Believing in myself was a journey that took many years. It started when I decided to invest in spending time saying yes to myself, and no to things that I did not enjoy doing.
Here are some of the steps I took to build my belief in myself – I hope they help you too.
1 – told myself it was ok to say no – This was really hard because my whole life I have been a people pleaser. I want to make others happy, and do not want to cause discord. I equated saying no with being disrespectful, or not helping others. I had a long conversation with a friend who reminded me that the only person I need to worry about letting down was myself. “When are you going to start believing in yourself?”, she asked. So, I dug deep and found the things that brought me joy – and if it didn’t bring me joy, I did not do it.
2 -figuring out what creative outlets worked best for me – I love art, creating it, looking at it, teaching others a little bit about it. Photography was one of my first passions. I took a black and white dark room photography class and it was so freeing to create. To take photos of the world around me, develop the film, and then put my headphones in and just create with the chemicals in the dark room. It was in that dark room that I realized that I love making things with my hands. showing others how I view the world.
3 – started reading – self help and fiction – I love to read. I just often feel like it is a waste of time to sit and read a book when there are dishes, or laundry, or children that need my attention. I often would stockpile books and only read ion the car on vacation. I switched to audio books, and started listening to self help books. I do this in the car when I am headed to and from, and that has allowed me to feel less guilty about the time I spend reading fiction. the self help books I listen to have given me moments to discover that a lot of what I feel is rooted in the past, and that – I need to learn to move forward.
4 – accountability partner – I joined a Master Class and part of the first assignment was being assigned an Accountability Partner. At first I wasn’t sure I wanted to do it. BUT – this woman has been a sounding board, a supporter, a life line – and an amazing friend. We don’t do things the same way at all – but we know each others dreams and desires, and we push each other when things get hairy. Having someone who you check in with regularly about your goals is a huge help to believing in yourself as it gives you someone to ground you. If you do not have one – I highly recommend it.
5 – hiring a running coach – I love to run. I am just not very good at it. I was always getting hurt, or signing up for races that I couldn’t finish without walking. I wanted more for myself. So I found a running coach that I respected. I spent 6 month working out with her. She would give me a weeks worth of workouts, with a long run on Saturdays at a gorgeous State Park. Having that Accountability of a coach I hired to teach me to run was huge – because, while I may not be her client anymore, I do still run. Everything I learned from her I “knew” but I had to discover it for myself.
6 – investing in professional development – Spending money on yourself is hard. I have had a shift over the last two years from that of starting my own DS business, to investing in growing my blog, and my influence to create a more “coaching” environment. I have grown my belief in myself to a point where I want to help others believe in themselves. The need to invest money in learning was a hard step to take – but once I realized it was the only way I could help others, it became the easy choice.
7 – investing in personal development – Likewise, I needed to invest in my own personal development. Reading(listening) to books, listening to podcasts, spending time focused on my mental, emotional and physical health. When I made all of these investments in myself, I realized that the time, money, and energy I had spent was coming back ten fold. I realized I was worthy of the investment.
8 – spending time alone – This sounds so obvious – but – I never spent time alone. Once I realized that scheduling dates with myself were important, I started to believe in myself more. I schedule in bath time, walks, I take the backroads so that I have more time in the car alone. I go to bed early and sit on the deck with my coffee. Spending time with myself helps me to believe in myself because I remember who I am fighting for.
9 – spending time with friends – I suffered from severe social anxiety for years. I stuck to the same places, people, did the same things every day, every week so that I wouldn’t have to meet new people. In this process of believing in myself some of those walls faded away. I took a few more social risks. Met moms on the playground, talked to other parents at drop off and pick up. I worried less about what they thought of me. Actually- when we moved into our new neighborhood 3 years ago, I had a chance to become myself – instead of who I was pretending to be for years. I go out with these friends once a month. we spend time at each others homes, have cookouts, care for each others children with rides to and from school, pick ups from practice, and really created a community. It is hard to think of the time when I holed up inside and was afraid to go out for fear of what others think.
10 – Becoming a coach – When I decided to believe in myself – it gave me a chance to realize the ways I could help others. Our boys signed up for Track, and I of course started coaching. We were welcomed into a community. The running community stands strong. Helping teenage girls believe in themselves made me realize that my passion deep down was to be the person who helped others to find their best selves. When I gave to others was when I believed in myself the most. Now I get to ask, “When will you start believing in yourself?”
What will it take for you to start believing in yourself?
How can I help you do it?