What Happens After Self-Doubt?

Mired in self-doubt.  That's where I've been living.

It's only been about 30 hours, really, that I've been feeling a bit down on myself.  It sure feels like it's been longer. But then something happened this morning.

My phone rang at an unusual time.  It was 8:30, and I was in the middle of brushing my big girl's hair while simultaneously trying to keep "Bae Sister" (#bestnicknameever) from stealing all the food off her breakfast plate.  I glanced at the phone, expecting it to be a telemarketer or some other junk call.  Instead, the name of my very oldest friend popped up on the screen.  Clearly it made sense to do one more thing while juggling morning routines with two kids, so of course I picked up.

My friend asked me how things are going with my Big Life Transition - this new career.  She told me that she is beginning a big transition of her own - a new job, after a decade working on the old one, same as me.  A job that offers her flexibility she's never had - same as me.  And today is her first day.  

I told her that I'm proud of her - that she deserves this.  I expressed how complex this time has been for me - full of excitement and promise, coupled with lots to work through as I figure out what's underneath the fear, anxiety, and shame that come up.  Really, I expressed that in these times, we are the definition of vulnerabrave.

I told her that I experience periods of self-doubt, sometimes lasting a moment, and sometimes up to a few days.  But the greatest lesson I've learned so far, in the last six months of contemplating this Big Change and the last six weeks of living it, is this:

Periods of significant self-doubt
are immediately followed
by periods of

As I'm coming out of one, I feel PUMPED - ready to keep digging in to current projects and take the leap toward new ones.  I reach out more; I laugh more; I'm relaxed, even confident. This phenomenon reminds me of the Tiger Blood stage in the Whole30 Timeline - it's as if "someone flipped a switch and turned on the awesome."

It feels like
after I DOUBT ME
(and then I realize I'm doing it) 
I then get to
just BE ME. 

And when I get there, I can identify all the anxiety and shame and fear as what I already know it is:

  1. noise
  2. my thoughts doing "their little showoff dance" (Thanks Elizabeth Gilbert), and most of all
  3. NOT ME.

which then leaves space to remind myself who I am:

  1. a badass
  2. a loved and loving person
  3. a badass.* 

And then I relax.

And I get moving.

In the past 36 hours, at the same time that I've been in this cycle of self-doubt, I've had two conversations with women who believe in me and our mission, and are partnering with me to empower more women, in the US and across the world. So even as I'm over here doubting myself, I'm absorbing the energy of their belief in me.  And it's life-affirming. 

As I talked to my friend about the rollercoaster that is Big Life Change, I was teaching myself, just as much as I was teaching her.

Some of our greatest power comes from believing in ourselves.  But sometimes we're a little slow on the uptake.  When that happens, we can draw on the power of others who believe in us, and we'll get out of our heads and back into our SELVES.  And when we share our belief in others with them - well, what a gift that is to us, too.

If you're hearing a lot of noise in your head these days - if self-doubt rings a bell for you - know this today:

  1. I am WITH you.  
  2. That noise is NOT you.

And in the coming days, listen to the words that come out of your mouth, when you're building up someone else.  If you really hear them, your own words will change you, too. 

You deserve that.  And, if you're anything like me, you need it, too. 



* If you don't yet feel proficient in what it means to be a badass, please go pick up a copy of Jen Sincero's book, You Are A Badass.  I mean it - go get it!