I knew I was being irrational, but I couldn’t stop myself.
“What if I am terrible at this? What if I totally suck at it? What if people hate it? What if I don’t have enough to say? I don’t think I can do this.” I paused. “No, seriously. I don’t think I can do this.”
I stopped my hysterical rambling and stared at my husband, hands shaking with fear.
I blinked and thought, “Good God, I have just become a crazy person.”
I knew that not one thing I just said was rational, but in that moment, I was seized with such incredible, gut-wrenching fear that everything in my body was telling me to run. All I wanted was to hide somewhere and be one with my panic, gorging on chocolate while hyperventilating.
“You are not going to be terrible at this,” he told me as he grabbed my hand. “You have lived your whole life to teach this, and it’s going to be great. Now breathe.” He paused. “And I have never known you to not have enough to say.”
He smiled. I laughed.
I love that man.
I am a few days away from launching my Empowered Empath Academy, a project that I am both passionate about and is deeply personal for me. I know that I have a lot to teach other sensitive, kind souls about who they are and how to empower themselves and their lives. I truly have lived this. If I know anything in this world, I KNOW this.
However, this crippling doubt was so intense that, in that moment, I wanted to give it all up and retreat to some safe place where I wouldn’t have to risk failure or criticism or putting myself out there.
I wish I could say that this is the only time I have faced such a wall of fear, but it isn’t. In fact,
I’ve been here many times before, and I likely will be again.
I remember the day that my book was going to be published, I was both elated and freaked out. After all, I put my heart and soul into that book. That book was (and is) me, my beliefs, and challenges many long-held notions. What if it was too much? What if everyone hated it? Hated me? In those moments of panic, if it were possible to tell the publisher to just keep the book, I might have done it.
Thankfully, I didn’t - I’ve been able to do things I only dreamed about because of the book, and more importantly, I’ve had the privilege of helping a lot of people because I pushed past my fear and got it out there.
Needless to say, I know it’s worth taking the risk to do really important things in your life, but still…every single time I am about to take a big leap, I freak for a day or two.
Thanks to my husband and a few skills I’ve developed to get through this, I am back on track today, and more inspired than ever to get this launched and help a lot of people. If you are running into the wall of crippling self doubt on anything you are about to do, try what I did to move past it and go back to being awesome:
1. Go ahead and walk (or run) away.
Seriously. I know that you think that you need to keep pushing forward right now and somehow that will be the breakthrough that you need, but in my experience, the best thing to do is to walk away entirely for a day or so.
After my “freak out” moment, I took the afternoon off. Guess what? By the evening, I was re-inspired and ready to go.
2. Rate the likelihood of your worst- and best-case scenario.
Here’s a tip I picked up from Tim Ferris’s terrific book, The Four-Hour Workweek.
When in panic mode, everything seems bigger, more life-threatening, and more critical than it really is. Instead of being afraid of some crazy, non-specific thing that is surely going to happen if you actually take the leap and do what you want to do, define that fear.
Really imagine your worst case scenario. What would that look like? For me, it would be that everything I did was awful. Everyone would make fun of me for being so ridiculously bad at what I was doing. I would become ostracized and lose my business and have to go live as a hermit in some monastery somewhere.
(At this point, your pulse if probably going to be racing from imagining your epic failure. Hang in there.)
Then, rate how likely that scenario is, on a scale of 1 to 10. In my case, that is probably a 2 at most.
Okay, now imagine your best-case scenario. For me, I’d see the Empowered Empath Academy grow with lots of people that I was helping. I would hear their amazing stories of finally feeling energized and able to go out and help more people. I would reach people around the world, and maybe even get to travel to do seminars overseas.
Now rate how likely THAT scenario is. For me, that’s probably about an 8 or 9.
So am I really going to give up going after something that is incredibly likely to be crazy awesome to stay away from failure that is incredibly likely NOT to happen? I don’t think so, and you shouldn’t either.
3. Remember WHY you are doing this crazy thing in the first place.
When you are riddled with self-doubt, it’s hard to imagine taking one more step forward. But here’s the thing: It was important enough to you that you started going after it. Reconnect with WHY you started on this journey in the first place.
Was it to have an adventure? Help people? Change the world? Do something you’ve never done but that would fulfill you immensely?
Whatever your why is, write it down and stick it on your laptop or set a daily reminder to pop up with it on your phone. Keep connecting with the why and the how starts to fall into place.
4. Phone a friend.
What friend always makes you feel better? Makes you laugh until you fall over? Helps you to forget whatever craziness is going on?
Call that person. If you can, get out for some coffee or go to lunch. Let yourself be human for a little while. You’ll feel a lot better.
5. Wait for the inspiration to come.
Pounding your head into the wall trying to get more ideas or solutions just doesn’t work. You can believe me on this one, because I am the queen of trying to push forward despite having hit a wall. It. Doesn’t. Work.
The good news is that if you put the steps above into place, I can pretty much guarantee that inspiration will come flooding back to you. At least, it always has for me!
In fact, after my afternoon off, I was so flooded with ideas and inspiration for the Empowered Empath Academy that I typed and created until the wee hours of the morning.
And you know what? Being inspired is SO much better than doubting yourself. Try these tips and let me know what you are working on!
Do you have other tips for getting past self-doubt? Let me here ‘em (I can always use more!)!
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