The bigger my dreams get, the bigger my fears want to get. I doubt my abilities, my worth and my strength – sometimes often.

I know I talk a lot of motivation, but did you ever wonder how I know what needs to be said? Most of the time it’s because that’s what I had to say to myself to get over a hurdle or figure out how to deal with a problem I was having!

This past week it was particularly bad. I felt myself getting sick. Our emotions are intrinsically connected to our bodies, and feeling low will make even the strongest warrior weaken.

I was still feeling unsettled in my new work schedule. I was feeling axious about beginning a new training program. I was feeling let down by a family member who had bailed on me, and was letting what felt like the weight of the world settle on my shoulders.

And then I got in my car. I was trying to get to the grocery store, and I kept hitting red lights. I was hungry and I was still feeling a little gloomy.

And then I had this simple thought:

Well just because the lights are all red doesn’t mean I’m going to turn around and go home.”

I had to laugh out loud, it was so simple. I mean, they always turn green. And sitting at a red light is exactly like what my doubts and fears felt like. A temporary pause in the drive.

I was still on the way to my destination. I wasn’t going to stop driving there. I wasn’t going to just up and pull the car over and take off walking into the unknown.

And I kind of just got it.

Doubts, fears and insecurities are going to come up as inevitably as hitting red and yellow lights. And the thing is, they’re not really slowing you down. If you can see the red lights as just temporary stopping points, you can take the opportunity to reflect on your direction.  Reflect on your own personal responsibility in the things you’re struggling with.

Maybe I needed to stop for a second and remember that I CHOSE to become a business owner. I needed to remember that I put myself in this role, and MY expectations were very high. I did that.

So instead of doubting myself and getting all bummed out, what if I just took some time to reflect on my actions and took an active role in deciding what the next moves were going to be? I liked the sound of that! So sitting at that red light of self doubt was actually GIVING me an opportunity to plot new coordinates in my navigation system.

Haven’t you ever had a setback that felt like failure turn out better than you expected?

A few months ago my lupus become substantially worse. I was experiencing flare up after flare up and it majorly set me back from my training schedule. I was so frustrated not being able to work out like I wanted to! But during my recovery, I learned about some old patterns in my body that were actually causing me to put MORE strain on my joints during my regular training. So my setback actually allowed me to get the information I needed to train a lot more effectively when I came back to it.

You probably have a story like that too…

….a relationship fell apart, and when it ended you blamed yourself and wanted to give up on ever finding love. But while you were sitting at that red light of insecurity, you figured out some stuff about yourself that allowed you to bring a better version of you to the next relationship – and sure enough the light turned green and you zoomed ahead.

Sometimes it feels like we’re stuck at a red light for like a week, a month, a year! But it’s okay.

The best thing you can do is roll down your windows, listen to your music – let it in and embrace the moment – and don’t forget to smile at the other people stuck in traffic.

Because you’re NEVER alone on this road – we’re all going through our own road blocks and traffic lights every day.

What red light are you stopped at right now? What doubts are you facing, and have you given any thought to what your next moves should be?

What will happen when the light turns green?

Sometimes, the feelings of “I can’t” can definitely overcome the feelings of “I can.”

Believing in  yourself and overcoming self-doubt can seem like a daunting task at different stages of our lives.  Below are my 5 Steps to Take Today to help you on your way.

1.  Identify and ease your doubts – Learning how to recognize when your self-talk takes a turn for the worse is crucial. When you hear yourself saying, “I can’t,” a red flag should go up. Instead of telling yourself, “I can’t do X,” say, “I can’t do X yet. But I’m working on it. Doing this transforms a negative situation into an opportunity for growth. In the end, it’s about giving yourself a chance.

2. Stop listening to toxic people – Toxic people are convinced that everything is impossible, and they are quick to shoot down ideas. They’ll poison your mind into a state of hopelessness. Don’t let them steal your energy just because they’ve lost theirs. Instead, surround yourself with supportive and passionate people who can both inspire you and bring out the best in you. They will lift you up when you feel down and help you see the bright side of your darkest fears and doubts.

3.  Recall your successes – This one is tough. When you’re down, you’ll more easily remember the bad instead of the good. And oftentimes, the “bunnies and butterflies” pep talk just doesn’t cut it. So, I suggest writing a list. Grab a piece of paper; now write down your successes, big or small. If you’re a bit modest about your achievements, ask someone you trust to tell you the great things they think you’ve done. It’s refreshing and a great confidence boost. And finally, keep your list with you at all times. It will help you find your way back to yourself whenever you get lost.

4.  Trust and love yourself – You probably spend more time being your own worst enemy instead of being your own best friend. But you deserve to treat yourself better. After all, you have the rest of your life to spend with yourself. Think of it this way: Would you mentally abuse or condemn your loved ones? Would you let them suffer in their time of need? If not, then why would you do it to yourself?

5.  Give yourself permission to try…and try again – Self-doubt never disappears. Over time, you just get better at dealing with it. It will greet you every time you fall out of your comfort zone and whenever you strive to do something great. But know that it’s not something you have to fear or resent. Your doubts are only thoughts, not your future. Sure, something may go wrong. But if you never try, you’re losing an opportunity to improve your life.

At the end of the day you have two options; you can A. Let it crush you… or B. Crush it… #effselfdoubt

With love from the Trench kitchen,