Those moments of praise when others say how well you’ve done; how funny you are; how great you look are little bits of precious that deserve to be hugged close. They remind you of your talents, successes and achievements.
Unless you have a strong Doubting Twin. Praise is enough to send her off on a rant of gargantuan proportions:
o Don’t let it go to your head – tomorrow you’ll probably get it all wrong
o They don’t really mean it, they’re just being polite
o They just feel sorry for you, so don’t get taken in
The DT is a tough old bird. She looks for every opportunity to take you down. Her intention was good, once upon a time. But now she is so much in the habit that she’s forgotten what her job was.
In the old days, her job was to keep you safe; to stop you getting in over your head or being put down; a useful voice of caution in the confusion of growing up. Used to having the upper hand, she still struggles to step back and let you shine – or learn from your mistakes.
Caroline got fed up of managing her DT, so made a study of the men around her. A big difference she noted was that they believed their own press. When there is evidence of success or improvement, they accept it and let it encourage them. So she decided to do the same.
A time of unemployment knocked her off course for a while. The job market was really tough and she believed the rhetoric of the DT – ‘you’re no good; unemployable; too old; no one will want you’. Nonetheless Caroline persisted. Once she got a job and the evidence of success was piling up in front of her, she went from strength to strength.
“I see men assuming they are good and putting themselves in the frame, while women tend not to go for what they want. I made a decision to go for everything, even if I wasn’t sure I could do it all. After all, if there is nothing new to learn, I’d be bored”
It’s a big shift to make from DT to confidence and one that needs support. For Caroline it came from an interesting direction – her mother in law. A strong woman from a very different era, she provided a useful role model. Of an age where her confidence came from the success of her husband, she took real pride in her job – of creating and maintaining a solid base for him to come home to. In this area the DT was given no airspace – expert in her role as loving wife, she was comfortable with her decisions.
Even though she is now alone, she’s still going strong. A listening ear for Caroline, she encourages, supports and validates. With the perfect antidote to an over zealous Doubting Twin, Caroline’s confidence is creating a wonderful virtuous circle.
So give it a go:
- Look out for your role models – how do they manage self doubt?
- Review the evidence in front of your eyes – what is the world telling you about your success and failures?
- Try believing your own press – just for one day – and see what happens. How does it make you feel and what happens to your DT? If she starts wading in, reassure her that you know what you’re doing, then take a deep breath and carry on.