Are You Stuck In Self Doubt City? 

Every now and then I take a little detour to Self Doubt City. If you’re a leader, I’m sure you know this interesting place just as well as I do.

It’s where the ‘self talk choir’ belt out high volume phrases like…

“I suck at this…”
“I’m not good enough…”
“What the heck am I doing here…”

Supported by a symphony of feel sorry for myself sighs, judgemental self talk and frustrated frowns.

This week, my check-in time to Self Doubt City has been a bit longer than normal. In fact, the thing about self-doubt is, if you let it, it creeps into all aspects of your life – even your decision-making.

So much so, I even toyed (for a millisecond) giving up writing The Leaders Digest in favour of curling up in the foetal position on a beach in Costa Rica.

Desperate to escape, I tried pushing through it – a bit like working out after a few wines the night before. Yeah, that didn’t go so well.

What to do when you’re stuck in Self Doubt City? I don’t feel like I’ve got the answers yet.  But for what it’s worth, this has helped me.

1. Breathing deeply.

2. Talk to your peeps. Your mentor. Your coach. Your mates.

3. Reflect. What is it that’s making me feel this way?

4. Be kind to yourself. It’s OK to experience self-doubt. Everyone goes through it.

5. Relax. It’s going to be OK.

6. Focus on your strengths. What have you recently done really well? Write them down.

So now it’s over to you – I’d love to hear your tips for getting through periods of self-doubt. How do you do it? What advice can you share? I’m still working through this shaky patch, so I’m really keen and super grateful to hear your comments…thanks guys…


  1. Jen on March 23, 2015 at 11:33 pm

    Hi Suzi. Thanks for sharing. I’ve subscribed to several magazines that resonate with my personal interests – Healthy Food Guide and National Geographic. When I’m feeling a bit down about my skills I pick up the latest issue or one I haven’t read for awhile and try to learn three new things or find three new meals to cook my family. Works well to take my mind off things and then I naturally feel better with new knowledge!

    • Suzi McAlpine on March 24, 2015 at 12:09 am

      These are such simple but awesome antidotes to self doubt Jen, thanks for sharing. I’m gonna try them! Cheers, Suzi

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Suzi McAlpine

Suzi McAlpine is a Leadership Development Specialist and author of the award-winning leadership blog, The Leader’s Digest. She writes and teaches about accomplished leadership, what magic emerges when it’s present, and how to ignite better leadership in individuals, teams and organisations. Suzi has been a leader and senior executive herself, working alongside CEOs and executive teams in a variety of roles. Her experience has included being a head-hunter, an executive coach, and a practice leader for a division at the world’s largest HR consulting firm. Suzi provides a range of services as a Leadership Development Specialist, including executive coaching, leadership workshops and development programmes for CEOs, leadership teams and organisations throughout New Zealand.

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