10 Tips for Handling Snakes of Doubt & Worms of Fear

By: Jan Bolick


This Quick List is a companion piece to our Leadership Quote of the Week which tells us that if we can kill the snakes of doubt  in our soul and crush worms of fear in our hearts,  that mountains will move out of our way.   Couldn’t help but provide a big boost to morale and productivity – don’t you think?


The thing is though – how do we go about killing the snake of doubt in our soul and crushing the worms of fear in our hearts?

Here are 10 tips for handling such snakes and worms.

  1. If you haven’t already done so, write down your answers to the first seven questions in 10 Questions to Help You JUMP or Get Off the Log.
  2. Add your answers to these questions: 
  • What do you doubt?  (Your product?  Your ability?  The ability of your co-workers?)
  • What do you fear?  (Making a mistake?  Making a fool of yourself?)
  • What’s the worst that can happen?  And:  How likely is it that the worst would happen?

3.  Write this statement at the bottom of your page of answers: I will not allow slimy snakes of doubt or crummy worms of fear to keep me from _______(whatever it is you want).

4.  Post this sheet of answers or keep it in your center desk  drawer so that whenever you doubt yourself, feel scared. overwhelmed or stuck – you can remind yourself of why it’s worth it to overcome your doubts and fears.

5.  If you  haven’t already done so, make a list of next steps for reaching your goal. Small steps.  The smaller the better – not as scarey as big steps.  Plus progress promotes more progress.

6.  Set a deadline for taking each step.

7.  Take at least one step.   Now.  Just do it.  Go.  Go.  Go.

8. Get a friend, colleague, partner or coach to cheer you on and celebrate progress with you.

9.  Still surrounded by snakes and worms?  Usually the exercises in #1-6 above are enough to make snakes and worms slither away, leaving you free to take action.  But if a few tough ones remain, consult your coach or a trusted advisor.

10.  As a continual reminder, post this week’s quote on your computer screen, bulletin board and other prominent places  to remind yourself to get rid of those snakes and worms.

* This weekly feature is for managers who don’t have time or don’t want to make time to read lengthy articles or even short paragraphs. We call it a Quick List. AKA – 10 by 10 on Tuesday. 10 ( ideas or tips or questions or steps or ways to Get 2 Goal or Be a Better Manager, etc) by 10 (AM – EST) on Tuesdays. Click here if you’d like to see all Quick Lists created to date.

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