How To Overcome Self-Doubt, Lack Of Motivation and Procrastination

Last Updated: 

May 14, 2024

It's funny. I sat down at my desk today to do a video about how much business owners can pay themselves by way of a salary and dividends here in the UK. It was meant to be a very practical, tactical video. Interestingly, I couldn't hit the record button. I took a deep breath and asked myself to look inside. What on Earth was going on? Why was there so much self-doubt in me? It's not just this morning; I've been experiencing it for a little while.

I felt compelled to put this into a video instead. I'll probably do the other video as well. Maybe this is what I need to galvanise myself, to build up the courage to go ahead and get back onto YouTube and start recording videos regularly again. Who knows? But it's ironic, isn't it? You see the big sign behind me that reads "Fearless." Being fearless should mean coming into the office, hitting record on the camera, and away we go. Uploading that video to YouTube and voila, a successful, prosperous business coach. Yet, I couldn't do it. I just couldn't bring myself to hit the record button. I couldn't bring myself to do that video.

Key Takeaways on Self-Doubt, Motivation and Procrastination:

  • Challenges with Self-Doubt: The author intended to record a practical video but faced internal resistance, revealing a deeper struggle with self-doubt. This resonates with many business owners.
  • The Illusion of Perfection: Despite having all the necessary equipment and experience, internal barriers prevented action. It wasn't about capability, but something deeper.
  • Universal Struggle: Many experienced business owners, including members of the author's group "The Fearless Crew," face sudden and inexplicable lulls in productivity.
  • Success vs. Self-Doubt: Even with notable accomplishments like best-selling books and a successful business, self-doubt still emerges. Success isn't an antidote to feelings of inadequacy.
  • Triggers of Self-Doubt: Comparing oneself to peers and not seeing anticipated results can intensify self-doubt. Sometimes, effort doesn't seem to correlate with rewards, leading to discouragement.
  • The Human Side of Coaching: While the author is a business coach, he's also human. Everyone, regardless of their status, grapples with challenges, emotions, and self-doubt.
  • Overcoming Self-Doubt: Maintaining quality and consistency in content is essential. Celebrating small victories, like completing simple tasks, can help build momentum and combat feelings of inadequacy.
  • Physical Aspects: After contracting COVID-19 and undergoing ankle surgery, the author's journey back to fitness taught perseverance. Sometimes, taking small steps consistently matters more than attempting significant leaps.
  • Congruence in Action: The author aims to align his actions with his identity—whether that's as an author, YouTuber, or blogger. Authenticity and walking the talk are crucial.
  • Invitation for Engagement: Sharing struggles can be therapeutic and can help others facing similar challenges. The author encourages feedback and discussions as a way to reignite motivation.
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How Does Self-Doubt Work?

It's fascinating how self-doubt works. I don't know what it was about. It wasn't procrastination. I know I can do videos. I have the camera, the lighting, the professional microphone. I've put out hundreds of videos over the last few years since setting up Fearless Business and even during my old agency days. So, I know I can do it. It's not a matter of whether I can do it or not. I think there's something deeper going on inside.

This is something many business owners experience all the time. We have 130 members now in The Fearless Crew, which is the group program I run. These are amazing business owners from all sorts of different businesses, ages, backgrounds, and cultures. We've got clients all over the world. As a coach, I invite people to undertake tasks to improve their business, to attract more clients, raise their prices, market, have sales conversations, get speaking engagements, write blog articles, and do all this amazing stuff to promote their businesses. Yet, just like me, many of them struggle. Many of them, very experienced like me, have been doing all of this for years, and then one day, it all just stops.

Acknowledging Your Own Self-Doubt

One of the issues I've struggled with over the last three years, and I don't say this for sympathy, is self-doubt. Maybe this will resonate with some of you. If you've ever experienced self-doubt, pop it in the comments. Tell us about it. There will be someone out there who can potentially help you overcome it.

I've been running Fearless Business for seven years. I've written several books, two of which have been bestsellers worldwide. They might only be Amazon bestsellers, but "Online Business Startup," the red one, has sold about 15,000 copies worldwide over the last nine years. It was a bestseller on Amazon for three and a half years, even going head-to-head with Daniel Priestley's books like "Entre Revolution" and "Key Personal Influence" in the Small Business and Entrepreneurship category. I have credentials, credibility, and authority. I've worked with hundreds of businesses. I've had a six-figure income for the last seven years. I've achieved so much, and yet, sometimes I wake up in the morning and find it hard to hit record on a video. It's not about laziness or not knowing what to say. It feels like someone has control of my hands, stopping me from hitting that record button. It's mentally draining and fatiguing.

What Triggers Self-Doubt?

Maybe it's because I've made hundreds of videos over the last seven years. I've uploaded countless videos to my YouTube channel and shared content in my Facebook groups. I chose to run my business remotely. While I do see some clients one-on-one, most of my business is conducted remotely from my little studio here in Cals. Perhaps I've simply exhausted myself with videos. Maybe I've reached a saturation point.

There's a level of radical honesty I'd like to share. Perhaps my discouragement stems from feeling that I haven't received the results I believe I deserve for all the effort I've invested in this business. I'm aware of the positive impact I've had; I receive emails and messages daily from people expressing how my content has influenced them. It's not so much about financial reward. When I look at the effort I've poured into my YouTube channel, for instance, I see 2,430 subscribers. While I'm grateful for each subscriber and appreciate those who have supported my channel, a part of me can't help but compare.

Is it Normal to Have Self-Doubt?

You might judge me for this, and that's okay. I'm the Fearless business coach, and I'm open to challenges. I see peers in my field, doing similar work, boasting tens or even hundreds of thousands of subscribers. I acknowledge my inconsistency and recognise that I haven't been producing as much quality content recently. However, there was a time when I was churning out a lot of content, but the anticipated rewards didn't materialise. This disparity has affected my motivation. Recording a video, editing it simply, and uploading doesn't require a monumental effort. Yet, I can't help but feel that I should have ten to twenty thousand subscribers. Perhaps these thoughts are selfish, or maybe they're a reflection of my internal struggles.

It's disheartening when you invest so much into a project, expecting it to be well-received, only to face disappointment. I see other authors securing publishing contracts with renowned houses, while I've chosen to self-publish. I've considered pursuing traditional publishing, but my previous endeavours with books have left me weary. I have a book in progress, with around 28,000 to 30,000 words written and about 8,000 words left to complete. Yet, I struggle to muster the energy to finish it.

Does Everyone Have Self-Doubt?

I'm no different from anyone else. Despite being the Fearless business coach, I'm still human. I'm not immune to the challenges, thoughts, and emotions that other business owners face. My approach is to excel in the small tasks every day. I take immense pride in my work, and even if the results aren't immediately visible, I believe in the long-term value of what I produce. My family relies on the income from my business, making my efforts even more significant.

One practice I've found beneficial is to take pride in completing even the simplest tasks daily. For instance, making your bed every day might seem trivial, but doing it well sets a positive tone for the rest of the day. This sense of accomplishment carries over to the next task, and the next, building momentum. Here I am, producing a video. While it's not the video I initially intended to create, I commit to recording that video after this one.

When I challenge others to record videos, produce podcasts, and the like, I sometimes feel incongruent. I think to myself, "You haven't released a podcast or video for a while or written a book recently. Who are you to advise others to do these things?" But I've reaped immense benefits from these activities over the past seven years. Currently, I'm just feeling a bit fatigued and unmotivated. I need to take a break, find some space to re-energise, and then dive back into producing content as I used to.

How to Overcome Self-Doubt?

For me, maintaining a certain quality level in my content is crucial. If I produce something subpar, it bothers me. So, if I record a video, it must meet my standards. The challenge arises when I advocate for these activities, knowing their benefits. If you consistently produce content, like a podcast with 100 episodes or regular YouTube videos, you'll gain subscribers, followers, and clients. Writing books also attracts clients. I know these strategies work, so I remain committed to promoting them to my clients. To be able to develop properly as a business leader, the right learning and development strategy can make a difference. This isn't the only way to ensure that your employees are ahead of the game, but for yourself, too, and it stops that self-doubt from creeping in because you already know you’re doing your utmost.

There's a distinction between Robin White, the business coach, and Robin White, the content creator. If I can motivate and inspire others to elevate their businesses and personal profiles, then that's a win. If I have an off day, that's okay. Over the past two or three years, I've learned not to be overly critical of myself. Many might not realise the internal struggles I've faced during this period. I strive to excel in the small tasks and, when I choose to step up, I aim to add significant value. Especially in high-stakes situations like coaching or speaking, I bring my A-game, giving 110% of myself. As Gary Vaynerchuk says, “I show up with my game face on and deliver as much value as possible.” That's what people pay for, and I cherish being part of that experience. For other tasks, I've learned to be patient and wait for the right moment to engage more deeply.

What to Do When Self-Doubt Shows Up?

If you're experiencing self-doubt, if your motivation has waned, or if you're finding it hard to follow the advice of coaches, mentors, or online gurus, give yourself a break. It's okay to pause and recharge.

Consider this: instead of relentlessly pushing through and risking burnout, it might be more beneficial to take a step back and recharge. When you're burnt out, you're of no use to anyone. Taking a short break can make a significant difference. For instance, I took a holiday last week, and it was rejuvenating. I even had a couple of coaches step in to handle my responsibilities. Such breaks can help you return with the same level of quality and enthusiasm you aspire to maintain.

That's primarily what I wanted to convey. This is partly a personal reflection, but I also recognise that by sharing my experiences, I might resonate with others who are feeling similarly and unsure of how to proceed. Within this video, I've shared a few strategies I employ to manage my self-doubt, inner critic, and fluctuating motivation levels.

Does Self-Doubt Have Physical Symptoms?

Another area I've focused on is my fitness. I contracted COVID-19 in March 2020, which significantly impacted my health. Following that, I had an ankle operation. The journey from complete inactivity post-surgery to regaining my fitness has been challenging. But I've learned a lot about perseverance. For instance, even if I can't fully adhere to my physiotherapist's recommendations, doing a bit consistently is better than doing nothing. My road to recovery has been long. I recall my first bike ride post-operation; I managed only seven miles, a stark contrast to the 40-50 miles I used to cover. But sometimes, starting over is essential.

So, this is my way of re-engaging with YouTube, videos, and speaking more authentically. I aim to be more congruent, aligning my actions with my words. If I claim to be an author, I should be writing books. If I identify as a YouTuber, I should produce videos. If I'm a blogger, I should be blogging. I want to commit to this congruence, especially when advising others. It's crucial to walk the talk.

In conclusion, if any of this resonates with you, please leave a comment below. I'd love to hear from you. Sometimes, simply sharing a problem or having a conversation can reignite your motivation.

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