You may or may not have noticed that I have M.I.A. (missing in action) since August. I haven’t published a blog post, nor have I been active on social media. Without sugar coating or making any excuses why - the real talk is I battle self doubt. For a long time I thought it was a lack of confidence, like I wasn’t good enough, my content is lame, not believing in my voice as an image consultant. I feel like a farce, a phony and a poser. Like I put on this face (a pulled together look) that exudes confidence, while inside I’m doubting myself and wondering who the hell I think I am to tell others how to feel confident about themselves. F@$&ed up, right?
But the truth is - I am confident. I’m confident in my marriage, confident in my role as a stepmother, as an employee. I’m sure of myself when it comes to my values and my passions. I do not shy away from speaking my opinion or standing up for myself or those around me. I AM CONFIDENT! Then why is the Everyday Runway such a struggle for me?
I’ve had time to reflect on this over the last several months and I figured it out. I’ve opened the door to Self Doubt. She breezily walked in, accepted my welcome, and made herself at home. But now this bitch won’t leave! We’ve all had had that friend who’s overstayed their welcome, except this time Self Doubt is no friend. She’s a style stealing confidence killer who’s holding my creativity hostage. You see I realized I haven’t stood up for my confidence as an image consultant, as I have for all the other aspects of my life. When it comes down to it I haven’t believed in myself. Instead of letting Self Doubt cower over my Confidence, I need to kick her ass out!
I don’t think I’m alone in this struggle. In fact other women I’ve spoken to about this say they too struggle with self doubt in one way or another. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of the constant struggle between feeling full of shame & failure and the desire to express my creativity with confidence. So. I’m trying something new and I invite any of you who feel separated from your confidence to try these three (3) things:
POSITIVE SELF TALK
As my friend Emily Lewin says in her book Bright Ideas, “We cannot expect our creativity to make it very far if [our minds are] full of toxic thoughts.” I need to change the conversation in my head, the one I have on a daily basis. In order to get Self Doubt out my house I need to invite Legitimacy in. “Legitimacy shows you the truth of your creative identity, and assures you that you have what it takes to express your creativity into the world.” The conversation changes from: “I’m feeling unsure about the blog’s message this week. I’m not an expert on the material.” to something like this: “This week’s blog is important to share. I may not know everything about it but there is value in its message.”
Comparison is Self-Doubt’s evil sister. While Self Doubt tells you you’re not good enough, Comparison gives you examples where you’re falling short. Things I say to myself, “I don’t look like her; people want someone prettier/thinner/smarter. If I don’t have the studio like she does, how can I be successful? She has so many connections; I’d have more opportunities if I knew everyone.” We kill our confidence everytime we compare ourselves to someone else. So instead try to remind yourself that you’re exactly where you need to be. You’re pursuing your passion and expressing your creativity. That’s a gift - your gift to the world that no one else possesses. Comparing yourself to anyone else is moot - he/she doesn’t have your gift!
POSITIVE SELF IMAGE
This is the most complicated exercise for me. I write about how to look & feel your best. I teach classes on how to dress to get ahead professionally. Yet, I struggle with my self image. I’ve gained weight and I’m self conscious about it. Until a few months ago I battled with adult acne, also a source of my insecurities. And then there are past traumas from speaking in front of large crowds. (That’s a story for another time!) So when I step in front of the camera lately I pick myself apart, finding issue with all my imperfections - my poochy tummy, my crooked bottom teeth, the way my thighs look like a hock of ham. It’s terrible what I say to myself. I would never imagine speaking to someone else that way - and that’s when it dawned on me. I realized my self image was directly correlated to my self talk. Soo...back to #1 - change the conversation in my head.
I once worked for a highly successful millionaire who told me his secret to happiness was replacing his negative thoughts with positive thoughts. To put that into practice I am challenging myself to 1. First recognize when I am focusing on my insecurities (physical or emotional) and 2. Replacing them with my strengths. For instance, my weight is one of my biggest insecurities, so the conversation in my head may go something like this: “Ugh, I hate the way my tummy is bulging out of my pants in this photo. And my arms. Ew. Maybe if I take 20,000 more photos in various positions i can camouflage them. Nicole...this is negative self talk. Notice how this is keeping you from your gift. Your message is more important than the way you look - even if your message is about image. You are beautiful, stylish and talented. If anyone notices your tummy then they’ll know you’re confident with your self image. In fact, you may be more relatable to your audience. Give it a go. I bet you’ll feel really good once you do.”
You may have noticed a common theme in this post; positive self talk. It can mean the difference between success & failure. Being strong, courageous, loving and compassionate with yourself keeps your house (mostly) clear of Self Doubt. I don’t know if that ever goes away or if new doubts come with new strengths. I do know that in order to find out I have to make it to the next level of my success. Winning at my game is different than you winning at yours. What we share is the same need to produce, share and celebrate our talents to the world.
Alright ladies! I encourage to go into the week with courage and conviction to believe in yourself. I want to know I am not alone, so please reach out to me and let me know if you’re struggling. Have any of these exercises helped you? Do you have other methods you use to beat Self Doubt? Share with me ---> Email me or send me a message on Facebook or Instagram.