Lessons on Fear and Self Doubt with Jen Brown-Sparta Chicks Radio

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Image credit: Wildside Adventure Race

Image credit: Wildside Adventure Race

I can’t pinpoint when I decided to launch a podcast. I first mentioned it on the Sparta Chicks Facebook page 11 months before I launched it. I was thinking about it for months – perhaps even years – before that. I struggled with lots of fear and self-doubt before I finally gathered the courage to press ‘publish’ and launch a podcast dedicated to asking other women about their fear and self-doubt. Oh, the irony!

The lessons I’ve learnt from the experience could fill the pages of a book. Looking back after 60 interviews, there have been several common themes that run through most, if not all, of the conversations I’ve shared:

Learn to quieten your Inner Critic 

That voice inside your head that says you aren’t good / fast / fit / strong / skinny / rich enough. That’s your Inner Critic. I’ve got one too. Her job is to keep us safe. 

After 60 interviews, I’ve realised the most successful and happy people are those who are able to quieten the voice of their Inner Critic. They don’t try to silence it, but rather turn the volume down. Many guests use their past achievements to reassure their Inner Critic “it’s ok – I’ve done that, I can do this”. So find a strategy that helps you turn down the volume of your Inner Critic. 

Self-doubt follows a pattern; find yours 

Base jumper Heather Swan shared that she could ‘cut and paste’ her diary entries from one major jump to the next. Her fear and self-doubt about whether she was ‘good enough’ or whether she had reached her potential was identical every time.

You have patterns like this too. Is there a certain situation, conversation or event that sends you into a spiral of self-doubt? 

Once you recognise it, put strategies in place to help you navigate through the situation the next time around.

No-one feels special, but we all have a story to share 

Many guests have said they don’t feel their story is “anything special” or particularly “inspiring”. I’ve said the same thing too!

Regardless of what you’ve achieved, your story is unique. You have insights and experience others don’t. And there is power in sharing it. And by ‘story’, I don’t mean your training splits or heavily-filtered Instagram pics. I mean the ups and downs, highs and lows, the struggles and the success. 

Sharing your story helps others realise they aren’t alone. Plus you make space in which they can give themselves permission to chase their goals and dreams too. As we say here at Travel Play Live, “she can’t be what she can’t see”. 

Everyone feels like a fraud

Ever felt like a fraud and that everyone is going to find out you have no freaking idea what you’re doing and that you don’t deserve the results or success you’ve had?

That is the Imposter Complex and you are not alone in feeling that way. Every single guest has, on the podcast or in private, confessed to experiencing it at some stage in their life.

The Imposter Complex wins when you slip into inaction, downgrade your goals, over-think or over-analyse. So know what you’re feeling is completely normal – and then keep chasing your goals anyway!

We all fear the same things

It’s easy to assume we don’t have anything in common with Gold medalists, World Record holders or other elite athletes. 

However after 60 interviews, I’ve realised we all fear the same things; what other people think of us, of failing (especially in public), of being embarrassed and sometimes even success.

It’s not that elites athletes and high performers don’t experience these feelings. Instead, they manage their thoughts and feelings so they can keep doing the training and chasing their dreams, in spite of those feelings.

Own your achievements, as a gift to others

We were taught as kids (in my generation!) that “nobody likes a show-off”. Sadly, decades later, many of us are still quick to diminish our achievements.

However one of the most powerful things you can do is to own your achievements. Why? Because it gives others permission to do the same. 

Avoid using words like ‘just’, ‘only’ and ‘but’ to downplay them. Inspired by the podcast, we started a “No Buts’ challenge inside the Sparta Chicks Arena. I’m pretty conscious of the language I use — and I was shocked at how often I do it. Try it – you might be surprised too!

My biggest takeaway from 60 interviews? It’s that confidence is overrated. Instead, achievement, success and happiness is built on thousands of small decisions and actions daily, often in the face of fear and self-doubt. So what action will you take in the face of your fear and self-doubt today? 

Jen Brown is the host of Sparta Chicks Radio and founder of Sparta Chicksand Sparta Chicks Unleashed, a one-day event in the Blue Mountains.

Images: Ben Cirulis

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