Second Thoughts

It is okay to doubt yourself for a moment. The only people who don’t have second thoughts are the ones who have few thoughts in the first place. 

 

Having a doubt in your mind doesn’t mean you’re a doubter. It means you have the mental capacity to re-think something. Many times a second thought will sharpen your decision, not change it. 

 

Second thoughts cause you to ask yourself questions, find alternatives and take the appropriate action. Second thoughts slow us down and give us time to reflect on the decision we just made. Second thoughts can serve a valuable purpose. 

 

But…

 

Second thoughts can also come straight out of fear. Fear of failure, fear of being wrong, fear of upsetting or disappointing someone. Second thoughts born out of fear are almost always a very stressful experience. 

 

Second thoughts sometimes stem from a lack of self-confidence. Those second thoughts are demotivating and cause you to doubt not just your decisions but your abilities, values, and even your relationships with others. Second thoughts based on a lack of confidence in yourself actually feed on themselves and grow every time you experience doubt. 

 

Second thoughts from fear or a confidence issue serve no useful purpose because they cause you to ask the wrong questions. They cause you to question yourself more than the decision you made. These kinds of second thoughts don’t sharpen a decision or even change a decision, they simply delay it or eliminate the decision completely. 

 

So when you’re having second thoughts you need to determine the source of that doubt. If it’s coming from fear then remember that the only place that fear exists is in our minds. Fear can not make a home in your head unless you allow it. The fastest and most effective way to deal with fear is to take action. Do the thing you fear the most and fear will no longer have control over you. 

 

If your second thoughts are coming from a lack of self-confidence then you need to remind yourself of all your past successes. If you’ve succeeded before then you can absolutely do it again. You need to ask yourself what’s the worst that can happen if you move forward with your decision. Realize that in most cases you are perfectly capable of dealing with that “worst.” Rethink your decision to determine how you can minimize that “worst case” and then move forward. 

 

Not making a decision due to second thoughts IS a decision. It’s a decision to do nothing and doing nothing is almost always wrong. 


People who never have second thoughts are know it alls who most often know nothing at all. You actually want to have second thoughts. Use them to make better, more confident decisions. There is no doubt, no doubt at all, that it will lead you to a better life!

Are You Talking to Yourself?

Even if you don’t realize it you’re likely talking to yourself, all the time. The experts call that self-talk. Self-talk is your inner voice, the one in your head that says stuff you wouldn’t necessarily say out loud. 

 

Most people don’t even realize this running conversation with themselves is happening all day long. But it is a powerful conversation. It can shape your day and even your life. It has as much impact on how you feel about yourself as anything someone else says about you. 

 

The challenge is that there are two kinds of self-talk. Positive self-talk and negative self-talk. Positive self-talk is saying stuff like “I can do this.” “I am prepared to succeed.” “I can make the best of any situation I find myself in.” 

 

Negative self-talk talk is saying things like, “I’ll never be able to do this.” “I am an idiot.” “I don’t have a clue what I’m doing.” 

 

You get the idea. 

 

Here’s the thing, and this is big… negative self-talk just happens. For most people the cause of negative self-talk is self-doubt. Everyone has self-doubt but if you’re not consciously aware of it the result is negative self-talk. 

 

Positive self-talk only happens as a result of conscious effort. While negative self-talk can pop into your head with no prompting you must intentionally choose positive self-talk. And that’s not easy.

 

To consistently talk to yourself in a positive way you will need to be aware that you’re always having a conversation with yourself. You must also practice to be good at positive self-talk. Stopping a couple of times a day to reflect on what you’ve been saying to yourself is a good start. 

 

If it is not something that is making you feel better about yourself or your situation then look for evidence to determine if it’s true. If you find no proof then it’s likely self-doubt creeping into that conversation in your head. 

 

Shut that negative self-talk down. There is nothing good about it. It doesn’t help in any way. 

 

You may not be able to simply self-talk your way into success but lots of people have self-talked their way to failure. Don’t be one of those!

Who Cares?

I’ll often catch myself saying or thinking that I don’t care what other people think of me. I hear other people say that from time-to-time too, they couldn’t care less what people think of them. I’m not sure why they say it but I think I say it as a way of “protecting” myself from people who just don’t like me. 

The truth, for me and virtually every human that ever lived, is that given the choice we would much prefer to be liked by everyone. So in truth I really do care. 

But this is also true: I care more about other things than I care about being liked. You should too! I may have a want to be liked but I have a need to do what I believe is right. Even when it causes other people to not like me.

If you’re trading your integrity to be “liked” then you’ve made yourself one horrible trade. If you’re willing to sacrifice your principles and core values to be accepted as part of the “crowd” then you’ve paid way too high a price for acceptance. 

There will always be people who you don’t click with. There will (sadly) be people who are so different from you that you just won’t find enough in common to be considered friends. But you will click with the people who you need in your life. They will accept you as you are. If they are meant to have influence on your life then their influence will change you for the better, not the worse. 

Remember those “friends” who your parents said were a bad influence on you? Your parents were probably right, you just couldn’t see it at the time. If you changed your behavior solely for the purpose of being liked more by those friends then your parents were almost certainly right.

Don’t change who you are simply to be liked. 

Not everyone is going to like you, that’s just how it is. Nobody is liked by everybody. It is far far more important that you like yourself, that you respect yourself, than it is that any other person likes or respects you.

It’s just not a healthy choice to value the opinions of people who don’t truly value you. Just be you. You are more than good enough for the good people to whom you actually matter. Those are the people who truly care about you. Those are the people who will like you for who you are, not for what they want you to be.

Everyone Wants to Feel Worthwhile

Everyone wants to feel worthwhile. There is little doubt about that fact. Everyone knows that. I suppose there is someone who might be surprised by that but they must live in some alternate universe. 

Leaders know that their people want to feel as if they matter. Great leaders know that it goes beyond a want, it is in fact a basic human need. 

But knowing that and doing something about it are two very different things. Knowing your people need to feel worthwhile is useless unless you use that knowledge to actually take specific actions that help them feel worthwhile. 

Specific actions. Strategic actions. Intentional actions. Consistent actions. 

Showing your people that they matter, that what they do makes a difference, is not a once a year, or once in a while activity. Ensuring that your people know that they are worthwhile and demonstrating exactly how they are worthwhile, requires a high level of intentionality. 

I literally recommend that leaders put a reminder in their calendar to stop whatever it is they are doing and at least once a day connect with one or more members of their team to show them how they are worthwhile to the team. To explain to them how their skills and abilities add value to the organization. Human beings need to know that they matter. They need to know that they, and what they do are worthwhile. 

I think almost everyone reading this knows that, the question is what are you as a leader doing about it? 

I’ve spoken about this often enough in front of groups and with individual leaders to know that there is actually some hesitation with revealing a person’s true value to an organization. I’ve had “leaders” tell me that if my people know how much they are really valued by the company they will want to be paid more or they may leave. 

Yep, that’s possible. Here’s what else is possible, actually more than possible, it’s even likely that if your people don’t think they matter, if they don’t know that they are valued, they WILL leave. Often, they will leave for less money. 

But here’s the real reason for helping your people feel worthwhile: it’s the right thing to do. 

If you need a more compelling reason for helping people feel better about themselves and what they do then this isn’t the blog you should be reading. But I wish you luck in your leadership endeavors, you’ll just find them much more challenging than they need to be. 

 

How to Avoid Being a Doormat in Life

doormatA couple of things you need to know before we begin this post: YOU are special. You were made in the image of a God who loves you. There is nothing you have done, nothing you are doing and nothing you will do that He can’t and won’t forgive.

YOU are that special! He loves you that much! While you may desire more love than He gives, His love is all that you really NEED.

God’s love for you is unquestioned, the real question is whether or not you love yourself enough to avoid being a doormat.

Just so we’re clear; don’t mistake being in love with yourself for loving yourself. There are few things in life more destructive than being in love with yourself and even fewer things more healthy than loving yourself. When you’re “in” love with yourself it becomes very difficult to love someone else. When you love yourself you become free to give the best of yourself to those who matter most. This may sound selfish but here’s what I believe: it’s nearly impossible to fully love another person if we don’t first fully love ourselves.

A good healthy love for yourself allows you to stand up for yourself without tearing other people down. When you love yourself, when you hold firm to the belief, the fact really, that you are indeed special; you become almost immune to the darts of hostility and the arrows of insults hurled at you from the people who would have you be their doormat.

When you begin to doubt the simply irrefutable fact that YOU matter, then you may also begin to believe the negative things that other people think and say about you. You feel a need to respond and human nature dictates that the response will be defensive and often, combative.

That’s how fights start and it’s a fight you’ll likely never win. You’ll never win because you’re fighting with the wrong person. Before you can prove your worth to someone else you must prove it to yourself. The great thing is that when you’ve proved it to yourself you’ll have much less need to prove it to anyone else.

When you’re certain that you matter your response can be much more measured and self-confident. It’s more measured because when you know that you matter you also know that the other person matters too. The other side of that is when you know that you matter you tend to spend much less time with people who act as if you don’t. You just don’t, and shouldn’t, allow them in your life.

So, how do you remain certain, in the endless daily battles that make up life, that you are indeed special? Well, Margaret Thatcher said that “You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.”

Remaining certain that you are indeed special can be a battle in itself and may require an almost daily personal affirmation; “stuff” and sadly, some people, may cause you to doubt it.

Don’t! Don’t doubt it for a second. Remember, He loves you that much!

That’s a bit about the emotional side of avoiding the “doormat complex.” Now let’s get down to the technical side of it.

When people know they matter they are more likely to stand up for themselves. The opposite of standing up could be considered “laying down” and hey, if you’re down there already you just might make a pretty good doormat.

When you allow people to take you for granted, in your work or personal life, you risk being seen as a doormat. To avoid this risk you must speak up to stay up.

Successful people know that they don’t have to tear someone else down to keep themselves up. To avoid seeming rude or condescending, avoid comparisons that make it “you verses them.” This is a fine line and “tone” will make all the difference here. Don’t tell them what they do wrong, let them know what you do right.

Don’t feel the need to defend yourself or your position, instead ask the other person questions that will make them support their statements. Questions like “why do you say that,” “why do you feel that way” and “can you give me a SPECIFIC example to support what you’re saying” work very well here.

YOU matter and you deserve answers to those questions. Regardless of their answers, the mere act of asking these questions keeps you off the floor and out of the “doormat danger zone.”

There will be times when you may choose to accept their answers, there may be times where you need to ask additional questions to help them see the error of their thoughts.

Either way, YOU are now in control. It’s your life, it’s your choice. Every choice you make will make a difference in the quality of your life, consider your options and choose wisely.