The struggle of self-doubt is real. Self-doubt is what I like to call, The Internal Hater. It manifests itself in many unscrupulous ways. It creeps in by having you assert things about yourself that aren’t true. Such as, you suck at standardized tests, you didn’t prepare enough, or you don’t know as much as the student next to you. The Internal Hater may kick-start your sympathetic nervous system and cause your temperature to rise; you begin to sweat and feel anxious and makes your chest feel funny. Your body is given false signals of impending danger and begins to respond as such. These signals result in fear. Fear of answering a question incorrectly, fear that you haven’t prepared enough for the exam and fear of failure. That lil' devil sitting on your shoulder, whispering all your insecurities and uncertainties in your ear. At this point, you must step back, take a few deep breaths and realize, that the fear and sense of danger is an illusion masquerading as your internal hater.
From here on out you must learn to nurture the value of your confidence and trust your gut instinct when answering questions on the NPTE. If the quality of your studying yielded 150% effort, then you a SHOULD feel confident, because you have prepared yourself for success. With 150% effort, you exemplify the, “I can do and I will do, what others won’t do” attitude. Without putting forth this level of effort, your confidence would be misidentified as cockiness. Cockiness is bred from complacency and ease when you think things will naturally come easily to you. While confidence stems from domination and intention when your purpose is to control your outcome of success. If you begin to feel doubt, ask yourself, “why am I not confident in this answer? Am I listening to my internal hater?” And then, brush your shoulder off and stomp out that hater.
I realize that the pressure to succeed is great. However, if you focus more on your internal validation vs. validation from family and friends, this will also decrease the amount of pressure and self-doubt that haunts you. Trust in the competence and knowledge you acquired in physical therapy school and your clinicals, which allowed you to successfully graduate. You completed a doctorate level program of your own intellect, merit, skill, and ability. It wasn’t by accident. You are not an imposter and you deserve to continue to succeed in your endeavors. If you begin to trust and believe this to be true, your internal hater will have no room to infiltrate your mind and will fail at attempting to shake your confidence!