If you haven't read the Series Kick Off on what it means to "Lean In"" to your own life, start here! I encourage you to read the whole thing. It'll give you a much better foundation for each part of this series than cruising individual parts separately. With that said...
Welcome to Part 1: Banishing Doubt. We'll be starting and ending each new series article the same way: with a review of the original questions designed to help you determine if you're leaning in to your own life, and to get you CLOSER to doing it. Let's get started, shall we?
This blog series is aimed to help you answer one big, but simple, question: Are you leaning in to your own life?
What does "leaning in to your own life" mean? "Leaning in" means that you are making those personal and unique decisions to do what's in your heart. And to not apologize for or judge yourself for whatever that is.
How can you begin to determine if you're leaning into your own life? Ask yourself this question. It's commonly referred to in therapy as "the magic question:"
If I could do anything, what would I be doing?
Got that idea/dream/longing in your head? Okay, good.
Why are we starting with banishing doubt? Because doubt is behind it all. Doubt is the root of all hesitation, barriers, and fear that get in the way of us meeting our own needs and living out those desires.
What I want to do today is to take your doubt out of the dark and shine a bright, revealing light on it.
Yes, doubt prevents people from living their dreams, But, just to normalize doubt for a moment, it also comes before all great things that are lived out. Think about something neat, risky, or different you've done in your life. Did you experience doubt first? What form did your doubt take? How did you overcome it?
Now let's take a look at the doubt you're holding inside you that's keeping you from living your best life.
I want you to think on the following questions. If you can, get out your journal or a pad and pen and write out your answers. Give yourself as much time as you need:
Did someone once say something or insinuate something that caused you to hold on to your doubt? Who was that person? Why did their doubt matter to you and compound your own? What might you be feeling (or doing) if they had not said what they said?
What is your biggest fear of what might happen if you do the thing you wish to do fully? Write it down. Then write down your second, third, and fourth fears.
Is there someone you know who is doing/has done the thing you wish to do? Why are they more capable or deserving of it than you?
What is the story you tell yourself about why it wouldn't work or you couldn't do the thing you want to do? Be honest. Tell that story now.
Ok. Now we've gotten some of your doubt out of the dark. We're starting to shine the light. Now let's flip your doubt. What do you think is the opposite of doubt? I think the opposite of doubt is belief. Confidence. Faith. Trust. What is the opposite of your doubt?
What would your answer be to the person who once said or insinuated something that caused you to doubt? How would you answer them in a way that makes your confidence stronger and more powerful than their doubt? Say it now.
What is the best thing that could happen if you did the thing you wish to do fully? Write it down. Then write down your second, third, and fourth best things.
Why do you deserve to do what it is you want to do? Why are you capable of it and why is it possible for you?
What is the story you would tell yourself, and others, if you did the thing you want to do? (ie: what would you tell your kids, or how would you introduce yourself) Tell that story now.
So much of doubt comes from ourselves. But it also comes from the world around us and from the stories we tell ourselves based on the beliefs we hold about how our choices will be received by the world. I'll repeat that, because its a crucial part of banishing doubt.
Much of doubt comes from the stories we tell ourselves about what our choices mean and about how our choices will be received by the world.
And so we end up doubting our decision to stay at home with our kids. To go to work and leave our kids. To take a job with a shorter commute. To take a job with a longer commute. To become entrepreneurs. To finally let our families and friends know who we are. To tell our partners what we really need. To admit to ourselves what we want. To give ourselves permission to do. To make. To be. To have.
Take your doubt out of the dark and hold it in the light. It's going to try to keep ducking back into the dark, but as best you can, keep it in the light. Because you'll keep on doubting as you go, and so you'll need to keep shining the light on it.
In sum, to review: what is leaning in to your life? Leaning in to your life means that you wholeheartedly step into the big parts of the life that you envision for yourself. That you are doing what you want to be doing. Whatever that is. Fully and with your whole self.
It means that fear and apology are diminishing and that confidence and fulfillment are increasing. That you are living the life you imagined.
Why is this important? Many reasons. The top two are that 1) we only get one life; and 2) that you'll be happiest and at your best if you're giving your time and energy to what's most important to you. (repeat: you).
So I'll ask you one more time:
What is that one thing you really want to do? And what is in your way?
Lauren L. Drago, MSEd, LMHC, LPC is the founder of Lauren Drago Therapy in Old Saybrook, CT and in greater CT, NY & PA. She specializes in working with smart, insightful and capable women to overcome stress, anxiety, loss of identity, self-limiting beliefs, perfectionism, marriage strain, and the pressure of "trying to do it all." Lauren has a passion for helping others to achieve the happy, fulfilling, productive, and meaningful life they deserve by changing how they experience and understand their world. She believes that every woman can and should live out her personal definition of her own best life. Follow Lauren on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Call (860) 339-6515 for your free initial 15-minute consultation.