How to Overcome Self-Doubt and Live Your Dream

“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will” (Suzy Kassem). Can you relate? I can. Most of my life has been clouded by self-doubt leading to anxiety and inaction. The talent and potential of countless people, including me, are often stymied by self-doubt. We fear failure but failure doesn’t kill our dreams, doubt does.

I have taken my feelings of doubt incredibly seriously and personally throughout my life to the point of paralysis. I formed a story about myself long ago that kept me in a small, protective box of perceived safety. I can’t do that, I’m too shy. I can’t try that, I’m not smart enough. I can’t accomplish that, I’m no leader. I can’t stand up for that, I’m too afraid.

We tend to think that heroes are extraordinary individuals who possess unique powers of strength, persuasion, leadership, charisma, and intelligence. It finally occurred to me that heroes are simply ordinary human beings who take a stand for what matters to them. They do it while trembling. They do it despite their doubt. Some heroes are forced into the position and then rise to the occasion. It isn’t that heroes have no doubt, it’s that they don’t take the doubt too seriously or, if they do, they take a stand anyway.

I realize that you and I already have what it takes to be a hero. We just don’t realize it. You see, it doesn’t matter if you are exceptionally smart, strong, ingenious, beautiful, rich, educated, intelligent, or charming or not. What matters is that you recognize yourself for who you truly are. You are divinity, star stuff, love! Not recognizing it makes it no less true. You can take a stand for what is important to you despite the fear and doubt. Do it with knocking knees and trembling hands. Do it despite feelings of resistance. Do it on behalf of your dream.

It seems to me that the moment we stand, all that we need comes to us, moment by moment. Once we take that first step, the next step becomes clear. We find that we have what we need right now, not for the future. Constantly searching for future resources can obscure present moment resources and lead to anxiety. “We are built for the reality of the present moment” (Jamie Smart).

If doubt rears its head, which it will do, you can recognize it for what it is, an incredibly compelling story that you buy into or not. Even when you do buy into it, you can take the step or stand despite the doubt. Yes, this is possible.

What do you dream, from the small to the vast? For yourself? For the world around you? Does doubt stop you from moving toward your dream? I want to assure you that doubt doesn’t have the power to stop you. It only looks like it does. Yes, it feels terribly compelling, so compelling that I bought it for decades. As compelling as it seems, it does not have the power to stop you from moving toward your dream.

How to overcome self-doubt and live your dream

Actually, there’s nothing to overcome so much as there is something to understand. To that end, you could:

  1. Recognize doubt for the story that it is and it will begin to release.

  2. Open your eyes to who you truly are: Divinity, Star Stuff, Love!

  3. Take a stand despite your doubt, if a stand is needed.

  4. Notice the resources available for this present moment rather than seeking resources for an unknown future.

  5. Relax a bit knowing that life is living you.

Email me or comment below and tell me what comes up for you as you read this post. Has doubt been a big factor in your life? Does being a hero seem impossible to you? I’d love to hear your thoughts and insights.

I invite you to Schedule a Session to learn more about how I can support you in overcoming doubt and living your dream.


How to Find Peace

What would life be like for you if your main focus became to love those around you? I mean, if this was your single greatest intention each day, how would your family life change? Your work? Your play? Your health?

This is the question I awoke to this morning. It began bubbling up in me yesterday after two days of light “sparring” on Facebook. I rarely post political things on Facebook anymore or comment on other people’s posts. Truth is, it doesn’t feel good to me. When I do, I attempt to be respectful and kind but it never accomplishes what I hope. What do I hope? That everyone will see things as I do? As if I have a corner on the truth? Absurd.

Yesterday, I had a small epiphany. I realized that I was trying to change these peoples’ minds. I wasn’t loving them. I was trying to change them. Ridiculous because I know these people to be strong in who they are and in what they believe. Just as I am. I also know that change comes from within, true change must come from within. I can’t effect change in anyone and attempting to do so is a kind of violence against them.

Then it occurred to me, what if instead of trying to change their minds, I just loved them? Love without attachment, without demand, without expectation. It’s not that I haven’t had this thought before but it hit me more viscerally. It hit me in a way that immediately relaxed me. Truth is, when I sit face to face with any of these people, I enjoy them. They are good folk. The tension that arises in me when “sparring” on Facebook has nothing to do with them. Absolutely nothing. To simply love them, changes me. That is to say, my fragile ego is no longer threatened and I return to peace which is our natural state.

I began thinking about how life would be if I just loved each and every person who crosses my path. My lovely partner, my neighbor who sometimes irritates me, the person who cuts me off in traffic, friends on Facebook, the easy to love and the not so easy to love. 

What if my first response becomes love instead of defensiveness? How would that shift the energy between us or at least within me? What if my first, and perhaps only, question becomes, what would love do? This is not to say that love has no boundaries. Of course, it does. But when boundaries come from a place of love rather than from fragile ego, peace is possible.

Byron Katie says, “Peace doesn’t require two people, it requires only one. It has to be you. The problem begins and ends there.” Yes, this rings true to me. When I understand this, I am free to love anyone, even those with whom I disagree. I don’t need my partner or friends or strangers to agree with me to be at peace. Peace comes from within and it is our natural state.

Jesus, Mother Teresa, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr, all understood this. This understanding transformed them, those around them, and whole cultures. How might this understanding transform you? Your personal and professional life? Your health?

These are the questions I’m asking myself today. I feel relieved as I let go of the need to prop up a fragile ego that needs to be right and to simply love instead. Sure, my ego may protest but my true essence, which is not the least bit fragile, knows that peace comes from within and love transforms. Always.

Email me and tell me what comes up for you as you read this blog post. Does what I’m saying here seem difficult, obvious, interesting? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

I invite you to Schedule a Session to learn more about how I can support you in finding peace.


What Lights You Up?

Hey, You. How are you today? How’s your heart? Is there anything lighting you up? Are you holding back from it? Can you identify how you are holding back?

I hold back from the things that light me up by holding onto made up fears, made up judgments, made up analysis, and made up beliefs. I know they are made up because they aren’t there every minute. They come in waves. Do you know what I mean? Sure, sometimes those waves seem endless and overwhelming. When I absolutely identify with those waves, believing I am those waves, I can feel lost and hopeless.

The truth is, we are much more than the waves. We are the endless ocean. There is vast calmness in the ocean’s depths. Our true nature is the same. Our essence is peace, well-being, resilience, creativity, and wisdom. The waves of thinking and emotion swell and recede, swell and recede.

I’m reminded of the 2004 tsunami that swept away so many. I remember a story of some people who were scuba diving when the tsunami hit. They had no idea a tsunami was passing right over them until they surfaced and saw the damage. Being in the depths saved their lives.

This understanding can save our emotional lives, too. When we become overly identified with stressful thinking and emotions, we can feel hopeless. We can become unclear. We can be swept away by the waves of emotions. Sydney Banks, author and theosopher, said, “If the only thing people learned was not to be afraid of their experience, that alone would change the world.” 

I return to this quote often because it has been a game changer for me. I thought I HAD to take my stressful thinking and emotions seriously. I thought I had to judge them, analyze them, manage them, control them, diagnose them, and fix them. I thought I had to take them extremely personally. It never occurred to me that I didn’t! I don’t have to take them seriously. Such a relief.

We can fight those waves, ride those waves, or we can sink into the calm depths of our true essence. And even when we can’t, because sometimes we just can't, the stressful waves cannot change or damage our true essence. I truly did not know that. I believed I was broken, damaged, and possibly even unredeemable. It’s difficult to bear up under such a heavy misunderstanding.

Perhaps you believe you are broken or damaged. Or maybe you just doubt yourself and your ability to live fully and passionately. I want to assure you that you are not broken. Your self-doubt is constructed, however innocently. All of those surface waves have absolutely nothing to do with your true essence. 

This understanding alone can bring tremendous relief and clarity. It can help you see what lights you up and how to move toward it. You are not your thoughts and emotions. You are eternal. So what lights you up today? I’d love to know.

I enjoy and appreciate your comments! The comment box is below. ❤️

I invite you to Schedule a Taster Session to learn more about how I can support you in discovering and taking action on whatever lights you up. 


Overcoming Fear to Take Action

Six years ago, just shy of my 52nd birthday, I bungee jumped 300 feet off this bridge in Whistler BC Canada. I did not think I would be afraid because I had been a rock climber and rappeler in my teens and twenties. I have no fear of heights, but when I stood on that bridge, I froze. The idea of diving off into the ravine was terrifying! I told the guy that I changed my mind and didn’t want to do it. Laughing, he assured me that I did want to do it! We argued back and forth for a minute or two. He told me that it wouldn’t get any easier and began a quick countdown.

I knew the longer I waited, the more frightened I’d become. I realized that this was something I did want to do, so I took a deep breath and dove. Let me tell you, there is nothing natural about hurtling 300 feet through the air toward the rocky river below. Nothing. And yet, I was safe. The rope held and I dangled happily at the bottom. I felt so alive and empowered! I dove despite the terror.

I find that life is very much like this. There are things we want to do, accomplish, and create. We feel the urge, the necessity, even. We know what we want. Then we get to the edge and freeze or we're like a deer in headlights. We may begin to talk ourselves out of it, tell ourselves that we really don’t want this, or that it isn’t possible to dive and survive. Worse yet, we may begin to believe the fearful stories we are telling ourselves.

I don’t know about you but when there is something I need or want to do and I don’t do it, I can feel terrible. I can feel ashamed. I can feel ineffectual. It starts to look like a monster,  keeping me awake at night. I can spin stressful stories about why I’m not good enough, smart enough, or brave enough to take the action that’s required. These stories take on a life of their own and can paralyze me. Just as I was paralyzed on that bridge 6 years ago.

The young man on the bridge laughed at me, with great compassion and understanding. He did not judge me. He did not shame me. He did not push me. He did playfully challenge my story. He did lovingly, with humor, encourage me to see past the story of fear I was spinning. He did not invite me to be unafraid, but he did invite me to take action, to jump despite the fear.

I can see how important it is to do the same when we’ve spun a story of fear for ourselves. I see how important it is that we not judge or shame ourselves. I see the importance of having compassion for ourselves, even gently laughing at our humanness, and taking action despite the fear.

I see the importance of acting quickly before the fear takes on a life of its own. I see, too, that even if it has taken on a life of its own, we can act at any moment despite what powerful story we’ve spun or how much fear we may feel.

There may be something you’ve dreamed of creating or accomplishing. There may be something you know you need to do in order to take care of yourself. You may be avoiding it because you are afraid. I understand. I’m afraid, too. And, like you, I’ve believed the fear completely. Yet, I want to dive. I know I want it. You want it, too. 

So, advocate for yourself, just as the man on the bridge advocated for me. If you can’t find a way to do it for yourself, then find someone who can advocate for you. Someone who believes in you. Someone who understands our human predicament.

“Come to the edge," he said.
"We can't, we're afraid!" they responded.
"Come to the edge," he said.
"We can't, We will fall!" they responded.
"Come to the edge," he said.
And so they came.
And he pushed them.
And they flew.”

― Guillaume Apollinaire

The man on the bridge didn’t push me but he did invite me and he did stand with me.

I invite you.

I invite you to fly despite your fear. I see your wings ready to unfurl.

How can you overcome fear to take action? You could:

  1. Recognize the fearful stories you are spinning.
  2. Take them a tad less personally.
  3. Don't wait for the fear to pass.
  4. Dive. The sooner, the better.

I'm taking my own advice today after a few weeks of taking my fearful stories all too personally. I feel encouraged knowing that you, too, may do the same.

I enjoy and appreciate your comments! The comment box is below.

I invite you to Schedule a Taster Session to learn more about how I can support you in taking action in an area of your life that is terribly important to you. 


What’s Missing From Your Life and How Do You Keep it Out?

I recently came across this question in a Steve Chandler book and it rocked me. “What’s missing from your life and how do you keep it out?” It rocked me because I see how effortlessly I can focus on what’s missing and give little attention to how I keep it out. I can easily fall into the trap of staying in the mire.

The first part of the question without the second part can leave me a victim. The second part opens up the possibility to become a creator. It is empowering. It is opportunity.

Things shift when I focus on the second part of the question. My perspective widens. My wisdom becomes accessible once again. If I sit with the question long enough, I can begin to see a way forward.

When I focus on the first part of the question, I tend to blame everything-out-there for what’s happening to me. I am constantly rearranging the deck chairs or I shut down and do nothing because what’s the point.

When I ask myself how I keep out what I most want, gently and with compassion, I sit a little taller. I become a tad clearer. I begin to see the truth that I have indeed closed myself. Once realized, I can allow myself to open again. I can take the next step if a step is needed.

Are you lying awake at night worried to death about how you are going to pay your bills? Are you lonely and disconnected from those around you? Are you struggling in your relationship, hoping and praying that your significant other will finally change? Do you have a calling in your life but fear letting go of your "shoulds" or "shouldn'ts" in order to follow it? Ask yourself, with love and compassion, how you may be keeping out what you most want in your life.

Yes, it can certainly be a confronting question. It confronts us and then it heals us. Listen, no one is coming to save you. That realization scared me almost to death, until I realized that I don’t need saving. You don’t need saving either. You and I are already whole. When we forget, we suffer.

John McCain's recent death reminds me of this. He didn’t forget that he was whole when he was a tortured POW. He understood why they beat him; he understood that it wasn’t personal. His body never fully recovered but his essence was intact. Whether or not we agree politically, he lived his life from a place of service despite the torture.

Your essence is intact, too, no matter what is happening out there. The question is, how do you keep out what you most want, no matter your circumstances?

I invite you to sit a while and reflect on this question: What is missing from your life and how do you keep it out? It could transform your life. 

I enjoy and appreciate your comments! The comment box is below.

Schedule a Taster Session to learn more about coaching and how you can allow what you most desire to come into your life. 


Focus on Your Dream and Flourish

What are your dreams? How often do you imagine what you most want? What do you want beneath that want? Have you ever considered what your soul most desires, what the deepest part of you longs for?

I have. There are times I get a clear sense of it and I am soaring. Then a pile of stressful thinking gathers in my mind and I become mired. Suddenly, my focus is on the mire rather than on the dream. Everything becomes about the mire. How can I get rid of it? How can I change it? What if it never goes away? It’s so boggy! I’m overwhelmed! I’m stuck here!

The mire takes on a life of its own. It can be rich, complex, and compelling. I could spend days or even years there! But my dream is nowhere to be found. I’ve lost sight of it. I’m afraid it no longer exists. Life becomes about the mire instead of the dream.

We often spend countless hours, money, and effort working through the mire but relatively little on our dreams. What would life be like for you if you brought your attention back to your dream? Your dream will inspire you. It will give you energy and passion. Martin Luther King didn’t dwell on the mire, he dwelled on the dream and invited us to do the same.

Yes, mire is a reality. Stressful thinking is a reality but we can move through it, or, better yet, let it move through us. We could take our focus off the mire and put it back on our dream. We could keep our dream right before us. It will guide us out of the mire. Dreams have a way of doing that.

When I dwell on the mire, I find that I am drained of energy and motivation. I become fearful and overwhelmed. I begin to feel hopeless. When I turn my attention back to my dream, I find courage once again. I find passion once again. I can see that my dreams are bigger than my fears, hurts, or disappointments and I am able to take the next step toward them.

What is your dream? Take time to discover it. Feel it. Let it live you. It will. It will give you the courage and peace to move through the mire. Spend your time and energy on your dream rather than on the mire and watch your life flourish.

"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." Eleanor Roosevelt

I enjoy and appreciate your comments! The comment box is below.


Schedule a Strategy Session to learn more about coaching and how you can become confident and courageous in the face of life's ups and downs and live your dreams. 

What to Do When You Can't Find Your Way

What do you do when you’ve lost your bearings? When life isn’t going along as you planned? When stress seems to overtake you? What do you do when you are whirlingly worried? When you can’t find your way forward?

I understand the angst, fear, and hopelessness. I understand wanting to run away. But to where and how can we possibly find our way when we are in a turmoil state of mind?

Imagine a pond that has become turbulent and cloudy. You fear that you have lost something in it. You are walking around in the pond, searching for what you've lost. The more you disturb the water, the less likely you are to find it.

I invite you to sit on the bank. Sit and wait. Wait for the turbulence to subside. It will. Wait for the debris to settle. It will. The pond will clear and become peaceful again. It is then that you will see what you're looking for, what has been there all along.

Too often, when we become stirred up, we continue the stirring, innocently, and we wonder why we can’t see clearly. Sometimes, all that’s needed is to stop and wait. It may take only a moment or it may take a month or more but it will clear.

When we are in the throes of the turbulence, we can forget this simple message. We can forget that it will clear once again. That's OK, it will clear despite our forgetting.

I'm grateful today for this reminder: “If you let cloudy water settle, it will become clear. If you let your upset mind settle, your course will also become clear.” Buddha

I welcome and appreciate your comments. The comment box is below.


Schedule a Taster Session to learn more about coaching and how you can become confident and courageous in the face of life's ups and downs. 

The Stories We Tell Ourselves

We were walking by our favorite pond that features many wonderful birds when we noticed one of the two purple gallinules (one of our favorites!) was limping and the other one was nowhere in sight. It appeared that the limping bird had broken her leg and the other one must have been taken by a predator. We were very upset! The worst part of it was thinking that the injured one was left all alone and couldn’t possibly make it.

The next day, we visited again and neither bird could be found. Both were now dead. Most certainly. We felt sad but relieved that they were no longer suffering. The following day, we found one of them! No limp! Perfectly fine! We felt happy.

Do you see how it works? We created a story about the birds. We felt bad with our first story, sad and relieved with our second story, and happy with our third story. We’ll feel bad or happy with our next story. The situation itself never changed! The situation simply is what it is. What changed was our story about the situation.

This is how we walk through the world. We are constantly experiencing situations, circumstances, and life through our thinking. Most of us are constantly spinning stories about what is happening around us. Depending on the story we create, we will feel happy or sad or any number of other emotions. Do you see this at work in your own life?

I’ve been waiting for some news recently. It’s news that will have a big impact on me no matter what turn it takes. Each day, I spin a different story about it. Each day I experience different emotions depending upon the story I spin. Some days, I feel relief when I imagine nothing comes of it. Other days, I feel relief when I imagine something does come of it. The scenarios I create in my mind are made up and yet I experience them in the moment as if they are real. The situation isn't changing but my stories about the situation are.

This is how our psychological system works. We create our lives via thought and consciousness. You could think of thoughts like the painter’s palette and consciousness as the painter. The painter has an array of colors available to her. She chooses which she wants to create with and she leaves the others on the palette. She creates with the colors she chooses, creating form from the formless colors. Thoughts are similar. They are energy moving through us but once we start painting with them, whether they are stressful or peaceful, we create our unique experiences, we create our lives. That’s why you and I and every other person can react or respond to the same situation differently. We are painting with different colors.

If we don’t understand this, then we are at the mercy of the stories we spin. If we have some understanding of this, then we can wake up to what is happening. We can remind ourselves that we are spinning this or that particular story. We can bring ourselves back to the present moment.  When we get caught up in the past or future, we can obscure our wisdom and become confused about how to handle what's before us. Waking up to the stories we are spinning and returning to the present moment brings us back to clarity and wellbeing.

Notice the stories that you are spinning today. What do you see? Just noticing can make a difference in returning to your clarity and wellbeing.

 I welcome and appreciate your comments. The comment box is below.


Schedule a Taster Session to learn more about coaching and how you could benefit. Carla's commitment is to help her clients overcome self-doubt and anxiety and return to confidence and peace in their everyday lives.