A man anxiously pulling at his white t-shirt.

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Everybody struggles with self-doubt. We don’t think we’re the right person for the job; we don’t think we deserved what was given to us; we don’t think we’re capable. But often, that kind of insecurity proves to be the real challenge to ourselves and inhibitor of our accomplishments. So how can we overcome the feeling of inadequacy, and how can we actually turn it into a good thing?

First, remember that sometimes, being insecure might actually help you. If you feel totally brazen and overly-confident, you might miss some of the key indicators that a plan isn’t going to work. You need to be realistic and confident, but not overly so that your confidence becomes a detriment. A little self-doubt can actually make your performance better because you’re more aware, and therefore, better prepared.

Of course, self-doubt can be harmful, too. To help your self-doubt be something that improves your performance rather than detract from it, allow yourself to consider the worst-case scenario. Come up with a plan to deal with that scenario, unlikely as it is to happen.

Think: is that scenario really that bad? Could it ruin everything–or would it? Life is likely to go on, as it always does.

Do your best to focus on what’s happening right now. Thinking something like “I am going to make a fool of myself” just aren’t helpful, difficult though those kinds of thoughts are to banish. So what is in front of you? All you have to give is your best, so remember to give it–and if you don’t, or if something goes wrong, the world will go on.

Messing up is not the end of the world. Repeat this to yourself.

If you can focus your energy on the performance at hand, you’ll do better. If you  feel anxious, take deep breaths, go for a walk (or choose any physical activity–they are perfect for reducing stress). Find some small task to temporarily occupy your mind. Short-term discomfort is something you can get over, but in small quantities, self-doubt may just be that little something you need to go that extra mile.