3 Times I Had Self-Doubt and How I Overcame It

Published December 15, 2016


CallingLeading YourselfResilience

The more expansive the calling, the more likely we are to experience feelings of self-doubt. Tony Dungy (GLS 2010) recently wrote a deeply personal post about how he overcame self-doubt at critical junctures in his leadership journey.

Self-doubt is normal, especially when you experience new situations. The most confident people still have their moments, while with others, self-doubt can be so overwhelming it can paralyze the person. I was fortunate to have parents who instilled confidence in us that we could accomplish anything with God’s help. Even with that kind of foundation of love and encouragement, it can still be difficult when facing unknown challenges. This has been the case with my life.

These are the 3 biggest times I was confronted with overcoming self-doubt.

When I Went to College
As a freshman in college, I thought I was a good athlete and student, but I questioned myself. I wondered how it was actually going to be. Will I be able to live up to the success of those who came before me or will I fall short?

When I Went into The NFL
After college, I went undrafted to the talented Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL. Self-doubt crept into my head again. The same thoughts I had in college came flooding back. Can I even make this team? Would I be good enough?

When I Became a Coach
Fifteen years later, I received an opportunity as the new head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I had the thoughts: Is this going to work? Am I going to be able to do it? Do I have the right formula? Those thoughts only intensified after we lost our first five games.

 Two things helped me overcome my self-doubt.

  1.  Focusing on What Is in My Control. The first was advice my mom gave me. She told me not to worry about the things I couldn’t control. Just focus on the things I could control, work on those and do my best. She encouraged me by saying that if I did, those things I would be fine. In times of self-doubt, I have always remembered to focus on her advice.
  2. Depending on God. The second is depending on the Lord. Anytime I face self-doubt, I spend a lot of time in prayer and no matter what happens, I place my trust in Him.

Those two things have helped me overcome self-doubt.

Have you ever had self-doubt? How have you overcome it?

About the Author(s)
Tony Dungy

Tony Dungy

Former NFL Head Coach

Indianapolis Colts

Tony Dungy is the No. 1 New York Times best-selling author of Quiet Strength, Uncommon, The Menthor Leader and The Soul of a Team. He led the Indianapolis Colts to Super Bowl victory on February 4, 2007, the first such win for an African American head coach. Dungy established another NFL first by becoming the first head coach to lead his teams to the playoffs for 10 consecutive years. Dungy joined the Colts in 2002 after serving as the most successful head coach in Tampa Bay Buccaneers history. He has also held multiple assistant coaching positions. Dungy has been involved in a wide variety of charitable organizations, including All Pro-Dad. He retired from coaching in 2009 and now serves as a studio analyst for NBC’s Football Night in America. He and his wife, Lauren, have been married for 36 years and are the parents of 10 children. 

Years at GLS 2010

We welcome and encourage comments on this site. There may be some instances where comments will need to be edited or removed, such as:

  • Comments deemed to be spam or solely promotional in nature
  • Comments not relevant to the topic
  • Comments containing profane, offensive, or abusive language
  • Anonymous comments

If you have any questions on the commenting policy, please let us know at heretoserve@globalleadership.org

Join us LIVE Thursday-Friday, August 4-5, 2022Get your tickets for The Global Leadership Summit


Get your tickets before the early bird deadline of June 15, 2022, for $50 off the regular rate!

*Pricing to attend The Global Leadership Summit two-day event on August 4-5, 2022, at our early bird rate is $179 per person (not eligible for on-site main auditorium seats in South Barrington, IL.) All ticket sales are per-person in USD for registration to attend within the U.S. Guests from other countries please contact your GLN or GLS office.

You are located in: US

“We welcome and encourage comments on this site. There may be some instances where comments will need to be edited or removed, such as:

If you have any questions on the commenting policy, please let us know at heretoserve@globalleadership.org”

Select your location

Select your location