What I’ve Learned From Self Doubt
Yesterday, I was searching through my email folders for something and I happened to come across some old letters I sent out to my email list back in like 2014.
To provide some context, I have to be honest here and tell you that I often feel self conscious sending out emails or sharing on social media. I can’t even explain why.
Sometimes I struggle with the thought that sharing a picture of myself may come across conceited. Or that sharing what’s on my mind may come across self-important.
I know that this way of thinking isn’t serving me or anyone else. And it’s funny, because when I see someone else share advice or share a photo of themselves, I *never* think to myself “Wow, what a know-it-all” or “Jeez, she really thinks a lot of herself, doesn’t she?”
These thoughts literally don’t even cross my mind.
Instead, I’m happy for the person. Or I connect with them. Feel inspired by them. Or, if I’m honest, sometimes I’m even a little envious that they can show up so confidently and gracefully.
So why then do I doubt myself when I get ready to post things?
I have no idea. But I doubt everything.
Just recently, I had the thought that maybe I should take a class to help me learn how to communicate better. That maybe I could find one that could help me figure out how to show up and be personable online.
I love connecting with other people, and I know these things are good for business, too. But I’d convinced myself that I just wasn’t good at it. That I needed help to figure out how to get better.
But you know what’s crazy?
These old emails I ran across are GREAT. I used to be an awesome writer. (Let me pause while I take a deep breath and just receive that about myself.)
And it was surreal, because I seriously felt like I was reading things that were written by someone else.
The emails sound so confident. So self-assured. So personable. But not at all stuck up like I’ve been worried about.
I simply showed up. I shared my advice, and I shared what was on my heart.
If I was feeling mommy guilt because I’d been working a lot, I shared it.
If I was experiencing fear about something new I had coming up, I shared it.
And you know what?
People responded. They connected.
I found so many old messages from other photographers, other moms, other business owners, that all replied to my emails saying things like “Thank you so much for sharing this!” or “I felt like I was the only one who thought this way.” Or “I really needed to hear this today.”
And can I be really honest with you?
I started crying reading through it all.
Because somewhere along the way I stopped showing up authentically.
I stopped being myself.
At some point I allowed myself to become so concerned with making sure I didn’t sound like I was “getting too big for my britches” or making sure that I didn’t come across like I thought too highly of myself, that I stopped connecting.
I stopped sharing what was on my heart or what I was struggling with, and I started sending bland emails like “Hey, here’s a tutorial that may help you.”
Not even: “Here’s an awesome tutorial I think you’ll love!”
It may help you. You might enjoy this. If you’re interested.
Those kinds of generic catch-alls you use to avoid sounding too confident in your own abilities.
But what in the world is wrong with being confident??
So, today, instead of blandly telling you about a tutorial that I most likely had a blast creating and hope you freaking LOVE, I wanted to take a second to tell you that it’s okay to be you.
It’s more than okay.
Show up. Be bold. Be unapologetic. Post that photo. Share your thoughts.
It’s not obnoxious or rude or annoying to be yourself.
Somewhere along the way, I forgot that.
So just in case you forgot too, I wanted to write you a little reminder:
Don’t be afraid to shine. Don’t feel conceited for sharing your joys and your triumphs. And don’t feel stupid for sharing your failures.
You may not be everyone’s cup of tea. I won’t either.
That’s entirely okay.
If someone doesn’t connect with you, it’s super easy to unfollow or unsubscribe.
And if they do? It should have absolutely no bearing or effect on how you show up in the world.
Because you know what’s worse than showing up authentically and having someone not connect with you?
Not showing up authentically and connecting with no one.
Trust me, you don’t want to wake up one day and realize that you used to fully embody everything you currently wish you were, but you stifled it right out of yourself by being too hard on yourself and hiding away for 5 years.
You are amazing. You truly are. And you’ve got people out there that would really love to hear what you’re going through and what you think.
They want to know that they aren’t alone. That your amazing self–someone they admire and adore–goes through the very same things.
Human connection is vital. To your life, to your business, to your happiness.
It’s so important.
So, if you’ve been hiding yourself away because you feel like you have to maintain a professional persona, or because you don’t think you have anything important to say, or because you doubt your abilities, or for any reason at all, I want to encourage you to STOP.
You don’t need my permission to show up, but you absolutely have it.
Go out there and shine, my sweet friend.
I’ll do it with you.
Thank you, sincerely, for being here.
I don’t think I say it nearly enough, but I genuinely value and appreciate you and I’m truly thankful that you’re here. Whether that’s here on the site, watching my tutorials. Or on my email list, reading my emails. And on social media, commenting on my posts. Thank you for showing up for me and allowing me to share what I do with you. This work and this profession would be incredibly lonely without you. I’m forever grateful.