Reflections on Self-Doubt and Self-Advocacy
Change requires us to make a choice.
Change requires us to make a choice: Do we settle and stay the same, or do we press forward, get uncomfortable, and learn from what's in front of us?
Things didn't start to shift for me until I realized that changing, healing, and growing were in my hands. No one could do it for me. No amount of therapy, outside validation, or praise could make me do anything if I didn't decide to get out of my own way and show up.
And that, my friends, was a lot to hold and reckon with.
Eleven years ago, when I was working my last 9 to 5, change consistently started to rear its head. I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about how far I have come over the years. It has been a journey, to say the least. When I was traditionally employed, my boss was often passive-aggressive, harsh, and challenging to work with. To top it off, I was undervalued, quite literally. I will never forget my last day at that job. He called me a low-budget employee two weeks after asking me to rethink my resignation. If you’ve read my book AFTER THE RAIN, you know this story well.
I'm sure you can imagine my shock and surprise. Deciding to stay was against my better judgment. I knew it was time to go, but I was scared to leave a steady job. I was terrified that my dream to write and create would fall short. I was stuck in the comfort zone (a very real comfort, mind you) of a regular paycheck and health insurance and in my self-doubt that I would never make it as a writer and my "maybe it's not the time" excuses.
My concerns were valid. My fear wasn't emerging out of nowhere. But I also was not weighing my options. There was no pros list, just cons building up barriers around me that kept me from my true purpose. The truth is, I was settling because I didn't value or trust myself. Self-doubt had me toying with the idea that the life I wanted wasn't really attainable. My inner critic was loud. Looking back, I am grateful because I learned so much about trusting myself in the face of fear.
The signs leading up to being called low budget were clear. I was ignoring them. That job was not the job for me, and that was very clear from the start. But no one could make the decision to leave for me. Having someone verbally belittle me in front of my colleagues was the wake-up call I needed. Another moment that I am now grateful for. If I stayed any longer, I would be choosing to accept unhealthy verbal aggression at work. For what? A check? A raise? A pat on the back for putting up with nonsense because "that's just how he is?" For me, at that moment, my answer was hell no—I will not stick around in this environment out of fear. My peace and mental health were more important than any of that. I'm forever grateful for that moment of self-advocacy.
Choosing to leave the day my boss verbally lashed out was me standing in my power. It was me taking a step in a new direction and not just talking about doing something different but being about it. It was me trusting that my savings would sustain me, my first baby book would keep selling, and I would get another job if I needed to.
Not long after my last day, Ohio State booked me for my very first speaking engagement. I wrote about this in last week's newsletter. I've been self-employed ever since. None of this would have ever happened if I didn't choose to bet on and respect myself. Gratitude overflows for this experience. Hindsight is indeed 20/20.
While your change may look and feel different from mine, please remember that change is a valuable teacher that we must listen to. Self-doubt can show us what our truth is: that we can do hard things, and even if we fail, we tried, and we are still worthy. We can't sit idle in our lives and think that things will magically align and be fixed for us. We have to show up and do the work. We have to trust that we are more than capable and deserving of being the change we want to see in our lives.
When we commit to changing, healing, and self-belief, we also commit to healing our lineage and impacting our communities. That's a great responsibility and for me, a divine honor.
I am grateful for it all—even the tough stuff, like changing and making hard choices.
Community Questions (leave a comment):
Where do you need to change?
What's stopping you?
Where have you found gratitude in adversity?
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