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Seeing our Way through Doubt

June 21, 2012

“Doubt makes it impossible to commit ourselves.” – Sharon Salzberg speaks to the heart of doubt – the kind of doubt that takes us off track, away from what we want to do.  Diminished, we feel small, paralyzed, immobile. Caught in comparisons, one-up/one-down, we forget how much we know and overlook our rich life experience. There is a way through.

“Doubt makes it impossible to commit ourselves. We become unwilling to take the risk of giving a process some time, of allowing the truth to come forth. Instead of allowing answers to emerge intuitively, doubt demands that we know the answers immediately. Instead of drawing close to our experience, the doubting mind pulls us back from whatever the moment is offering so that we can scrutinize it – usually so that we can compare it to something else. And so we sit, thinking, “Am I doing it right? Am I doing it perfectly? What am I doing here? Continually comparing, judging, and assessing keeps us stuck and unable to see deeply for ourselves.” Sharon Salzberg, “A Heart as Wide as the World” (BTW: I love this book and dip into it regularly for her wisdom.)

Instead we can use doubt to realize our full potential. Seeing our doubts can impel us to discover the truth about ourselves. Once we find confidence in our own ability to see the truth, and stop distracting ourselves with unkind questions and disapproving chatter, we can face what lies below. Our core doubt, under all the superficial mental activity, is insidious unless we embrace it, take it in our arms.

Transforming doubt takes objectivity – seeing things as they are. Is it really true that we “don’t know what to do” or “aren’t enough” or “lack some essential gene”? We can always discover times or situations when these are not true!

Times when our unique skills helped someone in need. Moments when we knew just what to do. Honest thanks in a friend’s eyes.

Unraveling doubt starts with identifying negative self talk. Whether spoken out loud or inside our heads these phrases lodge in our body, becoming points of compression, aversion or pain.  Tough to create anew, impossible to feel inspired, and hard to take the next step.

Research shows that a 3:1 ratio of positive to negative self talk can transform doubt. What is a more truthful phrase that can replace the lie of doubt? We can search for the phrase beyond the superficial platitudes. Find the phrase that provides balm to our hurting heart. Feel the real truth of this new phrase and lodge this in our body – expanding – until it takes 3 times more space than the doubt. Use that 3:1 ratio!

When we discover faith in ourselves and a strong degree of self trust we are willing to take risks, grow outside of our comfort zone, and express our gifts wholeheartedly. We develop resilience. Resilience enables us to meet challenges as they arise with grace and equanimity.

How do you transform your doubts at home and work?

Every day I hear doubts, in every coaching and consulting session. We talk, shift the view, broaden your knowing. As you move past doubt, your wisdom is stunning! You never cease to amaze me. We discover that you know what to do, the next step to take, the direction to move your business or life for more heart, meaning, and success.

This is why I developed The Next Octave Leadership Webinar that starts July 19th. I’ve distilled several vitally important skills to build resilience. We’ll develop new strategies to overcome the 3 biggies: self doubt, dismissal, and diminishment. In addition,  the Nine Facets of Feminine Wisdom will empower you to fully appreciate who you are as a woman and step into the power of your feminine wisdom.

Warmest regards,


Thanks to Cathy DeForest for this beautiful lotus – reminding us our our upright grace and inspiring spirit.

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