bumbling around.

The truth is that self doubt does come upon you at some time, and for some people it can be a frequent caller.  What do we do about it?  First, don’t give it the cold shoulder.  Receive it as something to pay attention to.

Self doubt can be healthy because it gives you a chance to revisit your real reasons and purpose.  What is your mission after all?  What are you here to do?  Can you make a difference right where you are, even in a small way?  Start with that and do what you can.  As you take action and keep at it, your sense of purpose will grow and self doubt will fade.

I have noticed that self doubt is similar to depression (okay, maybe not clinical depression, but the dark feelings).  A little bit can be good medicine for you occasionally.  Focusing on it, though, tends to perpetuate it.  Do something worth doing.  Pitch in and make a difference, even it it’s a “small”  difference.  We’re poor judges in the short term of the impact of our own actions.  Mission begins with small things done obediently and done well.

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