“What would you tell your younger self?”
It’s a question I’ve reflected on many times and have asked many women. A common thread weaves through most of the answers:
Believe in yourself.
You can do more than you think.
Don’t let others define your worth.
Take the chance!
Do what you want.
Dare to be more ambitious.
Admittedly, I’m biased, but I believe we women are powerful beyond measure. We excel at multitasking. We are innately compassionate. We are natural bridge builders, peacemakers, and cheerleaders. We have nurturing hearts and can move mountains when we set our minds to it.
Yet too often, we sell ourselves short. Way short.
The voice of our inner critic rarely rests. It thrives on pointing out our flaws, focusing on our shortcomings, and dwelling on what we don’t have or haven’t done. It keeps forever striving, never arriving—waiting until “one day” when we finally have it “all together” before we can feel worthy or claim what we yearn for most.
Yet as Kirsten Neff wrote in her book Self-Compassion, “There is nothing to be gained for beating ourselves up for beating ourselves up.” Rather, what serves us is taking a fresh look at where we are unconsciously allowing this well-worn habit of dwelling on what we perceive is missing in us and around us to keep us from taking the very actions that would connect us to our innate sufficiency, and from truly knowing that we are enough already. Always have been; always will be.
No one is born with an immunity to self-doubt or fear of failure. Each of us has the ability to reclaim the power it can hold in our lives.
You are no exception.
You do that by refusing to let the voice of your inner critic dictate your decisions or limit your action. After all, when you buy into your doubts, it amplifies your anxiety about your current challenges and chips away at your confidence to take on new ones. In the process, you miss out on sharpening your talents, and the world misses out on the gifts they hold.
So how do you conquer the doubts and find the courage to live the biggest life you are capable of living?
You stop talking yourself down and start embracing the “flawsome” woman that you already are—fabulous and fallible, brilliant and blundering, innately lovable and wholly imperfect—all at the same time.
You stop letting self-doubt call the shots and start acting with the confidence you wish you had.
You stop dwelling about what you don’t have and start making the most of what you’ve got. (Which is plenty!)
You stop punishing yourself for past mistakes and start applying their lessons to live more deeply and choose more wisely.
You stop thinking about what you’d like to say and start having the brave conversations you’ve been putting off.
You stop saying yes to keep people happy and you start saying no to anything that doesn’t align with the boldest vision for your life.
You stop waiting for permission or perfection and start putting yourself out there, ready to fail forward and forge a bigger life rich in meaning, connection and contribution.
Because here’s the deal: The only way you can become the woman you most want to is by start acting like you are that woman already.
Strong. Brave. Resilient. Persistent. Worthy. Bold. Creative. Focused. Trustworthy. Compassionate. Respected. Valued. Influential. Unstoppable.
Now before you start second-guessing yourself (that path has a well-worn groove in your brain!), don’t think you need to know precisely what you are doing or exactly where you are going before you take the first step.
As I discovered, you just have to have faith in yourself that you’ll figure it out as you go along. Be kinder to yourself when you slip up. (Because chances are, that will be often!)
So if you decided right now to “own your enoughness” and to live from the belief that you are capable of more than you’ve given yourself credit for…
What inspiring goals would you take on (however audacious)?
What changes would you make (however hard)?
What chances would you take (however scary)?
Just for today, I challenge you to trust that you have all the resources you need within you to do whatever tugs most at your heart and to take one step (though two is also OK) in that direction.
Then tomorrow, repeat.
If you could time travel ahead 20 years from now, I’ll bet your older self would be whispering in your ear, “Go on, be bold. Take the chance. Trust yourself. You’ve got this!”
Because you know what… you have!
And you know what else? This world needs more women to own their power, embrace their difference and to dare to make their boldest mark on the world like never before.
So get to it!
Happy International Women’s Day To Everyone!
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—–Have Hope. Keep Faith—–
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