Dean Powell

Dean Powell

My passion is people, supporting, developing, challenging and watching them succeed.As an Executive and Life Coach, I firmly believe that each of us are capable of achieving whatever we set our minds to, however we must be ready to embrace change.
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Dean Powell

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The Ghost of self doubt


Have you ever experienced that inner voice that just fills you with doubt?


As a tennis player I’ve quite a bit of experience with that inner voice. On the tennis court there is only you and your opponent, every point that goes by is an opportunity for that internal monologue to begin…

“You’re not playing well today”… the voice in your head starts to whisper “you’re going to lose”, “you’re not good enough, he’s better than you, you couldn’t hit a forehand if your life depended on it”.


This gremlin tries to fill the mind with self doubt when we’re faced with challenging situations, which can be crippling if you allow it. It creates a fear within you, a fear of moving forward, a fear of taking risks and a fear of failure. 

What a cruel little creature I must have inside my head, but this is also why I love the sport. This gremlin that tries to fill me with self doubt can actually propel me forward, to help me take a moment, a deep breath and allows me to see that it’s my mindset that needs to shift.


This is also true in our daily lives, the self doubt that tells us we can’t achieve or do something and it stops us in our tracks… if we allow it to. Have you ever been excited to work on something you’ve always wanted but then you overthink it and get filled with doubt? 


How can you use this to propel you forward?

The first step is slowing down and realizing what’s actually taking place. Acknowledge the gremlins words, the seeds of doubt that it’s trying to sow are merely internal feedback. 

The reason I’m questioning my forehand is simply because I’ve always felt it was my weaker stroke. I will work harder on improving my forehand stroke after this match.

But right here right now, at this very moment what can I do? 

Shift my focus on what I’m doing well, acknowledge I have a weakness in my game today, but it’s not all going bad, how can I do more of what I’m excelling in and minimize the risk of what I’m struggling with. 


We can’t be perfect at everything and that’s ok, maybe we’re not feeling great on a particular day, or didn’t sleep well… the reasons are endless.


But just understanding that when that gremlin of self doubt creeps in, it’s merely internal feedback that you can acknowledge, appreciate and work harder on improving, as this will help massively in moving you closer to achieving what you’ve set out to do.

Bite sized Coaching tips to build confidence

  • Identify what is creating this fear
  • Identify steps you can take to become more confident (do you need to prepare better? Is there someone you can consult? Is there a course you can take?)
  • Don’t be afraid to make mistakes
  • Accept that there are no failures only lessons
The views and opinion expressed in this article are those of the authors who published the article and does not necessarily reflect the views or position of Coaching Atlas ltd.

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