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Always trust your gut. It knows what your head hasn’t figured out yet.

Overthinking is the biggest cause of our unhappiness. We have all walked that path or experienced it at some stage of our lives.

So, what makes us second-guess ourselves?

Well, there is a myriad of reasons as to why. It can be from a lack of trust in self, insecurity about one’s decision, a lack of confidence or a repeating cycle of self-doubt.

I don’t know about you, but I have second-guessed myself a good deal of my life. Being the sensitive soul that I am, I have lost count of how many times I have said to myself:

I wonder if that was the right thing to say…

What about if they misinterpreted what I said and took it out of context?

What if I had done this instead? I wonder if I would have had a different response…

And the list goes on. ‘What if’ or ‘what could have been’ are the norm with most of my weeks.

Second-guessing shows up in so many different ways, especially when it comes to making decisions.

A second-guessing mind is known as a false mind

When we allow thoughts and feelings to flow through with no barriers, no ‘buts’ and no restrictions, this is what we call a free-flowing mind. A second-guessing mind is known as a normal human mind, which means that we are getting in the way of our free-flowing mind.

Making a decision can be difficult when there are no alternatives. I get that at times you have to take calculated risks, because not taking risks or acting sometimes can mean you losing the opportunity at hand.

However, my motto is when you can’t make a decision, that is a sure sign to not make one until you feel ready to do so. By putting this into practice, you will find less second-guessing because you had the time to reflect, pause and work through your options.

The way that it works for me is to write a list of pros and cons so it is out of my head and in front of me.

Doubt kills more dreams than failure

Often, I see leaders second-guessing themselves by seeking validation from their external environment, whether they were good enough, smart enough or what others may have thought about them.

You can almost see it in action. Their self-talk or inner dialogue is rambling so loud that it is creating invisible networks that could power a whole city.

The inner dialogue sounds a little like this:

I wonder if they thought I was good enough?

I wonder if I came across smart enough, like I looked like I knew what I was talking about?

I wonder if they like me and if I am going to connect with them?

I wonder if they are going to believe in me and if I am going to convince them that this is a good idea?

One of the most common ones is, ‘I wonder what they are going to think of me?

When you start seeing your own worth, you will find it harder to stay around people who don’t.

Consequently, you won’t care so much about what others think of you.

Your addiction to validation 

One of my astrology teachers once said, ‘seeking external validation is like the sun asking the moon’s permission to shine.’ She further went on by explaining that we all must stop seeking internal peace, love and unity through external validation.

Far too often, individuals focus on receiving validation from family, friends, peers or anyone that they would consider an authority figure.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s okay at times to ask for somebody else’s opinions, thoughts or feelings. It’s when we are continuously asking others what they think before making decisions on important matters.

What might happen is that you don’t receive the right kind of advice or information, which could have quite an impact on your level of confidence, self-esteem or motivations. By doing so, it will have an impact on your own acceptance, belief and confidence.

Seeking validation will keep you trapped

Imagine you are working on a project. You are asking for so much feedback, validation and other people’s opinions to the point where you are constantly changing the presentation of your project just to please others.

This ends up making your project not look nor feel like your project at all. It has lost your brand, your vision and your character altogether.

However, imagine this. If you were to go on by your own feelings of what made you feel right and good about what you were doing, you would then be seeking internal validation, uplifting your worth with this inner knowing that you did an amazing job.

Now, how empowered would you feel right then and there?

This is why it is key not to give your power away to others. You need to have your back. You need your own support and infrastructure. Doing so will make you feel stronger, more successful and more confident.

People can think what they like. Don’t desire their validation.

To read the first piece in this two-part series on the impact of second-guessing and how to build confidence in decision-making, click here.