Navigating doubt is something that everyone has to go through at some point in their lives. For some of us, doubt is easier to overcome than for others. One thing’s for sure, doubt can be unsettling and even debilitating if you let it take over.
If you’re an ENTJ female, doubt can be especially difficult to deal with. You’re used to being self-confident and driven, and suddenly you’re faced with confusion and a fog of uncertainty.
If this sounds familiar, don't worry - you don't have to put up with feeling this way. Here are 8 tips for navigating doubt that you can use right now to help you move forward.
1. Sit with your feelings
Doubt can often creep up from nowhere and take the wind out of your sails. One week you’re unstoppable and the next week you’re left wondering what you’re doing with your life.
One of the first steps to navigating doubt is to stop and sit with those feelings. Doubt is a natural part of everyone’s experience so if you can let yourself acknowledge it and appreciate it, you can find a way to address it.
Journalling or doing a simple, purposeful activity like cleaning, drawing or completing a puzzle can be really helpful in these instances to help you cut out the noise and tune into your thoughts, helping you recognize what you’re feeling and why.
2. Get to the heart of the issue
If you’re navigating doubt, you need to start digging to get to the source of the doubt. What in your life is causing these feelings? Where did they originate? What has this environment, person or challenge triggered in you to make you feel like this?
For an ENTJ female, this type of self-analysis can be difficult, but it can also be cathartic. If you can get to the heart of the issue, you can start to free yourself from that doubt one step at a time.
3. Acknowledge external stressors
Often, doubt doesn’t come from inside but from outside. There are many different reasons that someone feels doubt, ranging from toxic relationships to institutional racism, sexism and more. Doubt can come from different places and it can bear down on you from all sides.
Navigating doubt includes acknowledging those sources and taking steps to minimize their impact as much as you can by surrounding yourself with people who support you and believe in you, not bring you down and belittle you.
For example, if you’re aware of an authority figure like a teacher, manager or advisor creating doubt in your mind, try to seek advice from another person whom you respect and admire instead. Sometimes just getting another perspective can be all you need to minimize doubt in your mind.
4. Recognize doubt as a part of life
Everyone experiences doubt at some point in their lives. Doubt is a natural part of life. There’s always going to be someone saying you’re too young, too inexperienced, or not ready to do that thing you’re about to do. A huge part of navigating doubt is acknowledging its presence and then ignoring it.
While this is easier said than done, remind yourself that doubt doesn’t serve you as an emotion. It’s a waste of your energy. You can’t control what’s happening, but you can control how you respond to what’s happening. Put that doubt in a far corner of your mind and keep going.
5. Be realistic about your doubt
There’s a big difference between realistic and unrealistic doubt. Sometimes, doubt comes as a natural result of biting off more than you can chew - it’s a warning light in your head that tells you “ok you might struggle with this!”
Other times, doubt is completely unrealistic and unhelpful. This is the type of doubt to ignore.
To tell the difference between the two, ask yourself:
- Have I done something similar to this before?
- Have I successfully achieved something similarly challenging, unnerving or stretching?
- Do I realistically have the knowledge/skills/resources or whatever I need to complete this thing?
If you answered yes, you can safely say that your doubt is unrealistic. You’ve tackled challenges like this one before so you can do it again no problem.
6. Write down what you want
Now it’s time to start reframing the issue - you’re doubting yourself, now what? What are you going to do about it? What do you want?
This is the part that any ENTJ female will excel at. ENTJs excel at goal-setting and this process is no different.
Try this exercise to help:
- Open up a blank page in a notebook
- Write the phrase “What I really want is…”
- Fill one page with the answer
- Repeat every day as needed
If you can be clear about what you want, you can make it easier to move past the doubt and focus on your goals instead.
7. Figure out a plan
Now that you have your goals, you can start to formulate a plan that will help you get there. Thankfully, strategizing is another skill that ENTJs have in spades. If you’re not feeling prepared for whatever it is that you’re up against, what are you going to do to get prepared? What habits will you put in place to address the source of your doubt?
For instance, if you’re presenting in front of a board of directors and you’re doubting whether or not you’re ready or capable enough to do it, there are habits you can put in place to make sure you are. You can practice your presentation, take a public speaking course, read up on each of the directors and their professional background, read around your topic so you’re ready for questions, and many more steps.
Make a plan for the actions you need to take to minimize doubt as much as possible and get the job done - whatever it is.
8. Share with someone you trust
Navigating doubt is a lot easier if you have other people to lean on. While most ENTJs are super self-reliant, that doesn’t mean you have to do everything alone.
If you’re experiencing doubt, try to find someone you can talk to. Sit down, have a coffee and talk it through. Explain your feelings, where you’re at in your life and what you’re struggling with. If you can be open and honest with someone you trust, they’ll be able to support you. You might even find out that they’re experiencing the same thing or have felt the same way in the past.
While talking to someone can’t magic away your self-doubt, they can help you to feel more confident and even give you strategies to manage and navigate it. A problem shared is a problem halved after all.