The biggest mistake most people make in the journey toward success is they make their failures and obstacles mean they should quit.
Instead of interpreting the road-blocks as signs you’re not cut out for it, what if you decided on purpose what you want your opinion to be regardless of the circumstances?
This is something we don’t learn how to do.
So most people self-sabotage, when all along it’s just a misunderstanding.
You can decide to feel self-doubt, not make it mean anything, and create the exact future of your dreams.
Listen to this episode to learn how.
Here are my favorite resources to go with this podcast:
- Overcoming Self Doubt (blog post)
- How To Process Negative Emotions (YouTube video)
- Getting Ready Every Day (podcast)
- Personal Development Master Class (free training)
- Grow You (coaching)
Full Episode Transcript
Welcome to the Design Your Dream Life podcast where it’s all about designing your life on your terms and now your host, Natalie Bacon.
Hi love. Welcome back to the podcast. And if you are new here, welcome, welcome, welcome. I want to let you know that there is a new free brochure that you can get to tell you all about Grow You, if you’re not a member. You can go to Nataliebacon.com/coaching and just scroll all the way down to the bottom and click download and the new download will pop up. You don’t need to put in your name or email or anything, but I’ve gotten so many questions about Grow You that I created this download and put it right there on the sales page for you to download so you can take it with you and read more about Grow You and it’ll answer a lot of questions that you might have about life coaching, specifically about the awesomeness that is Grow You.
Today, I want to talk with you about self doubt. I have to say that over the last year of coaching in my practice, self doubt has come up subtly the most because it comes up regardless of the area that we’re talking about. So let’s say that there’s 10 different women who have 10 different goals that they’re setting for their impossible goal this year. They will all have self doubt in a different kind of flavor, in a different area. It could be money, it could be relationships, it could be a book they’re writing, it could be in their business, it could be with their leadership skills and the problem might present as a specific circumstance, right? As in a specific example going on in their life. But there’s this underlying theme that I’m seeing a lot that y’all are feeling a lot of self doubt. So I wanted to talk about it here with you. You’re going to learn how to overcome self doubt and at the very end of the podcast I’m going to give you five steps to actually go through so you can really kind of get a hold on self doubt.
Let’s start with talking about what self doubt is. I think that defining terms and really seeing what things mean can help you make it go from this mysterious thing that just happens to you to getting some authority over it. Self doubt I am defining as both a thought and a feeling. So the thought is some sort of lack of belief in yourself. It kind of sounds like I don’t have what it takes to run a marathon. Realistically. I don’t think I can make this much money this year. I wasn’t a good reader growing up, so I probably don’t have what it takes to be a speed reader. That’s literally a thought I recently had. And it’s so interesting because we think that these thoughts are true, right? And we’ll have lots of evidence to back them up. And it’s really a limiting belief and it’s just a thought. And remember all of your thoughts are optional. So anytime you have a thought that lacks self confidence, right? It will create a feeling of self doubt. And the feeling is really a feeling of uncertainty.
Now, if you really just analyze the thought and the feeling, it’s not so bad, right? We go around talking about our lack of self confidence or our inability to get what we want as if it is something that’s true. And then we feel self doubt and then we don’t take action. So the common mistake that I’m seeing most people make is that they’ll tell themselves, I don’t think I can write a book. And then they’ll feel that doubt and that uncertainty and then they will self sabotage. They will give that feeling meaning they will make it mean something’s gone wrong, that they don’t have what it takes, that they should slow down, they should take a break. They shouldn’t even do it. It’s a waste of time and that they should quit. And the truth is that nothing has gone wrong at all. There may have been an obstacle or a failure or some sort of, you know, bump in the road on the way to writing the book. but the only meaning that has is the meaning that they’re giving it. Successful people are really aware of this and they don’t make those failures and obstacles mean anything. So they don’t self sabotage. They will do something completely different. They will give those obstacles and failures a different meaning. They will try not to have the self doubt, but when they do they will bring it along with them.
So I have gone through a lot of changes in the last five to 10 years. I quit practicing law. I quit working as a certified financial planner at a registered investment advisory firm. I quit working for my beloved mentor Brooke Castillo. I moved to Chicago, I quit drinking alcohol, I got a puppy, I met the love of my life and we moved in together. So I kind of thought about the areas where I had some self doubt and all of those were such areas and I never made that self doubt mean that I should slow down, quit, or anything like that.
I think back to when I quit financial planning to be an entrepreneur full time. I remember making this decision. I was with one of my friends, Lauren, and we were at a conference and she, along with a lot of other entrepreneurs, were looking at me very confused at why I still had a full time job and I was surrounded by entrepreneurs in San Diego and I just remember thinking, I need to quit my full time job and if I don’t take some sort of action now, it’s going to be a lot harder once I get back to my environment. I was creating advantages ahead of time, knowing that the self doubt was coming. So I started to take action while I was in San Diego. I called my family, I told them, I just started to tell, you know, people close to me. I started to put things on my calendar to take action, to kind of talk to my bosses. I even decided not to renew a lease that I had ready to sign in my inbox because I didn’t think I wanted to stay in Ohio if I quit my job, and this was all in the matter of 24 hours, mind you, this was not an irrational decision that just happened instantly. It was something that I led up to deciding.
So it wasn’t impulsive, it was very thoughtful, but I expected the self doubt to come. So I kind of tried to do my best to work against it and I did all of these things while I was out of town. And I remember telling my bosses and just being so nervous and I was nervous because I was having thoughts like, oh my gosh, this is crazy. I’m quitting my job. I’m going all in on me. Right? And I had nervousness and uncertainty and some self doubt, but I never made it mean that I was on the wrong path or that I should slow down or that maybe I should still work part time or that something had gone wrong.
So a lot of times what I see people do is that they have these thoughts of self doubt and then they feel nervous, anxious, uncertain. And they make it mean that they’re making the wrong decision. So they back out on doing the hard thing to Uplevel their life. And what I’ve done and what I recommend you do, is to become really aware of what’s going on in your mind and in your body, in your thoughts and feelings. And don’t make it mean anything. Decide on purpose. So for me, in the moment of quitting my job and feeling really nervous and uncertain about being an entrepreneur full time, I kept going back to the certainty I felt when I made that decision from my prefrontal cortex. So when you make your decisions ahead of time, when you’re very clear minded and thoughtful about your future, you won’t have that nervousness that you’ll have during the transition of taking action.
So when I was with Lauren and I was out of town with these entrepreneurs, I was like, all right, I’m just going to do it. I know that this is what I want. This is what I want my future to be like. This is what it takes. And when I was in the transition of actually quitting and the fear came up, I welcomed it. I brought it along and I never made it mean something had gone wrong and that I should stop.
Now you might think that this type of nervousness is normal for you know, quitting your job and going all in on your own business. But let me tell you something. I don’t just feel this way when I’m doing something big like quitting my job. I continue to create a small level of self doubt any time I am upleveling my life in ways that you might think are actually kind of small. For example, the morning that I got Penny, Steve and I were driving to get her and I was about to throw up. I mean he was really surprised at the level of nerves that I had and I was really, really anxious and uncertain and just scared and I never made it mean that I was making the wrong decision. I thought back to my future self letters, I thought back to the decisions that I made from my prefrontal cortex and I honored them. I trusted myself and I trusted that decision making more than the emotion in the moment because what I do is I just expect to feel a little bit of those nerves and a little bit of that self doubt when I am into those big moments.
I had the exact same on a smaller level, but the exact same nerves when Steve and I were signing our lease, I was holding his hand, I was doing it on the computer. He had already done his, he was kind of sitting behind me. I was sitting at my desk and I was just kind of holding his hand and I had like clicked and I was like, oh my gosh, I think I’m going throw up, and he was laughing. He’s like, just what every guy wants to hear. And it’s not that I doubt him or I doubt our relationship, I just know that I tend to default to, oh my gosh, this is really happening. I’m so nervous and uncertain. Those are the thoughts that I kind of default to and they’re totally optional and I don’t really mind that because I don’t know that I don’t want to feel any sort of nerves during a big transition like that. It’s kind of like when you hear about men proposing and they have all of these nerves, they still go through with the proposal yeah? It’s like that’s a big deal. We want to feel that way.
So for me, I just have not made self doubt mean anything. So if I feel a little doubt about moving in to our apartment together, I think that that’s normal and totally okay, right? If I’m quitting my job or I’m getting a puppy or I’m quitting drinking, right? I had self doubt about that. Can I really do this? Can I really make my life so amazing that I’m not even going to desire alcohol anymore? Can I do it in a very different way? Then you kind of hear mainstream people talk about counting days and being sober and giving alcohol all of this power, can I do it in my own way? All the self doubt comes up, but that’s because of the journey to change your life, I often call it upleveling, it doesn’t always feel good. Right?
And I go back to understanding the brain and thinking about your primitive brain just wanting you to, you know, seek pleasure, avoid pain, and be really efficient. And your primitive brain just wants you to stay alive. It just wants to procreate and stay alive. And that means in this day and age, sitting at home and watching Netflix and keeping you safe. Your brain is gonna freak out when you do these new and different things because it doesn’t know if you’ll stay alive. It knows that if you do more of the past, you stay alive because up to this point you have stayed alive. But in order to grow and uplevel, you have to be onto your own brain. And if you know this, if you know that that’s kind of like the default programming of your brain, you can really coach yourself and get life coaching so you separate out that default programming from the programming that you actually want from the programming that you can create on purpose. You don’t have to feel self doubt, right? You can feel self doubt and welcome it without it sabotaging your future.
What I see most people do is that they’re unaware that this is a thought and a feeling. So they think that after going on a few runs and kind of not hitting their goal time and not being able to finish the mileage that they planned on, they make it mean that they don’t think they have what it takes to ever run a marathon and that it’s just not for them. And then they throw away their dream because it was hard. I don’t want you to let the obstacles and failures be evidence to increase your self doubt. I want you to expect them. Right? And a lot of people will agree with this kind of from a teaching perspective. They’ll say, yeah, I know that. I don’t expect it to feel good all the time. I expect there to be problems and failures, but it’s a lot different when you’re in it. And this is why I think that the practice of self coaching and life coaching is so important because it creates some space in your life for you to evaluate instead of just be in reactive mode.
So take a look at what you want for your life, whether that’s your longterm kind of five years out plan or it’s just your one year big goal. What kind of thoughts do you have about you and your ability to create it and what kind of thoughts do you have when you have obstacles and failures? So if I have a failure in my business, let’s say I do a launch and I have a revenue goal and I missed the goal, right? That’s a failure to me, that’s a good failure because I put myself out there. I tried something new, I had a goal, I went for it and I missed the mark. I don’t make it mean that may be, I’m not going to make seven figures. That may be, I just don’t have what it takes. That maybe I’m just not a good entrepreneur. Right. I just make it mean that this is evidence that the way I did it wasn’t the way that’s going to get me to seven figures. I’m very curious about it. I’m like, oh my gosh. Let me dig into the numbers. Let’s see what went right. What went wrong, what I can do differently next time. How I can double down. So notice what thoughts you have when obstacles come up.
I think that there’s kind of two parts to this self doubt that are really life changing. One is allowing it to come along for the ride when it comes up and you’re in the moment, you don’t make it mean anything. You don’t self sabotage, you don’t make it mean you don’t have what it takes or that you should stop or take a break. Right? That’s part one.
The second part of it is knowing that self doubt is a choice. This one I think is kind of the next level of your personal development. Regardless of you know, your own goals. Kind of keep this in mind for your own progress. So what I mean by that is if you’re just starting out, I want you to become aware of your thoughts and aware of your feelings and bring self doubt along for the ride without making it mean that you shouldn’t be going for your goals, that you don’t have what it takes, that you should take a break. And that you know someone, so who got the results is a special snowflake. Bring it along for the ride and go after your goals, but then the next level of this kind of personal development mastery with self doubt is you deciding ahead of time if you even want to create self doubt.
Self doubt is a choice. You always have a choice to think and to feel however you want and at the heart of self doubt, regardless of whether we’re talking about it as a thought or a feeling in both instances, it has to do with your opinion of yourself. Your thoughts are creations. You may have been creating a lot of opinions of yourself over the last 20 years that don’t support you and your future. It may sound like I’ve always been overweight. I have bad genes in my family. I’m never going to be able to lose the weight. I’ve tried everything before. I’m just so sick and tired of it. I know that this isn’t something that’s ever going to be easy for me. I’m always going to struggle with food. If those are the thoughts that you’ve had for the last 20 years, you may doubt your ability to lose weight and not struggle with food. And you’re going to think that that is truth. And the next level of your personal development is to see that that’s just a story and it’s an optional story.
You can decide to end that story and start a completely new story. You can decide to have whatever opinion of yourself that you want. You get to choose what to tell yourself and you don’t have to doubt yourself. You can tell yourself that you got this, that you are going to be the first member of your family to lose a hundred pounds and change the trajectory of your lineage forever. You can tell yourself whatever you want. So what do you want to think about yourself for your ability to write a book, run a marathon, be a mom, buy a home in cash, make $1 million, be a strong leader. What do you want to think about you? You get to decide this for yourself.
I was just coaching someone Grow You and she had gotten a report back from some sort of test that she took that showed her her leadership skills and kind of gave her feedback and areas where she was doing really well and areas for improvement and she took it as truth and I said, what do you think? You get to decide what you’re going to think about you. Do you agree that you struggle in these areas? Do you agree that you’re excelling in these other areas? Right? All of the evidence that you’re getting, whether it’s in some personality leadership report or from someone who gives you their opinion of you is just a circumstance. It goes in the C line. That’s what I call it in coaching, the self coaching model, the circumstance, it’s neutral. It doesn’t have meaning until you give it meaning, so you get to decide, you know what, I’m a great leader and I have work to do in this area of giving feedback to my subordinates or whatever the case may be on that report. It’s not a fact. Right. The fact is that you got a report that says X, Y, Z. You get to decide what is true about you
And I like to remind myself that I have my best friend with me. I got this from my one-to-one coach. It’s similar to what I teach in Personal Development For Her. It’s called you 2.0 and you basically have your best friend with you, a second version of yourself and she’s your biggest cheerleader and she’s got your back and it’s how you would talk to your best friend and she’s giving you that feedback. You’re an amazing leader. Of course, you can lose the weight and you’re going to fail along the way and it’s totally fine. You can start being your own best friend and saying, I know I’m going to lose the weight despite any evidence and in the face of all the obstacles.
Now you may find that this is easier in some areas of your life than others. So I’ve mastered self-confidence and kind of don’t really experience self doubt in my business, right? There’s really nothing that rocks my opinion of myself as a really good entrepreneur. I think that my zone of genius is business, particularly online business and even when there are things that I don’t yet know or milestones I haven’t crossed yet. Right? Like hitting seven figures. I don’t make that mean that something’s gone wrong that I’m not that good. I’m just reframing it and I think, oh yeah, this is my journey. I’m hitting seven figures. This is part of it. I want to learn from those who have already. Like I’m very solid. I don’t have a lot of the self doubt when I have those failures and obstacles, I take it as feedback. I’m very curious about how that, you know, feedback can help me and I’m very intentional about what I want to think about myself.
Now there are other areas of my life where self doubt comes about a lot quicker, right? I had this experience not that long ago with love. This is an example of how my work with relationships happened later, right? So I really cleaned up my money mindset and my business mindset and I had the results to show it and I feel really clean about it and I don’t experience a lot of self doubt in those areas. And my coaching and my progression and upleveling with relationships happened later. It happened after the business and the money. And so I can kind of identify with feeling self doubt in those areas because I feel newer at having that self confidence.
I used to make it mean that I had to be worthy of love and so I doubted my self worth for love. Right? And it probably came from like wanting more attention from my dad, right? He was an alcoholic as you probably know if you’re a longtime listener. And through that journey I realized that I was seeking love outside of me and that love comes from me. So in my adult life in late twenties early thirties I did all of this life coaching and work on myself and realized that I can just have love, that you don’t need to be worthy of having anything. So I don’t really experience self doubt. I don’t have a low opinion about whether I can have love. And you can see that in my result now with Steve. But without this awareness, the story that I used to tell was that I doubted my ability to succeed in romantic relationships, to meet my partner. I was like worried about it and it just feels so true.
So for you, are you plagued with a ton of self doubt? Do you have it more apparently in some areas than others? And do you want to keep thinking that way about yourself for your future? It’s always a choice and it feels really true if you’re in the beginning and that’s the way I say you want to allow the feeling to come with you. But the second part, the second level is to decide on purpose what you want to think about yourself.
So that’s what I have for you on self doubt and overcoming self doubt. But I want to leave you with a process I came up with so you don’t have to listen to this whole episode again. Although if you really enjoyed it, please send it to someone who you think would benefit from it. I think that so many of us are struggling with self-doubt unnecessarily and I am really passionate about helping women kind of learn and understand what self doubt is so that they can feel better and decide on purpose, their opinion of themselves.
So the process to overcome self doubt is five steps and the first step is to identify the thought you’re thinking, and I want you to write it down. So you ask yourself, what’s the thought I’m thinking, right? It might be, I don’t think I can do this. I don’t think I can start an online business. I don’t think I can become a life coach. I don’t think I can be a good mom, right? Whatever your thought is, I want you to identify it and write it down and then I want you to, step two, name the feeling label. That feeling you’re experiencing. It is likely going to be something like doubt or uncertainty or fear. It’ll be a one word emotion. There is so much power in naming it.
Step three is to tell a supportive story about your self doubt, meaning you don’t push the self doubt away and you don’t self sabotage. You don’t say, oh, you know, I don’t think I can do this, so I’m just going to take a break. I’m not even going to go for it. This just isn’t for me. Right? That’s self-sabotaging. It’s self-sabotaging because it’s against what you actually really want. You really want to meet your partner and get married, so tell a supportive story. It would be like, you know, I’m thinking that I’m just not going to meet the man of my dreams and I’m feeling doubt, but I’m going to decide on purpose that this doubt doesn’t mean anything, that I’m still going to go online and I’m going to date and I’m going to put myself out there and I am not going to stop and I’m not going to make this self doubt mean that you know my chance at love is over. It’s noticing the thought and the feeling and then deciding to tell a supportive story that moves you forward.
Step four is to decide whether you want to continue thinking the original thought or not. You might decide, you know what, I’m done not believing I have what it takes to meet someone. I’m just going to start believing. I’m just going to start believing that whatever obstacles happen are part of my journey and that it’s never over right. There’s always another way. There’s always something else to try because doubting myself isn’t serving me.
And then step five is to get life coaching so you don’t self sabotage, right? This is so important. I think that people don’t understand why life coaching is so important to their own lives and I’m so passionate about it because it changed my life so much and I see it changing so many of my clients’ lives and that’s what I want for you.
So again, process to overcome self doubt. Identify that thought. You’re thinking, that’s causing that feeling, that’s step one. Make sure you write down that thought. Step two is to name the feeling you’re experiencing in a one word doubt, uncertainty, fear. Step three is to tell a more supportive story about your self doubt. Don’t push it away. Bring it along for the ride. Step four is to decide whether to continue thinking the original thought or not. Step five, join Grow You. Help your future self, prevent it from self-sabotaging. A good life coach will be able to show you your mind and show you that the story you’re telling is just that it’s just a story and it doesn’t mean anything about your likelihood of creating the future that you want.
You can feel any emotion without making it mean something’s gone wrong and that you can’t have the future that you want. You can show up and do a great job. You can show up and fail and you can fail 10 more times and never make it mean you don’t have what it takes. I have no business making $1 million, but I’m gonna make $1 million as a life coach. That is awesome. I have divorced parents. My dad was an alcoholic. I struggled with relationships in the past and now I have an amazing healthy relationship. There was so much doubt along the way and I never made it mean that I couldn’t create the exact future I wanted, ever. So you always have a choice. You always can decide what you want your future to be like and you get to decide what your opinion is of yourself. So think highly of yourself, my friend. That’s what I want for you because you are amazing. I love you and I will talk with you next week.
Hey, if you liked this podcast you really should check out, Grow You, my life coaching program. I coach you on everything I teach on the podcast so that you can uplevel your life. We 10x it so you get the results you want most. Just like a monthly gym membership to get your body in shape, this is a monthly personal development membership to get your mind in shape. It is an investment your future self will thank you for. Check it out at Nataliebacon.com/coaching. That’s Nataliebacon.com/coaching. I will see you there.