Let’s try something here. Think of something you really want – really really want – and then talk to yourself like this: Will I be embarrassed? Will I look dumb? Can I really do that? When will I find the time? It may not work out… I need to learn X first… and on it goes.
Has this ever happened to you? You think of something you are dying to do, and then, that desire cues a monologue of questions and statements that leave you, well, disempowered or doubtful?
As some of you know, my mom passed away recently after a long battle with an illness, and as we were going through her personal effects, we found letters from an Italian artist. We had known that there was a time in her life when she was passionate about going to Italy. Back in the 1990’s, mom had immersed herself in everything Italian: She was learning Italian, cooking Italian, and filling her home with Italian art. Where did all of this interest come from? If you knew my mom, she was pretty coy about divulging information. Eventually, we came to the conclusion that it was a phase inspired by one of her best friends, who happens to be Italian.
NO. We were wrong.
Love, or the possibility of love, can make us do things we would not normally do. At the time, and for a couple of years after, mom was committed to going to Italy. But the longer she delayed the trip, the more she gave herself reasons not to go. Her passion for “all things Italian” waned until her books were coverd in dust and her cooking reverted back to her normal fare.
Flash forward to decades later and I am having a conversation with her about regret. When a person is faced with a life-ending illness, he or she can become more forthright or open about what matters most. So when I asked mom what her greatest regret was, she answered immediately, “Not going to Italy.”
When I asked her why she didn’t go, she told me that she was afraid. I probed a little bit more and asked, “What were you afraid of?”
She quietly said, “It not working out.”
At the time, I didn’t know that my mom was talking about a relationship. The risk she was referring to was more than just a “bucket list” trip. The stakes were much higher than that. To mom, the doubt she faced was whether her “happily ever after” would materialize or would she become trapped in a horrible mistake? In the end, the stakes were just too high for her to act.
You cue doubt just like you cue faith. You do it by directing your focus on to what is most important with questions and statements.Christine Jeffrey
So what would you have done in her place? Go? Stay? There are still a lot of unanswered questions about this relationship, and who is to say whether her choice was the wrong one. The thing is, though, after all those years, she still regretted not going.
The key question to ask yourself is, “How does doubt stop me from getting me what I want?” That was the question I was researching this past week.
First, I needed some clarity. What exactly was doubt? Doubt is that midpoint between belief and disbelief where our “what-ifs” stop us from taking action in order to keep us safe. Great job, Big D, if our goal is security. Not so great job, Big D, if our goal is to LIVE in capital letters.
So how do we cue doubt? We cue it by directing our focus through questions and statements on to what we believe is most important at that time. Doubt doesn’t serve our becoming, doubt serves our present need for security; that is its raison d’etre.
If you want to have more meaningful experiences, to live a life without regret, and to have a life that makes you excited and proud to call your own, then you have to put doubt where it belongs: on sheet of paper when you are assessing, and then, mitigating risk.
Below is a framework I use to put doubt where it belongs – in service of the life I want to lead. My hope is that it will help you, as well.
- Be clear about why you want it. Remember, the reason you want it has to be greater than the pain you will have to go through to achieve it. Hence, you focus on what you want and why you want it.
- Understand the risks. This means, you list, on paper, all your doubts, fears, and challenges so you understand what you are up against. Notice I didn’t write “focus on them.”
- Decide whether to proceed. Are the risks worth it? This means COMMITMENT. RESOLUTION. A “NO TURNING BACK” kind of decision is required. You have to be all in to have extraordinary success. Is what you want worth the struggle of learning what it takes to get it?
- Mitigate the downsides. Now whether you have decided to go for it, or you have decided against it, you need to handle the challenges as best as you possibly can. Your goal is NO REGRET.
- Believe in your ability to figure it out. Trusting yourself is the key to no regret AND to handling doubt. You were created with amazing abilities to bring what you imagine into reality. You are a steward of yourself, and as a steward, your goal isn’t only to protect, but also, to serve what is in your best interests.
When you use this framework to redirect your focus from doubt to the right kind of action, you take back control of yourself and your life.
My wish for us is that we can look back on our time here without regret. My mom can’t go to Italy, but I can make sure the lesson she shared helps others to get where they want to go!
If you want a little help with doubt by cueing more confidence and courage, check out my free trainings on these two important topics. They are free and come with worksheets and quote cards for you to practice these two necessary skills to help you to live an extraordinary life of meaning, contribution, and success. Click these two links to learn more: https://mailchi.mp/065e5e8d1899/courage-construction-invitation https://challengeyourvision.com/free-confidence-class/
I believe in you and your ability to figure out the next right steps for you! Leave a comment, ask a question, I am here to help.
Thank you so much for reading and until next time,
Coach “Defy Doubt”