There was a time in my life a few years ago when I believed I had no idea what I was doing with my life. I’d just started my own business, but the problem wasn’t that it was doing badly. In fact, it was doing great. I’d completely re-educated myself to become certified as a personal trainer and yoga teacher, and my hard work was paying off. My clients were fantastic and loved their results.
I should've been thrilled, right? Well, instead I felt like I was fooling everyone into believing that I had command over my life. And I also worried that my "trickery" would soon be exposed: people would find out that I was quaking with self-doubt inside.
By no means am I saying that it's abnormal to have bouts of self-doubt and insecurity. But when you can’t find it in yourself to tap into your strength, that is a problem.
However your insecurities manifest, they can stop you from living your truth. And ultimately, we all have an authentic truth that we have the innate power to express. We all deserve a life of authenticity and fulfillment, so here are the four biggest things that have helped me find my north star. I hope they help you, too.
1. Trust the flow of life's ups and downs.
When one door shuts, take a breath and patiently wait for the next one to open. Because it will, and it will happen at exactly the right time. Sometimes, we can only recognize the wisdom of the universe with hindsight, but at least make the effort to cultivate your "trust" muscles.
Or at least take it from me: I can’t tell you the number of times a “bad” thing actually turned out to be good in my life. Opportunities don’t always present themselves in the way we’d hoped for, and often these events need to happen to make room for the things we really want.
Finally, don't write off those strange coincidences that keep happening. They’re the universe’s way of keeping you on the right path and reminding you that you're on track.
2. Stop comparing yourself to others.
This is a big one, especially when friends or peers are doing “better” than you. But here's the thing: we’re all on different trajectories and every one of us gets our time to shine — so let others have theirs and celebrate with them. Hopefully, they’ll celebrate with you when your time inevitably comes.
Also, we’re all different beings and bring our own awesome, unique qualities to the table. Just because you operate differently to your neighbor doesn’t mean you’re not doing as well as them. In fact, that difference could be the very thing that makes you stand out! So just be you. Not everyone will like you, but lots of people will. Besides, life would be pretty damn hard living it as someone else.
3. Create new stories to tell yourself.
Play close attention to the stories you tell yourself: you’re not good enough, haven’t achieved much, aren’t smart enough, thin enough — the list goes on.
Now ask yourself to produce hard evidence of these things. Chances are you won’t find any, but there will be plenty to prove otherwise. By challenging those sabotaging thoughts and acknowledging the wins on your board, you’ll slowly start to reframe your thinking and write new stories about who you are and where you're going.
4. Feel the fear ... and go for it anyway.
Getting outside our comfort-zone is how we grow as human beings. We've all heard it time and time again, but it's inarguable wisdom: getting uncomfortable is what it takes to reach a new way of being. When something scares you, it’s often a sign that you’re close to your purpose. Fear and self-doubt come with the territory when you start propelling yourself towards your dreams.
So find the courage to do those scary things that will get you to that purpose. Don’t wait until you’re “ready” to put yourself in the game, because you’ll never get off the bench.
When fear and self-doubt dig their heels in, put a smile on your dial and fake it. Before long that smile will become genuine. When I first started teaching yoga I was terrified. But terror and yoga aren’t the greatest combination, so I flashed my pearly whites and faked being calm and confident. Then one day I realized I wasn’t faking it anymore. You just have to believe.
Of course I still feel doubt, fear and anxiety. We all do. But giving into it and not striving for the life I truly want is much more devastating to me than never trying in the first place.
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