“You’ve been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” – Louise L. Hay
How many of you KNOW that you are a badass? But… you also know that you have a voice deep inside that gets too loud every now and then, that just sucks all your confidence away? On our own, we know how awesome we truly are, how many unbelievable obstacles we have overcome in our lives, but why is it that we still get beat down by self-doubt? I don’t know about you, but I thought I had thrown self-doubt to the curb years ago!
However, just last week, I had a mentor coach, someone whom I admire and respect, say to me “be more assertive! Stop doubting yourself!” Immediately, I felt my face grow hot from shock and embarrassment. I’m 35 years old! I am an adult! I’m a certified coach! I’m someone who empowers clients! Me?! Self-doubt!! No, no, no, that doesn’t make sense! My thoughts and my heart began racing at hundreds of miles per hour as I struggled to come up with reasons and, in hindsight, excuses to rebuttal her observation. Now, it’s funny how my mouth stumbled over sentences that my mind was spilling out because I realized just how right she was. If I was assertive, if I wasn’t doubting myself, I wouldn’t be so desperately trying, and miserably failing, to explain myself. What was I doing? This wasn't who I wanted to be.
The truth was, I’d always had issues with being assertive. I feared conflict, being questioned, and being doubted. Even the slightest head tilt from someone I was talking to would send me into a spiral of self doubt. I shied away from debates, avoided negotiations, and fled from conflicting opinions. My strategy was always to smile and nod, and slowly back away and run for the nearest corner.
But that all changed when the pandemic hit and the world came to a halt, and then a flip, and then a flop. And my life, like a piggy bank being shaken empty for spare change, suddenly dropped out my long-lost confidence that had been stuffed away with years of looking down and playing small.
And along with that, I found my purpose. I wanted to be a coach who empowers people, women in their relationships, to be precise! I wanted to bring out the powerful Glamazon in all of us. How was I to do that if I was stunted by self-doubt?
I realized that I’ve lived most of my life being a meek little girl as armor against the world. I didn’t want to stand out, I wanted to just bobble along in the water, go with the flow.
But that was then.
And this is now.
I’m on a mission to help change lives. I want to make waves. I want to stand up straight, meet the world at eye-level and speak with a ROAR instead of a whisper.
So how do you quiet that voice of self-doubt? ROAR (recognize, one breath, anchor, repeat).
First, you need to RECOGNIZE how self-doubt creeps up for you, it’s different for everyone. For me, it comes in the form of speed talking. The moment I interpret someone’s confusion at what I say, I start revving my brain engine and the lengthy explanations of “maybes”, “perhapses”, “I thinks” start spilling out like a violent tsunami. My mind completely loses focus on what I was even trying to express in the beginning. I panic.
Next, take ONE deep breath to help stop the panic or self-doubt in its tracks. For me, I need to pull the brakes of my mind, my heart, and my mouth. I need to shut up and shut down, basically. I take a deep breath as a way to center myself at the precise moment I start to feel my heart pound and my brain go “vroom vroom”.
Then, ANCHOR your breathing to an intentional action. You need to refocus your attention on something completely separate from the current moment. For me, I touch my necklace, which acts like a light switch for my brain, and that goes, "lights out!" If you’re a visual person, maybe zone in on a mole on your hand or something that you’ll always have with you.
Finally, REPEAT a phrase or thought that will help realign you to your authentic self. My phrase, “you’ve got this. It’s not a matter of life or death. You’ve got this!” brings a deep calm that washes over me. Because immediately after this, my mind releases a tranquil stream of positive thoughts that no matter what, I will be able to overcome whatever awaits. If I said something strange and I’m asked, then I can explain. If I make a mistake, I will apologize and correct myself. I do not need filler words, I simply need to be me.
I know I’m confident. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be here. I know you’re confident, otherwise you wouldn’t be here either. It’s there, maybe it’s stuffed at the bottom of YOUR piggy bank. Remember, you are who you are. You are confident, you are assertive, you are a badass. So, ROAR!