At the beginning of this school year, my daughter Amanda entered 2nd Grade. Every week, they would take a spelling test which consisted of three parts: The current week’s words, bonus words (which were harder) and special sentences. Children were not required to do the bonus words, only if they wanted extra credit.
For the first two months of the year, Amanda stayed away from the bonus words. Her self-doubt prevented her from taking the risk of trying. One day, I asked her what the worst case scenario would be if she tried doing the bonus words. Her answer of course was that she would fail at it. My response was, how do you know if you don’t try it.
That night, I spent 30 minutes with her playing a game around the bonus words. She went to sleep saying she was not going to take the risk the next day and I said fine.
To my surprise, she came home the next afternoon, and showed me her spelling test, in which she got a perfect score in everything including the bonus words. Since then there has not been a week gone by that she did not take on those bonus words.
Our self doubt, and we all have it at times, will limit our ability to succeed if we let it stop us from trying new things. When you experience self doubt the next time, don’t get upset. Accept the fact that you have concerns, but then find a way to try it anyway. Many times, the results will surprise you. And once you try it and experience the great high of success, there is no going back. Just ask Amanda.