The Most Pervasive, Hidden Energy Waster and How to Avoid It (Hint: Stuart Smalley was wrong!)


No, I’m not going to shame you for scrolling through social media now, I wouldn’t even have your attention without it!

I have found myself over the years getting tripped up in all kinds of time wasters but more importantly, energy wasters. When I am low on energy I make terrible decisions; I treat people brashly, avoid obvious mistakes, fall into clouded judgment, make extremely little progress on important goals, and am just no fun to be around…even for myself.

So I’ve been paying attention to energy, to what drains me the most. Is it long days? No. Is it conflict at work or at home? No. Is it little visible achievement with a task or project? No.

I’ve found the biggest, useless, and most frustrating energy drainer that steals away my potential is self-doubt. Think of all the wasted moments and unused neurons and lost vitality just dumped into the void of lacking confidence and ‘what if it doesn’t work outs’ or ‘I’m not good enoughs.’

If we want to recapture the lost vigor and jump towards more progress and learning through mistakes and all that good stuff then we must learn to suppress self-doubt.

We’ve all tried the positive self-talk (thank you Stuart Smalley from SNL back in the day!). There is some merit to that self-help strategy for sure. Sometimes if I just put a smile on my face joy molecules start firing off again.

But here’s where Stuart was wrong. What if the self-doubt is true? What if I’m not good enough to pull this off? What if I really don’t know how to do this? What if people doggone it don’t actually like me?!

What if our strategy is to agree with the self-doubt statements to steal away their power over us?

“Yes, negative voice in my head, thank you for pointing that out, I don’t know what I’m getting into and I will probably mess it up. I will not do that one perfectly and all the people will not like me afterwards.”

“And so what self doubt voice! Big deal. I’m going to step forward with joy, and big-time effort, knowing that I will still be loved and accepted by God, knowing that I will learn and get better along the way, knowing that I can apologize and work out any issues that arise with other people. But I will not waste my time with you.

I will not waste my energy on you self-doubt voice. I won’t give you the best of my mental space to figure out this problem or challenge, because I agree with you, so time to move on to giving this my best try with my best energy.”

There you go, a window into my psyche that you didn’t necessarily ask for!

Instead of fighting self-doubt, agree with it, then it will pipe down and you can press on.  Of course, the unshakable foundation of knowing who you ARE in the eyes of God can’t be changed based on what you DO is a necessary starting point.

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