Today I want to talk about self-doubt and second-guessing ourselves, not only in motherhood but in any area of our lives. We each have a unique calling in our lives. And self-doubt, second-guessing ourselves –or imposter syndrome– can be a huge roadblock to us walking in our purpose.
I’m going to assume that if you’re reading this blog, this is something you’ve struggled with before. So how does self-doubt manifest? I want you to pause and reflect right now and ask yourself, where is the doubt showing up in me right now? Maybe it comes when you set a limit and say no to someone or something at work, within your family, with your children, with your friends and you keep wondering if it was the right thing to do. You are questioning whether they are mad at you. Perhaps it appears when you have something in your heart to say or share, but doubt and judgment invade you and you remain silent. Maybe it’s the opposite, maybe it’s something you said that didn’t go well and you can’t stop thinking about it and regret it. Maybe it’s something in your marriage that you know he needs to address, but you don’t want to rock the boat, so you keep ignoring it. Maybe it’s a decision you made about how you’re going to raise your kids or even something you did with them in an instant and you’re really wondering if you did the right thing. Or maybe it’s something you want to start – a dream you want to pursue, a new career, a side hustle, a passion project – and the narrative you’re letting control the show right now is that you’re unqualified, untalented, no one would be interested, someone else is already doing it. Any doubt that I am telling you. So take a moment and really think about it.
Before we get into the matter, I want you to know that you are not alone in feeling this! It is one of the main challenges I hear from my clients. Some level of doubt is natural and super common. So we have to give ourselves the grace to doubt ourselves. We have human brains wired to protect us.
I found this stat from the Journal of General Internal Medicine that 82% of people suffer from Imposter Syndrome. It’s the single greatest threat to having the life you want, the motherhood experience you want, the career you want, all of it. So this isn’t a personal shortcoming – it’s a societal norm.
We all have hopes, dreams, and visions for our lives. Whether we have said them out loud or not. People we’d love to pour into. Problems we want to solve. Encouragement or inspiration that we want to share. Things we want to create. It is part of our human nature to want to make an impact and create a legacy. And we know, deep down, or at least we have an idea of what it’s going to take to get there: we have this intuition about what we’re going to have to do.
So what do we normally do? Well, first, we may not even realize it. Doubt is often an automatic response that we do not consciously choose. It’s unlikely that any of us will wake up and think, I’m going to second-guess every decision I have to make today. Nope! That’s not how it works.
Our subconscious is wired to protect us. That’s its #1 job. Not to help us reach our full potential. Not to help us feel fulfilled. Their job is to keep us alive! So every time you are faced with something new, you are programmed to associate it with something bad, dangerous, or wrong. Folks, that’s your brain working properly. That is your brain doing what it was designed to do at its most basic level. So it does what it can to move us toward what feels safe, which reinforces staying in our comfort zone, and no growth happens there. It’s comfortable, but we can’t pursue our dreams in our comfort zone. We can only grow so much there. So, to a certain extent, our brains are just doing their job. It’s simply a matter of noticing what my brain is doing, and then moving that doubt to the passenger seat or out of the car so it doesn’t control our lives.
Another reason why we are faced with self-doubt is because of some life experience that we have had, something that happened to us, and that memory and pain are so embedded in our nervous system, so much so that our body is doing what it is. that can prevent us from feeling like this again. So our mind stops us and keeps us hesitating and keeps us quiet for fear of upsetting someone or embarrassing ourselves again.
Another reason self-doubt can take over is if we feel disconnected from ourselves. So, if we’re feeling insecure, or if we’re feeling unrooted and unsure of who we are, our values, how we want to show up as moms, as women, as friends, and in our workspaces, if we’re not feeling grounded and confident in those roles, then we can definitely struggle in second-guessing ourselves. This often shows up in struggles with self-trust too. If we’re not super trusting of ourselves, if we don’t trust our resilience, that we can withstand whatever’s going to come our way if we do set a boundary with our kids, our family, our partners, our co-workers, it’s likely going to raise a lot of doubt.
The key for all of us is to figure out how to move past it. Because if we don’t, it blocks our big goals and tries to sabotage us. Self-doubt keeps us playing small. And playing small is going to prevent you from reaching your goals, friends.
Naturally, the doubt is going to be there: the magic is in how much control we allow it to have. Our brain can be like air traffic control, and it can take inventory of the thoughts going through our head and can decide which ones can land and which ones can’t. We don’t have to let everyone land. We can acknowledge that they are there without giving them space to take control.
How can we do this and take control? The first step is to recognize that doubt is natural, as I said before, I am trying to protect ourselves. Don’t judge yourself. – Here’s where you take the power back: you tell that doubt that you are now in a place where you are an adult and have many other tools to keep yourself safe, so you don’t need this doubt self. It has evolved. You have better-coping skills. Now you know your identity. You are more mature. You are wiser. You can handle this situation now.
And in that one shift, everything starts to change. It’s a journey. This is a tool you can start using. Just the awareness of the doubt being a separate part of you and recognizing its intention is huge. We can’t intervene in a world we can’t see, right? And this is the power of having a coach. Someone pointing out the things that sometimes we can’t necessarily see for ourselves. Because we all have blindspots, even those of you reading who are convinced you’re so self-aware. Maybe you are, but I promise you, you still have blind spots because we’re always the star of our own show. For me, coaching has been vital in helping me see and move through my self-doubt and 1) start doing all these things that scared the living daylights out of me at one point, and 2) become more secure in the decisions and boundaries I create for myself and my family.
So start to notice when that self-doubt or second-guessing is creeping in. Start to recognize its voice. And if this is something you’re struggling with and would love some support, reach out to me and set up a discovery call so we can discuss it. You can send me a DM on my IG @michellegrosser.coach, you can email me at email@example.com, and you can visit the coaching page on my website at michellegrosser.com/coaching.
When we shift our relationship with self-doubt, that creates so much freedom. It’s not about never feeling self-doubt. It’s that when we notice it creeping in, we respond to it in compassion and acknowledgment, we don’t judge it ourselves, and that changes the whole game friends. And then from that space, we can get back up when we fall, we can try again when we don’t show up how we wanted to, we can take courage more quickly, and we become more resilient. That’s the work friends. I’m so grateful to be doing it with you.
Before we end today, I want you all to take a pause and notice what’s standing out for you from today’s blog. What’s landing for you? What’s really resonating? And let that revelation or new insight really settle in. Ask yourself – what am I wanting to start practicing from this episode? And do that intentionally before you move on with your day today.