Let’s talk about something important. Self-Doubt and Second Guessing yourself. I think it’s important that you realize that the two are not the same. One can be destructive and hold you back, while the other is just plain smart. Let me explain.

To second guess yourself can be a very smart thing to do. Sometimes we react or act impulsively and jump in before thinking things through.

For example, let’s say you want to go into business for yourself. Quitting your job and then figuring out what you want to do and how you’ll make enough money to support yourself and your family is a bit impulsive.

It’s good to second guess that decision and instead come up with a more sensible plan of starting your business on the side, saving up some emergency funds, and only then quitting your day job.

Self-doubt on the other hand is a different beast. Let’s go back to the same example. Instead of thinking things through and coming up with a workable solution, self-doubt will keep you from taking any action. You may day dream of one day being your own boss and having your own business.

But, you’re not taking any steps towards reaching that goal because that little voice in your head that’s fueled by doubt tells you that it won’t work and you’ll run out of money to pay for rent, food etc. before you’ll make it.

Heck, you’ll likely won’t make it working for yourself because most small businesses go under in the first few years, so why even bother. That’s self-doubt talking and it doesn’t offer any productive advice.

Do you see the big difference between the two? While both make you stop, one makes you stop to re-examine what you are doing and coming up with a workable, sensible solution, while the other one stops you in your tracks without taking action.

Second-guessing yourself can be a productive move. It can keep you from making a rash decision and getting yourself into trouble. Self-doubt, when you let it, can lead to total inaction and that is never a good thing. Yes, your second guessing may cause you to give up on an idea if you think it won’t work – and that’s a good thing. What it doesn’t do is indiscriminately lead to non-action because of a lack of confidence in yourself and your abilities.

What’s the lesson to take away here? When you start to second guess yourself or are thinking about giving up on an idea, ask yourself if it is self-doubt talking or if you’re simply second guessing yourself to make sure it is in fact a good idea.