Amber Olson Rourke is the Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer for Nerium International — an award-winning skincare and wellness solutions company with headquarters in Addison, Texas. Amber is responsible for Nerium’s branding, creative services, communications, public relations, events, digital marketing and social media. Learn more about Amber by viewing her monthly #realchats Facebook LIVE events and her #realchats thought leadership blog.
If I Can Do It…
It’s no secret that I struggled with self-doubt when I started my career. In fact, I’ve written about it before. The truth is, life would have been very different if I had listened to that negative voice in my head. My dreams and goals have always been big, even as a kid, which is why overcoming self-doubt was one of the most important things I could do for my future self. At some point in your life, you may feel that you’re not enough. It’s a crippling feeling. I know. But, after more than a decade as an entrepreneur and businesswoman, I’ve narrowed down six easy-to-follow steps to turn doubt into confidence. Giving up on your dreams or not even trying because of self-doubt and fear is a non-negotiable deal breaker for success. So, let’s get to it!
Step 1: Identify Your Silencers
It’s normal to experience self-doubt but that doesn’t mean it’s OK to let fear define who you are. The truth is that these two emotions can limit your potential. So, first things first, identify the silencer or the nagging voice in your head. It’s essential to identify the unproductive and negative thoughts that make you pause… and not follow through on an idea. Once you pinpoint it, it will be easier to replace the negativity with something more suitable and positive.
Here’s one example from my own life: I’m too young to be taken seriously.
If I had continued to cultivate this mindset, I wouldn’t have made it this far. Instead of taking risks and speaking up, I would have told myself that I’m too young to be taken seriously. Part of becoming a leader others can follow is to push past unproductive and negative thoughts. A fear of failure should never be your reason for not stepping outside of your comfort zone. Remember this quote by Mass Challenge Founder and President Akhil Nigam: “Nothing happens unless you take the initiative to do it.”
Step 2: Replace Silencers with Positive Affirmations
Once you’ve identified your silencers, replace the negative self-talk with positive self-talk. In my case, I replaced “I’m too young to be taken seriously” with “I’m deserving of respect because I’m creative, intelligent, and a hard worker.” Train your brain to replace the negative with the positive.
TIP: Not sure where to start? These 35 affirmations, published in the Huffington Post, will change your life!
Step 3: Embrace the critics
Here’s something I always say: The more successful you are, the more critics you’ll have. If you’re unable to handle criticism or want to avoid criticism at all cost, then I’m sorry to tell you, but achieving success in a big way is not likely for you. Many people are fearful of what others think (it’s normal!), but only you have the power when you make the decision to not give up. One of my favorite quotes goes something like this: “There are no statutes built for critics. Be OK that it’s going to happen and let it not define you.”
Step 4: Put Facts on Paper
I’m not sure people realize how many decisions are made based on emotion instead of fact. When confronted with an issue, write down all the facts, study the facts, and based on these facts alone make your decision. Learn to control your emotions. This way your argument will be based on the hard facts only! Having that certainty is an immediate boost to your self-confidence.
Step 5: Challenge Yourself
Push yourself to do the things you’re scared of. More often than not, you’ll realize that it wasn’t that scary after all. Fear builds upon itself, which is why I live by this rule: if I haven’t done anything that scares me in the past 90 days, I’m not growing. The reality is that great leaders are lifelong learners. They’re always seeking new opportunities to learn from; what’s more, consistently challenging yourself cultivates a culture and mindset of growth and productivity. These are two traits you’ll need to take your life to the next level.
Step 6: Make Your Dreams Bigger than Your Fears
My 2-year-old daughter, Hattie, LOVES her Dr. Seuss books. One of our favorites to read together is Oh, the Places You’ll Go! And, you know, even though it’s a beloved children’s book, I always get stuck on one specific line:
“You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”
Think about this: Where do want to go and why do you want to get there? Your dreams should be big. Considering how much energy, work, and courage it takes to get over a fear, you’ll want to make sure your dream is worth it.
These steps have helped me immensely in the past and I can only hope it will work for you. Here’s how we can continue the conversation — if you feel something wasn’t covered in this blog post or the March #realchats Live event (find the replay on Facebook @AOlsonRourke), comment below and I will address it in our monthly #realchats recap recording which will be posted later this month. In the meantime, never forget: “Today is your day. You’re off to great places! You’re off and away!” Believe in yourself.