Self-doubt is a sign that I am growing.
Things that I can do easily do not create self-doubt. I do not get nervous when I ride a bike or use a keyboard. I have had a lot of practice at doing both of these things.
New, complex things create self-doubt. I feel anxiety. I feel confused. I am reluctant.
As a newly commissioned Navy officer, I had self-doubt about my ability to navigate a Navy ship. While going through Naval Officer Candidate School, I learned the basics of navigation. I learned about course and speed through the water. I learned how to know the position of a ship relative to land and the position of a ship in the open sea. Unlike highways and streets, waterways do not have marked lanes, traffic signs, and traffic lights. During classroom training, I learned how navigate a ship safely around other ships at-sea.
When I graduated from Naval Officer Candidate School, I used my classroom training on the bridge of an aircraft carrier, the U.S.S Midway.
What I learned was in a classroom training did not give me confidence that I could do the complex things of navigating a ship at sea. Plotting ships in a classroom is very different from standing on a bridge navigating where there are dozens of other ships around my ship and the positions of those ships change as the position of my ship changes.
However, through experience, I was growing. Self-doubt changed to self-confidence. Maneuvering a large ship became natural. I did not so much think about how to do things. I simply did things.
What I learned
In the case of navigating a ship at sea, self-doubt was a sign that I needed to grow. I had things to learn. I had skills to develop. However, as I developed those skills, my self-doubt eased. I became more self-confident.
What I learned is that self-doubt is a sign that I have an opportunity to grow. I can learn new things. I can develop new skills. I can gain self-esteem from what I learn. I can grow into a more skillful and useful person.