A little while ago I made the decision to dedicate myself more fully to my dream of living off being a life coach. Creating and pulishing this website was part of my plan to make my dream come true. As things started to fall into place, I was feeling really good, finally things are happening! At the same time I could feel doubt slowly creeping in... Will I be able to make it work? Do I have what it takes? In this blog post I share my struggles with self confidence, limiting thoughts and old patterns and I also share how I adress them and deal with them.
I really hope that this post will give you valuable insights and that it will inspire you to take action in your own life!
Enjoy the read!
Running into a wall
I am currently going through a very vulnerable process. I am gearing up to take my career to the next level and I feel ready to build a career around my practice as a life coach.
This process is facing me with many old patterns, fears and insecurities and it cuts right to the core of my personal growth process.
For you to understand the magnitude of this I need to give you a little bit of background: all my life up until two years ago, I had no idea what I wanted to do professionally. After graduating with a master in geography I fell into a hole, not knowing where to go or what to do. After finally seeking out professional help from a therapist, I slowly began to realize that what I really wanted was working with people, helping them thrive! That was my passion. It was an incredible feeling to finally have something in my life that I felt passionate about. I felt motivated to put time, energy and effort into getting into coaching. What I did not anticipate was the shadows that I would have to face…
Now that I knew what I wanted the fear of failing, of not getting it crept up on me.
The stakes started to feel incredibly high: ”What if I don’t make it!? How much is the advise and support I give to my clients worth if I’m not able to implement it in my own life, if I’m not able to create the life I want for myself, how can I hope to help others?" Questions like these started circeling my mind, leaving me discouraged and anxious. After my initial enthusiasm it felt like I had hit a wall. Given that my goal is to help other people figure their stuff out, talking about my own struggles with the very same problem felt scary at first. But I realized that sharing this process with you is actually really important. I want to show that fear and doubt are inevitable parts of personal growth. We can learn to work with these emotions and even embrace them with loving kindness.
Finding trust in the middle of turmoil
I knew that this was something I needed to look at and work with if I want to succeed as a life coach. I've been aware of this for a while but I haven't found the space or the courage to look at it until now. I am still learning to lean into my fears and doubts, finding trust in myself. Conversely this trust comes hand in hand with a distrust or scepticism towards my own emotions and thoughts. I am aware that growing up I experienced trauma (as I believe we all do to varying degrees) and that because of that, my emotional responses and my ways of thinking are biased towards self-criticism and imagining bleak future outcomes for myself.
The image of myself as successful, independent, respected has always been very blurry and far away for me. So I started to engage in a certain level of questioning scepticism with my doubts and fears. I am slowly coming to a point where two realities can coexist simultaneously: the pessimistic, fearful, doubtful, scared and young part of myself and the optimistic, courageous, certain, brave and mature part of me. I don’t reject my more vulnerable, fearful side but I take it by the hand and help it understand that it is safe, that I am there for it and support it.
It is still difficult at times to be aware enough to see which part is at the steering wheel. I still find myself guided by fear, catastrophizing everything, seeing myself as a failure but at the same time I can feel a growing awareness of these states and an ability to step in and take over the wheel from a place of trust and groundedness.
The roots of my struggles
I’m still exploring my past wounds, a process that I think will continue for years, decades or forever. I don’t believe that we ever get “to the bottom” of it all and I don’t think that that’s necessary or should be the goal. I do believe that we can learn to understand ourselves more deeply discovering new aspects and layers of ourselves, bringing us ever closer to our deepest core.
I know that a core wounding of mine is a sense of not being capable or smart, a lesson driven home by a school system that did not work for me. In my young mind, my self worth was directly tied to my performance in school which was oftentimes lacking leaving me feel unworthy and inadequate.
I remember many occasions where I sat down with the intention of catching up, of studying hard in order to get a good grade. Even though I was doing the best I could, I never felt it was good enough and I rarely, if ever, managed to see the results of my hard work and effort. Instead I would get lectured about how my lack of discipline or intelligence would hurt my future chances to succeed and that I needed to pull myself together. Constantly feeling inadequate was incredibly painful. I can in fact easily conjure that feeling again and can clearly feel it sitting in my chest as I’m writing these words.
Note: As I was writing this sentence a deep sense of sadness overwhelmed me. I got in touch with some very old and deep pain. I was barely able to sit with what came up, barely able to take care of myself in the whirlwind of emotions that emerged: fear, sadness, anger, frustration. I am glad it came up because it is exactly in moments like these that we can find healing and give ourselves what we needed but didn’t get in the past. I just let the emotions flow, welcoming all parts of me by just being present with them and reassuring or simply hearing them. This is a very powerful practice for deep, inner healing and something I do with my clients when needed.
The way that I believe that this is impacting me now is that it created this belief deep inside of me that says “You’re lazy, you’re not cut out for this and you’re deluding yourself if you think you are!”. This is an incredibly destructive belief if you want to try something new and challenging that takes a lot of effort over long periods of time (like for example becoming a life coach).
It is easy to then simply reject this thought as stupid and unhelpful, to tell myself to get over it. I believe that that would inflict further pain on myself as there are clearly parts of me that are enmeshed, or one, with this belief. I therefore think that it is important to find a way to understand, respect and transform this belief from a place of compassion and love instead out of anger and frustration. So instead of rejecting it, I started to examine this thought and asked myself: “How is the thought ‘I’m lazy’ protecting/helping me?”. This is a powerful question because it abandons judgement and changes the label, the reality, “I’m lazy.” into a thought, thereby reducing its power. As I spent some time reflecting on this question, I realized that its intended purpose is to protect me from further pain… How?
A new story
When I was younger my feeling of self worth was tied up with my performance and in whether others accepted me or not. School was an environment that made it very hard for me to feel good enough as I struggled to perform and didn’t get a lot of positive encouragement. Feeling unworthy, was very painful but I got that message over and over again. It might not have been said out loud but it was definitely what I heard. In order to protect myself from these feelings, I came up with the story that I was just lazy. It freed me from the need to even try, to ever really commit because if I did commit, if I had invested myself fully and then failed, that would prove that I’m not loveable/good/smart enough! While it was effective at protecting me, it simultaneously created a lot of problems down the line. To this day I’m struggling with feelings of inadequacy that hold me back from fully committing myself to the things that matter deeply to me. So what can I do? I can write a new story for myself, one that is empowering me instead of holding me back.
It is crucial that I’m not fooling myself, I need to believe and trust this new story, otherwise I’ll reject it on a deep level.
In the past few years, my ability to hold space for myself and to handle my emotions has grown a lot. I have gained many insights about my past and my woundings. I have found friends who recognize my gifts and who encourage me. Today, a core part of me knows how talented, gifted, smart, creative and loveable I am. I’m by no means perfect, but I come from a place where I would have never used those words to describe myself and using them now feels incredibly empowering. There is now another part of me that knows that this old belief is just that, a belief. It’s not true. It only becomes true if I let it guide my life and my decisions. This new, more mature part has the capacity to take care of the younger part of me that is still stuck in the old story. It also has the ability to show the younger part that it is safe, that it doesn't need to protect itself anymore.
I am ready to embrace a new story in which I recognize my strengths, see my abilities and gifts, recognize my weaknesses and embrace all of it in a loving, compassionate way. At the same time, I am grateful that this old story got me through a very challenging period of my life and that I can now see that it does not serve me anymore.
I hope that by sharing my struggles and my process, you gain some insights for your own process. I want to normalize the struggle and the fear that comes with going after our dreams. It feels vulnerable to share this as a life coach because there is some implicit expectation that I should have it all figured out. I want to dispel that myth, of course I struggle just as much as anyone else, but I’m also very skilled at addressing my challenges and my own struggles make it easier for me to understand and relate to yours.
If you are struggling with old stories that are holding you back from achieving your dreams I would be honored to support you!
Get in touch with me right now by filling out the form below, or directly book a coaching session here
All the best,