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Preparing The Mind For Success – Eliminating Indecision, Doubt, And Fear

Drake Kirkwood is a mental performance coach who specializes in brain health, psychology, and mindset. After playing collegiate baseball and voyaging into entrepreneurship, Drake has spent his life leveling up his own mental game.

 
Executive Contributor Drake Kirkwood

You wouldn’t run a marathon without preparing the body for it, right? Of course not. But what about preparing your mind for success? Before we pursue any goal, we must prepare the mind by eliminating three crippling mental barriers: Indecision, doubt, and fear. In this article, we’re not only going to confront the enemy—we are going to master it. We are going to learn its name, its place of abode, and its tendencies. Only then will we have the skill set to cultivate a winning mindset, overcome mental limitations, and guarantee our success.


Person standing on a rocky mountain looking at the valley

Understanding the impact of indecision, doubt, and fear

 

Have you ever set out to achieve something in your life with sheer optimism and excitement, all to have that washed away and replaced by indecision, doubt, and fear a few months later? Sure you have—we all have. Why does this happen? And why the hell does it happen so often? Well, I think it’s because we overlook a crucial first step. Before we unravel this first step, let’s explore the impact indecision, doubt, and fear have on our lives.

 

Indecision is where it all starts. Once we start questioning ourselves—our intention, our ability, and our will—some not-so-nice things start to happen. Behaviors like procrastinating, overthinking, and pessimism creep in and infiltrate our mindset. Not fun. Indecision is the inability to make a decision quickly and confidently. Indecision indicates that we don’t know who we are, what we want, and where we are going. Imagine hopping in your car with your family for vacation and not having a destination in mind. The failure to choose a final destination would result in you and your family driving around aimlessly and I wager it won't be long until the seedlings of doubt and fear creep in.

 

Ahh, yes. Where one of these mental barriers dwells, you can be sure the other two are close by. We need to eliminate all three. Let’s move on to doubt.

 

Doubt, following indecision, is the second mental hurdle that sets up shop in our psyche. Doubt is a thought pattern or a feeling of uncertainty or a lack of conviction. It’s like an intensive line of questioning—you can’t help but ruminate on worst-case scenarios and what-if situations. Once we start questioning the results, we spend precious energy conjuring up reasons why we should quit instead of exercising a little bit of faith and doing the work that is required to get the results we want.

 

Last but not least, fear makes an appearance and once that sucker takes root, we’re in trouble. Fear is the belief that someone or something is dangerous and likely to cause pain. The brain is a fear-detecting machine—it was designed and has evolved to spot threats in our environment. Further, the mind uses that fear to imagine wild and wacky outcomes. Although this mechanism of the brain/mind served us for much of our history, it causes more harm than good in the modern world. Much more.

 

Okay, let’s cover what this first step is. It’s straightforward. We have to clear our minds of indecision, doubt, and fear before embarking on a success journey. That’s the crucial first step. The thing with success is that it will not tolerate fear. We can not cultivate successful outcomes from fearful states of mind. It’s like wanting to harvest oranges after planting lemon seeds…It just ain’t gonna happen. Why we think that fear will propel us to anything other than more fear doesn’t quite make sense, right?

 

Now, you may be wondering, ‘Okay, so how do I get rid of these mental barriers?’ Fear not, that’s exactly what we will be exploring throughout the rest of the article.

 

Practical techniques to overcome indecision

 

Overcoming indecision is a skill that will save you tons of time and energy. The danger of indecision is it keeps us stagnated. Instead of making a decision and dealing with the consequences (good or bad) and moving on with life, we allow ourselves to stay flat-footed and cultivate two dangerous habits: Overthinking and inaction.

 

In a world where there are countless options and countless distractions, it’s not surprising that indecision has become a common mental habit. There’s a wonderful study from 2000, involving psychologists, Sheena Iyengar and Mark Lepper, that showcases the negative effects of having too many options. There is a term in psychology known as choice overload that states that people, when given more options to choose from, have a harder time deciding, are less satisfied with their choice, and are more prone to regret. We can see how indecision is causing more stress and less happiness.

 

So, how do we overcome indecision? Let’s cover two practical techniques.

 

The first technique is simple. Take out your journal, or a piece of paper, or fire up the notes app, and start writing down what is keeping you from making your next big decision. Don’t worry about being articulate or well-written. Just write down what comes to mind and heart. Be honest. Behind inaction, perfectionism, and indecision is some sort of fear—that’s what’s driving it. We need to uncover the fear. It is your responsibility to investigate and figure out what unconscious beliefs are influencing your decision-making. Here are some questions to consider:

 

  1. How long have I been on the fence with this decision?

  2. What’s holding me back from making this decision? What am I not clear about?

  3. Where do I want to be 10 years from now? Will this decision get me closer?

  4. How much time and energy am I exhausting on this?

  5. When will it be too late? How much more time do I have to decide?

 

The second technique may seem controversial, but hear me out. This is what I call, Visualizing Death. I know… A little morbid. But hey, I’m a practicing stoic. The idea


here is that when we accept our mortality, we supercharge our spirit and lust for life. The decision we’re grappling with doesn’t seem all that engulfing anymore. When we've taken the time to meditate on our death our appreciation for life expands. This sense of gratitude and love makes decision-making a lot easier.

 

The beauty of this exercise is that it lights a fire in us—it generates a sense of urgency. This is the energy we need to get up off the bench and into the game. And let’s not forget—this is your life we’re talking about. No one else is going to live it for you. That’s your job. I suggest you quit overthinking your next move and take some action. Remember, we’re all living on borrowed time. Why not make the most of it?

 

These two exercises will help you improve your decision-making confidence. Once you cultivate the habit of taking action and refusing to remain idle, watch what happens to your life. I’ll bet you start getting “luckier” and have more opportunities “fall in your lap”. Life wants to win. Consciousness wants to evolve. When we win, life wins. But if we’re not ready to put some skin in the game and play full out, life will pass us by without a moment’s notice.

 

Cultivating confidence: Strategies to eliminate doubt

 

If we wish to be successful in any pursuit, we must abolish doubt. As mentioned above, doubt is a thought pattern and/or feeling of uncertainty or lack of conviction. Imagine hiring a lawyer who was uncertain they could win your case. Or a fitness trainer lacking conviction in your fitness and nutrition plans. That’s not going to influence successful results. The funny thing is, although we would never hire someone like this, we allow ourselves to exercise this type of self-doubt all the time. It’s killing our dreams. If you are serious about achieving your goals, conquering doubt is no longer optional—it has to happen.

 

Let’s talk about the opposite of doubt. Let’s talk about faith.

 

Faith is the complete trust or confidence in someone or something. To borrow from Think and Grow Rich, written by Napoleon Hill, “Faith is the “eternal elixir” which gives life, power, and action to the impulse of thought.”

 

I suggest you read that again.

 

What makes doubt so easy to fall for? What makes faith so difficult to grasp? I think it’s our reliance on 3D reality. Doubt stems from what we see and feel right now. If we can’t see or feel it, then it can’t be real. This is an extremely limiting mindset (and an arrogant one, too). Faith, on the other hand, often involves intangible realities. Can you see and feel yourself 20 pounds lighter even though that’s not the case in 3D reality right now? Can you see and feel a well-stocked emergency fund in your bank account even though you can’t afford rent at the moment?

 

Not without a little faith, you can’t.

 

What makes faith so important is not only does it inspire us to think, feel, and do more, but it rids us of self-doubt. It is impossible to exercise doubt and faith at the same time. Doubt extinguishes itself the moment faith is present.

 

One of my favorite strategies for conquering doubt is talking to people who have been where I am and are where I want to be. There is nothing like a little bit of mentorship to crush doubt. Whatever you want, I assure you, thousands if not millions of people have done it before.

 

Do you want to be rich? Seek out a mentor who will share their story of becoming rich. Do you want to heal from a disease? Seek out a survivor who overcame the same disease and is now thriving in life. Do you want to start a side project but have no idea where to start? Hey, that’s fair!

 

But what the hell is doubting yourself going to do? Nothing. Go seek some counsel from someone who has done what you want to do. You may feel alone, but I assure you, people are fighting and have fought the same battles you’re navigating right now. Find those people. Once you do, seek their guidance and free yourself of doubt.

 

Another strategy for self-doubt eradication involves building self-integrity. Self-integrity is simply the level of trust we have in ourselves—particularly, our word. One of the best ways to develop self-integrity is to develop and maintain a healthy, capable body. We craft a healthy body by exercising regularly, eating whole foods, and prioritizing sleep. I acknowledge there are exceptions (there always are), but for the most part, doing those three things will not only build a healthy body, but it will build trust. People who are unhealthy don’t trust themselves. If they did, they would not abuse their body. Trust and integrity are grounded in gratitude and love. Distrust and deceit are grounded in doubt and fear.

 

So, if you want to eradicate doubt, seeking mentorship and prioritizing your body’s health are two brilliant ways to make it happen. There is no need to overcomplicate this. It’s simply a matter of communicating with people and moving your body.


Communicating and movement are two precious gifts we’ve been blessed with. Use them to your benefit.

 

Managing fear: Tools for overcoming mental barriers

 

Ahh, fear… We come to it at last.

 

Let’s start our discussion with Frank Herbert’s quote from Dune on fear. “Fear is the mind-killer—fear is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past, I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I shall remain.”

 

Read that again if you’d like.

 

Let’s focus on the first part of the quote, “Fear is the mind-killer.” What makes fear so damn dangerous is that it shuts down the mind from higher-level thinking. It sucks energy (oxygen and neural activity) from the prefrontal cortex (the part of the brain responsible for logical and reasoned thinking) and limits us to the limbic brain (the emotional thinking center). As most of us can attest to, we do not do our best thinking when we are emotionally dysregulated. Fearful thinking limits us from solving the problem. When we are fearful, our creative thinking plummets and our spirit is disheartened. The result? We don’t feel like taking any proactive action toward solving a problem. Instead, we cower in survival mode and find ways to put up with our lousy life situation.

 

Let’s look at some examples.

 

Money is tight? Fear is what prompts us to complain about the state of the economy and feel like a victim. Instead of spending our time in the evenings building a second stream of income, we’re binge-watching Netflix. Instead of creatively solving the problem, we are limited to survival behavior, like overeating (in case I can’t afford food in the future, let me pack on some extra fat now while I can—yes, the ego is a trickster), and escaping the reality of the problem via television or gaming.

 

Health is a problem? Fear is what prompts us to worry about the death of our body and develop a self-conscious image. Instead of accepting our mortality, learning to appreciate the 40 trillion cells keeping us alive, and getting in the gym or eating some clean food, we scroll social media and order Skip The Dishes. A state of survival is incapable of understanding that short-term pain will foster long-term benefits.


Single and alone? Fear is what prompts us to fixate on our flaws and inadequacies—we use our precious brain power to find all the reasons why we aren’t loveable or good enough to find our soulmate. We further entrench ourselves in a state of lack. Instead of putting ourselves out there and committing to our personal growth, we hide behind a screen, swiping left or right, hoping for a solution to our misplaced sense of loneliness.

 

Hey, I get it. I get all of this. Do not mistake me for judgment and arrogance. I have struggled with all of the issues above. And guess what? I still struggle with them! But I can confidently say (and write) that I fear these a lot less than I used to. That is something I am proud of. And it’s something everyone can liberate themselves from with the right tools and practices in place. Anyone can free themselves from their fears.

 

Napoleon Hill writes, “Fears are nothing more than states of mind.” I love this. If fear is a state of mind, then it’s something we have control over. Again, this is incredibly liberating. When we no longer feel at the mercy of our fears and instead realize we have a say in the matter, our mindset completely changes. We go from a victim mentality to one of extreme ownership. We shift from a disempowered reality to an empowered reality—one where we are calling the shots and responding to the magic happening around us, instead of reacting to the toxicity around us.

 

Let’s cover a couple of tools for managing fear.

 

Journaling, once again, is a brilliant tool for navigating our fears. The goal is not to be fearless (fear can serve us greatly if we learn to control it), but rather, to fear less. The power of journaling about our fears is that once we get them out of our minds, they no longer feel overwhelming. Seeing the fear on paper, it appears less intimidating and much less complicated. Fear tends to be this massive, impenetrable fortress we build in our imaginations. When we draw it out and put it onto paper, we see it for what it is—a house made of straw—one that can easily be deconstructed and rebuilt. After laying out the fear, go one step further and do some problem-solving. Write down what you can do to prevent the threat. Write down tactics and strategies that are within your power you can deploy. Commit to taking some action. You’ll be amazed how much better you feel after doing this.

 

Another brilliant tool is tracking courageous actions. At the end of each day, reflect and remember any displays of courage you exercised. They don’t need to be grandiose, like giving a presentation at work or asking your crush out for coffee. These can be small acts of courage, like saying hi to a stranger or sharing this article with a friend. The truth is, we are much more courageous than we realize. We just aren’t very good at remembering it. The brain focuses on the negatives—it is hardwired to remember the failures, rejections, and fears instead of the successes, triumphs, and dreams. Although this is how we are hardwired, we were blessed with free will! We possess the ability to choose what we focus on—this is where our infinite power lies. Start tracking your courageous moments. This will not only collect evidence that you are courageous, but it will also empower you to overcome your fears and become more proactive in solving them.

 

Building a resilient mindset for sustainable success

 

Let’s wrap this up.

 

Before venturing toward success, we must prepare the mind for it. This is where most people go wrong. As long as indecision, doubt, and fear are influencing the mind, we will be behind the 8-ball. The more we try to succeed and then give into fear, the more evidence we create that we are failures. That’s not good. When it comes to our goals, we’re digging their graves with our own minds! We have to stop doing this.

 

Throughout the article, I offered tools and strategies to start chipping away at your fears. You’ve spent your whole life creating them, so understandably, they will take some time to get rid of. This is where the above exercises come in—if you practice them consistently, for a long enough period, I promise your fears will begin to wither away. Research suggests that it takes about 66 days to establish a new habit or behavior. This may seem like a long time, but if we think about it, what is two months compared to the rest of your life? Further, aren’t the next 66 days going to pass you by anyway, whether you decide to improve your mindset or not? If they are, why not take the time to let go of your limiting mindset and cultivate one that is made for success?

 

There is another option—one that is much faster and just as effective. It lies in the concept of simply deciding to let go of your doubts and fears. Just let go. This approach is more advanced and not for everyone. But I assure you, there is no faster approach to self-development.

 

If we trace the origins of the word, decide, back to its Latin heritage (decidere), it means “to cut off.” To make a real decision, we could say it is to cut something off. What would you let go of? How much space would you free up letting go of your limiting past? How much time and energy would you free up?

 

This suggestion has a spiritual essence to it (which is why some people may have a difficult time understanding its simplicity). The tricky thing about memory is that we use it to predict our future—to navigate the present moment. If we are thinking about our familiar past, we are in turn thinking about a predictable future. If we can’t let go of our past hurt, traumas, and memories, we’re not going to have the space or the skill to live in the moment—the infinite moment that is open to all possibilities. Instead of relaxing into the moment and surrendering to it, we cling to “our stuff” and refuse to live in the unknown because we’re afraid of it. We (or more accurately, our primitive brain) would rather stick with what’s familiar than voyage into the unknown—even if the familiar is riddled with indecision, doubt, and fear. This turns into a vicious cycle where our past dictates our present decision-making and creates a similar future. I don’t know about you, but I think there is more to life than reliving the same experiences over and over.

 

So, if you want to make a significant change right now, consider this. Just. Let. Go.


Conclusion

 

If you made it this far, let me give you a virtual high-five—you’re a beauty.

 

Let’s leave with this empowering idea in mind. We are all exactly where we are in life due to the decisions we’ve made and the habits we’ve created (consciously and unconsciously). If we are responsible for the creation of the life before us, we hold that same creative power to create a different life—one that is free from indecision, doubt, and fear—one that is grounded in freedom, confidence, and success. I find this incredibly empowering.

 

Good luck with your success journeys. I know you have the power within to accomplish anything you put your mind to—just as long as it’s free of indecision, doubt, and fear.

 

Stay sharp!


Ready to level up your life? Take our life and performance quiz to identify your current life trajectory and whether or not you are practicing success habits. Discover how to boost your lifestyle and performance today.

 

If you want to overcome indecision, doubt, and fear; and are serious about cultivating a winning mindset that will guarantee success, working with the right 1:1 coach can make


all the difference. Fill out this questionnaire to see if you and I would make a good partnership.

 

Additionally, if you’d like to learn more about my coaching services and decide whether or not you’d like to work with me, go ahead and book a complimentary clarity call


 

Drake Kirkwood, Mental Performance Coach

Drake Kirkwood is a mental performance coach who specializes in brain health, psychology, and mindset. After playing collegiate baseball and voyaging into entrepreneurship, Drake has spent his life leveling up his own mental game. He believes that everyone has the potential to win in life by harnessing the power of their mind through psychology and mindset. He is a young and energetic entrepreneur on a mission to empower high performers with the skills and wisdom to master their minds and master their lives.

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