Figure Out What's Next

#37: Self-Confidence or Self-Doubt? Which Do You Want?


with Nicola Vetter & Peter Axtell
August 10, 2023 | 8 Minutes



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On "Inside-Out Career Design" this week, hosts Nicola Vetter & Peter Axtell speak about 

Self-confidence versus self-doubt and how to transform self-doubt into self-confidence which results in the superpower of self-belief. Who doesn't want that?

Learn specific, actionable strategies you can use to transform yourself into a self-confident, self-believing powerhouse.

Some questions for you to reflect on

  • What are the specific causes of self-doubt?
  • What has it cost you to staying stuck in self-doubt and doing nothing about it?
  • What specific things can you learn to change from a self-doubting person to a person who is authentically self-confident and has unshakeable self-belief?
  • Are you willing to do the hard, sometimes boring work that no one sees nor gives you applause for?
  • You want to be a person who has self-belief and is self-confident, don‚Äôt you?
  • You want to find out HOW to develop self-belief and self-confidence, don‚Äôt you?

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Books, resources, and people mentioned in this episode

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Any topics you’d like us to cover or guests you’d like to hear? Let us know at [email protected]

About the Inside-Out Career Design Podcast

This podcast is obsessed with answering a single question: Is it possible to create an authentic, meaningful, and fulfilling life you love while building a successful and rewarding career?

Join Nicola Vetter and Peter Axtell, co-founders of the Career Insights platform and creators of the groundbreaking MotivationFinder assessment, as they follow their obsession with answering this question by sharing their insights, discoveries, and life lessons and talking with career experts, leaders, spiritual guides, psychologists, data scientists, coaches -- anyone and everyone who might hold a strategy or answer to the age-old questions of “what’s next for me?” and “what should I do with my life?”

They seek to transform suffering into joy for millions of people stuck and confused in their lives and careers.

Get ready to be inspired, motivated, and above all, to connect deeply with who you are and what you are meant to do with the time you’ve been given.


Nicola Vetter  00:00

Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Inside-Out Career Design Podcast. Today, we'll discuss self-doubt, and five things you can do about it.


Peter Axtell  00:14

You see, self-doubt isn't just a minor hiccup on your journey to what you want is the menacing pothole that can trip you up big time and destroy your success. It feels like having no confidence in your abilities and decisions. But guess what? Mastering the art of managing this doubt, ooh, it's like having a GPS that guides you around those potholes. Now, who wouldn't want that?


Nicola Vetter  00:40

Right? Picture this, you are climbing a mountain called "ambition." With every step, a tiny voice asks, Do you really have what it takes? Now, I've often asked myself, where does this voice come from? That we call the Egoic Voice. It's like this pesky backpacker who wasn't even invited.


Peter Axtell  01:07

But then, lightbulb moment. What if, instead of trying to shush that voice, we understood it? What if self-doubt was simply our minds way of craving mastery, a signal that we're close to accomplishing a worthy goal. Because deep down, we want to feel like we're truly good at something and capable of reaching our goals. But that means change. And that's what our Egoic Voice fears most.


Nicola Vetter  01:35

Right. That's why the first step is mastery. Now, there's this concept called self-determination theory. It proposes that we all yearn for three things: autonomy, mastery, and relatedness. It's like the holy trinity of wellbeing. It's one of the things we measure and teach in our Figure Out What's Next program for people in midlife, trying to figure out What's Next for them. So isn't it logical that the best antidote to self-doubt would be mastering?


Peter Axtell  02:17

Yes, but here's the juicy bit. Mastery doesn't just mean being the best pianist, speaker, or business mogul. It means being the captain of your own ship, being capable, being skillful, being confident in your abilities. When a storm called "unexpected challenge" rolls in, you don't just abandon the ship, you persevere. You steer with intent, and with the skills you've learned through consistent practice.


Nicola Vetter  02:45

Including managing your reactivity, meaning, you don't just act impulsively without thinking. Daniel Kahneman, in his stellar book, Thinking Fast and Slow, presents a two-step dance to reduce reactivity. We call it moment one and moment two. So, moment one: feel that gut reaction and catch that first impulse to react. It's when your Egoic Voice starts screaming, that voice that doesn't want you to change because it hates uncertainty. And then there is moment two: take a breather, evaluate, and act with wisdom, move from being inwardly focused and self-absorbed to taking in the broader picture and people around you. Simple, right?


Peter Axtell  03:53

So let's add some layers. Our minds are like intricate labyrinths. Sometimes they store unresolved experiences that eventually pop up. And other times they play the comparison game, making us feel like perpetual underdogs. The fear of failure is getting in our way. Perfectionism provides the perfect excuse to not move. And oh, the classic: imposter syndrome. It's like that song stuck in your head that you just can't shake off. So years ago, in London, I had a golden opportunity to become a session musician, endorsed by the famous session pianist, Nicky Hopkins. But guess who showed up uninvited, good ol' self-doubt, and it cost me a fantastic opportunity.


Nicola Vetter  04:41

Yeah, you could have been the fifth Beatle.


Peter Axtell  04:43

Oh, sure.


Nicola Vetter  04:44

Now, there's another thing to truly outwit self-doubt. You need more than just mastery, perseverance and tolerating uncertainty. You need unwavering dedication to your journey, your vision. When everything inside screams, "give up," you whisper back, "keep going." Simply put, you just need to get your butt in the seat and get to work. Again, and again, and again.


Peter Axtell  05:20

So we can acknowledge our growth, our discipline and celebrate the fact that we put in the time and so can say, I did that, because we were willing to face the unknown. These are the five steps to manage self-doubt: One - develop mastery. Two - persevere. Three - manage reactivity and learn to tolerate uncertainty. Four - stay committed to your vision.


Nicola Vetter  05:49

And five - don't overthink, act. Your mind might trap you in an endless loop of preparation, craving validation, telling you that you first need to get ready to get ready. What should you do? Get to work. That's how we tame self-doubt and develop confidence. Keep going, keep going, keep going.


Peter Axtell  06:21

Diving into the complexities of self-doubt, mindset and that Egoic Voice is not just some abstract concept. We live it, breathe it, and teach it in our Figure Out What's Next program.


Nicola Vetter  06:34

Which is designed for folks like you, especially if you are navigating the waves of midlife career changes. We are pulling back the curtain and sharing real actionable steps during our live online workshops. Keen to uncover how to transform your life and career from the inside out? Let's make it a date. Simply reserve your seat for our upcoming workshop at


Peter Axtell  07:10

And if the workshop isn't your jam right now, no worries. Stick around. We've got plenty more enlightening episodes on the horizon.


Nicola Vetter  07:19

If you've enjoyed our conversation today, would you do us a little favor? Hit that subscribe button, give our episode a thumbs up, and leave a comment. Maybe there's a burning question on your mind or perhaps a topic you are itching for us to delve into. We are all ears. Your insights help shape our conversations. So let's keep this dialogue going. And thanks for being a part of our journey.