How To Overcome Self-Doubt

You're feeling excited about a project and keen to move forward, and then the evil gremlins in your mind rise up and strike a blow that stops you in your tracks. Or perhaps you feel stuck in your tracks unsure even which way to move in the first place. If so, there's a good chance you're being held back by self-doubt. I know the feeling all too well. The fear of failure, the procrastination, the voice in my head that says “nobody will read that article”, “nobody will come to your gig”, or “you're gonna fuck it up in front of everybody!”. It all comes down to self-doubt and the fear of failure that lurks beneath. So how do you overcome this evil gremlin? Here's what I tell myself when self-doubt strikes:


By Graham Stoney, ago

Are You Suffering From Depression?

I want to talk about an issue most men don't talk to other men about. Most of us are too ashamed to talk about it, let alone seek any help for it.

Yet it affects a staggering number of us guys.

So I'll cut to the chase: I'm talking about depression.

Maybe you've sought help and been diagnosed by a professional, or perhaps you just know deep down that you're unhappy. Something is wrong with your life but you're not sure what. Perhaps you feel hopeless for no good reason, or you just can't get motivated, or the light has simply gone out of your life.

It's a painful place to be.

Psychiatrists will tell you that depression is a “chemical imbalance in the brain”, and they're right.

But that's only half the story. The obvious question to ask is: what causes the chemical imbalance? (more…)

By Graham Stoney, ago

My Ideal Future Vision

Having a vision for your ideal future allows your inner creativity to start moving you towards fulfilling that vision in your life. The first step of the online course is to create a vision for your future. It doesn't have to be perfect, it just needs to resonate with you. For inspiration, here's mine:

I routinely give myself permission to have the life that I desire without requiring other people's approval. I am willing to experiment and have the freedom to fuck things up and get it wrong from time to time, knowing that the more I am willing to get it wrong the more things will also go right. I am fully comfortable with failure and simply see it as a learning experience. I have healed all the wounds of the past so that I can be free to be my true self, fully expressed in the world.

I have many close female friends and feel very comfortable being myself around them sexually, emotionally and intellectually. I have a rich and fulfilling sex life with as many women as I desire. I feel comfortable expressing my sexuality around attractive women, and they feel grateful and appreciative of the opportunity to connect with me.… Continue reading…

By Graham Stoney, ago

The Voice In Our Heads That Creates Self-Doubt

I have a little voice in my head that's capable of creating almost unlimited amounts of self-doubt. Actually it's not so little. It's the voice that shouts “It's not going to work!” when I try something new that's really important to me, “You're going to screw it up!” when I'm playing music for other people, or “She won't want to talk to you!” when I see a woman I find really attractive. And fuck it's been pissing me off lately.

After years of personal development, workshops, counseling courses, life coach training courses, and just plain good old procrastination, I've finally decided to offer one-on-one coaching to other men via Skype. I am way qualified for this by now; most of my life coach friends have far less training and counseling experience than I do, yet they started coaching ages ago. There's no reason why I shouldn't be doing the same.

Well, there is according to my inner critic. No sooner have I hit the “order” button on the business cards calling myself a Confidence Coach than that shitty little voice in my head says: “Nobody's going to pay you to coach them! Call yourself a Confidence Coach? With your track record?… Continue reading…

By Graham Stoney, ago

Rejection Isn't About You

Dealing with “rejection” is one of the hardest things for many of us to learn, especially when we lack deep inner confidence. It's taken a long time for me to get a handle on, but I'm definitely getting better at handling rejection these days.

At a recent Love, Intimacy and Sexuality workshop run by The Human Awareness Institute, I found myself dealing with rejection right from the word go. Our very first task was to choose a buddy for the weekend, and I immediately found myself drawn to the most attractive woman in the room.

Problem was, so was another guy. And she chose him over me.


Before I knew it, that story was running in my head about other guys being better than me in some way: more attractive, sexier, more desirable. But the good thing was that the voice telling the story wasn't as loud as it used to be, and the unpleasant feeling it created in me wasn't as overwhelming. I'd been “rejected” in favor of another guy, but I was doing OK.

The very next exercise involved picking a partner, and again the same woman sprang straight to mind. I knew if I didn't act immediately, that voice in my head would start making up a big dramatic story about how she'd already rejected me once and so she obviously didn't like me.… Continue reading…

By Graham Stoney, ago

How To Be Cool

Cool people are, well, cool to hang around. They are relaxed in who they are and stay cool in any situation. If you want to be more confident, more popular, have more friends, attract more women, or just get along more easily with other people then it's worth developing some cool traits.

Here are some ideas on how to be cool:

Forget About What Other People Think

The quintessential element underlying coolness is that you don't care what other people think of you. It's none of your business. You retain a cool detachment from other people's judgments of you at all times, and this allows you to relax and let your true personality shine through. Whether other people like you or not is of no concern to you. Cool people don't get lonely very much because they've got plenty of friends, and they know there are always people to hang out with. They are non-needy. Since they don't need more friends, they attract them easily.

This trait of being unconcerned with what other people think of you underlies everything else about being cool. It also distinguishes genuinely cool people with superficial people who are trying to fake it until they make it.… Continue reading…

By Graham Stoney, ago

What Are You Living In The Shadow Of?

Palm tree growing in the shadow of another treeIn the backyard of my sister's holiday house where I'm currently staying is this palm tree on the right of and growing very close to a larger gum tree. The palm is living it's life in the shadow of the other tree and you can see that it's not as big or as luscious as palm trees usually are. In fact, it looks mangy and emaciated. Not flourishing. The leaves are small, few and far between. They fall off easily. This palm tree is not exactly fulfilling its full potential.

That's because the shadow from the other tree blocks the sunlight, and they're so close to each other that their root systems have got to be entangled and choking each other. It's probably fair to say that as a result the slightly larger tree isn't growing to its full potential either.

Now I'm sure that my sister's septic system is glad these two trees aren't growing gangbusters, because they'd be sending their roots down into it. Or at least, it would be glad if septic systems had feelings; which I'm pretty sure they don't. They'd be pretty cranky at all the crap they have to put up with.

But looking at the two trees reminds me of what it's like living in a shadow, and some of the shadows I've had in my life including:

  • A general sense of self-doubt

  • A lack of self-confidence

  • A fear of failure and criticism

  • A vicious inner critic voice in my head

  • School-yard bullying and a resulting distrust of other people, especially other men

  • A complete lack of confidence with women

  • A religion that I ultimately found constraining, even though other people finding it liberating

  • A passive father

  • A dominant mother

  • A lucrative profession that left a large and important part of me unexpressed and unfulfilled.

Continue reading…

By Graham Stoney, ago

How to Handle Criticism

I've never been a big fan of criticism; even when it's accurate or well-intended, it's all too easy to trigger emotional memories of times when painful criticism was leveled at me as a defense by other people who were avoiding dealing with their own issues. I had a critical mother who often used the phrase “If your mother can't tell you, who can?” to justify perfectionist and often just plain hurtful criticism. My early experiences with her started a pattern of being overly defensive and not taking criticism at all well.

Criticism says more about them than it does about us.

Criticism says more about them than it does about us.

So now rather than reacting emotionally to criticism, I try to respond as constructively to it as I can. For example, there was recently some criticism of The Confident Man Project in a thread on the social anxiety support forums, so I'll use this to illustrate how to respond to criticism.

Notice Your Emotional Reaction

We're all emotional creatures deep down. When we get criticised, our first reaction is an emotional one. Acting on this raw emotion may or may not be the most useful thing to do depending on the circumstances. For instance there may be times when unwarranted criticism makes us angry, and our anger motivates us to stand up for ourselves where we otherwise may let someone else's agenda walk all over us.… Continue reading…

By Graham Stoney, ago

Improve Confidence using Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT) Techniques

I'm excited to say that I've just added an awesome new free bonus to the The Confident Man Program. This audio interview with Russ Harris, bestselling author of The Happiness Trap and The Confidence Gap, uses Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) to help you build even more confidence with the most powerful techniques from all of modern psychology.

The best thing I got from this interview was that feelings of confidence only arise after we've stepped out in faith and taken action. Competence precedes feelings of confidence. But how do you handle the fear and anxiety that arises when you take action and step into the unknown? Well, that's where ACT comes in: it has strategies for dealing with the fear and anxiety that would otherwise hold us back. It's valuable material, and well worth a listen.… Continue reading…

By Graham Stoney, ago

What is Your Greatest Challenge?

Hey guys,

Here's an open question for you: what is your greatest challenge when it comes to self-confidence?

Is it confidence with women, confidence at work, being yourself around your family, dealing with fear and anxiety, believing in yourself, or something else? All of these things are or have been major stumbling blocks for me, but I'm interested to hear what obstacles you currently have that you'd just love to get past. The ones that would change your life and set you free.

Leave a comment below, or if you'd rather not have your words seen by the world contact me directly.

Graham… Continue reading…

By Graham Stoney, ago