“Doubts, Anyone?”

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I recently spoke with an attorney regarding working with one of his client’s family business’. He described some friction between the family patriarch and his daughter, who was heiress apparent. When I insisted, throughout several preliminary meetings, that I would have to talk with the owner before we proceeded, he told me it was not necessary and he could set everything up.

At that point, I told him I was not the right person for the job,  he became a bit irate and shared  that “you’re not as famous as you think are  probably not that good.”


First off, I’m not famous at all but maybe I’m not as good as I think I am. His comment did  give me pause, at least for a few moments.

Self-doubt is a natural part of the business world. It is a feeling that often creeps up on us when faced with significant decisions, risks, and uncertainties. As an entrepreneur or business professional, doubt can be a constant companion, nagging at us and making us question our abilities and choices.

Doubt doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. From a resilience strategy, we can use this self-skepticism to help us think critically, evaluate our options, and make more informed decisions. It can also push us to work harder and smarter to achieve our goals.

Here are a few ways to use the power of doubt in our business endeavors.

  • Recognize when you are feeling doubt and then name it. There is no more powerful way to deal with feelings than to give it a label.  
  • See doubt as normal and that you’re not alone in feeling it. Seek a support system of trusted colleagues, mentors, or coaches who can offer guidance and perspective when you’re uncertain.
  • Lean into your doubts and explore them more deeply. Ask yourself why you’re feeling doubt and what’s driving those feelings. Are there underlying fears or concerns that need to be addressed? Are there gaps in your knowledge or skills that need to be filled, or as is the case with my story above, is the other person on the wrong side of rationality?
  • Don’t fall victim to the “imposter syndrome,” which leaves us asking ourselves if we are as good or qualified as we might think of ourselves, professionally.
  • We are our own worst and most demanding critics. We hold ourselves to high standards, and we can feel drained if we don’t achieve them. Overcome that habit by identifying wins every day.

Remember, doubt is not the enemy. It’s a natural part of our personal and professional growth and can be harnessed for learning and success. Embrace, explore, and use it to fuel your journey towards achieving your goals.

I appreciated the attorney for questioning my capabilities. It showed me that I made the right decision in not working with him and his client. If he treated me that badly before we started working together, I couldn’t imagine what it would be like if I were working with them.

That little bit of doubting helped me get just a little bit better.

© Richard Citrin 2023

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