I am pleased to have Mark Rucker as a guest blogger this week. – Tom Hailey

In 1957, Willie Shoemaker, arguably the greatest jockey ever, was riding aboard Gallant Man in the Kentucky Derby. Shoemaker guided Gallant Man through the crowded field and set his sights on the leader, Iron Liege. Shoemaker was able to take the lead, and just as everyone in the crowd anticipated his victory, Shoemaker pulled up at the sixteenth pole, and Iron Liege won the Derby.

It was later revealed that on the night before the Derby, Gallant Man’s owner, Ralph Lowe, told Shoemaker about a dream that he had about the race. He told Shoemaker that in the dream Shoemaker pulled up short of the finish line and wound up second in the Derby. Shoemaker assured him that he wouldn’t do such a thing.

But he did.

Did horse owner Ralph Lowe predict the future? Hardly. But he did set a course of events in motion by telling Shoemaker about the dream. In doing so, he planted the seed of doubt in Shoemaker’s mind. And that seed of doubt sprouted into Shoemaker’s reality of a second place finish.

I’m sure that you all have faced moments of self-doubt at one time or another: in your career, in your relationships, when you faced new challenges, or in any number of other situations. And in those moments, it can be difficult to see beyond the present situation and believe that you will get through whatever it is that is causing the self-doubt. I know. I have been there too.

The good news is that your self-doubt can be overcome. And here are some steps that you can take to overcome your self-doubt and find your way to the finish line.

Speak Positive Affirmations

Speaking positive affirmations to yourself daily is one of the best ways to overcome self-doubt.

Your thoughts become your words. And your words become your actions. When you think to yourself, “I can’t do it,” you begin to believe you can’t. Then you begin to tell yourself you can’t. Soon, you find that you can’t. How many times have you experienced this in your life? I know that I have.

But when you believe that you can, and you tell yourself daily that you can, your actions start to reflect that belief. Your actions become more assertive. More positive. And a true indicator of the belief that you are developing in yourself.

Take some time each day to speak positive affirmations to yourself. It might seem strange at first, but over time it will become second nature.

Surround Yourself with Positive People

It’s been said that you will become like the five people you surround yourself with the most. That can be a great thing, or it can be a very scary thing, depending on who your “people” are. But if you think about it, it really does make sense.

From the time you are born you learn to emulate those around you. It begins with your parents and siblings, and then, as you grow older, it becomes your friends, co-workers, and others. It is the way that we all are wired.

So if you’re surrounding yourself with negative people, there is a high probability that you will exhibit negative traits as well. And that includes self-doubt.

Of course, you can’t simply replace all of the people in your life but if you make a conscious effort to start surrounding yourself with people who are positive and confident you will find that you will start exhibiting those same characteristics. You will also attract positive people to yourself which will only help to increase your level of self-assuredness.

Taking Small Steps

We live in a world that is filled with what I like to call the “fast-food mentality.” When you want something, you want it now. And through the magic of the internet, social media, and big-box retail most of those wants or needs can be met almost immediately.

But when it comes to overcoming self-doubt it’s impossible to change that immediately. And if you’re like me, patience isn’t your strong suit.

So, what can you do?

The key is to learn to take small steps. Rather than focusing on the bigger picture that is the source of your self-doubt, focus on the small, day-to-day, tasks that you can accomplish. As you start to knock these daily goals out you will find that your self-confidence increases. And over time, your self-doubt will vanish, and you will have the confidence you need to overcome anything that life throws your way.


Life isn’t easy. It will throw you curveballs. And you will have moments in your life when you feel like you simply don’t have it in you to overcome what you’re facing.

But in those moments of self-doubt remember to speak those positive affirmations, find those positive people to surround yourself with, and remember that it will take some time to get where you want to be – across the finish line.

Post by Mark Rucker

At his heaviest, Mark D. Rucker weighed over 385 pounds and suffered from high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and pre-diabetes. Despite trying to change his life, he struggled to be successful until he was humiliated on a family vacation when he was unable to fit on theme park rides with his children. That moment kick-started his desire to change. What began as a journey back to health became a campaign to complete one of the most grueling athletic feats in the world: the Ironman Triathlon.

Mark D. Rucker Keynote Speaker & Author


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