top of page

Your Courage & Confidence Unleashed!

Updated: Jan 10, 2023

When your self-confidence and courage are running low, it can be difficult to feel ready to take the leap into a new relationship, a new project or a new decision. But when we cultivate an unbreakable trust in our inner wisdom, we are able to daily grow our confidence and courage to respond to our deepest yearnings, dreams and desires. Get going today!

“Is it just me or is there So. Much. Noise. out there, keeping us in a constant state of distraction, un-centering and uncertainty? There can be so much going on at times that we struggle to get clear on our path forward. And even when we've clarified our direction, it can be easy to get pulled off track by the newest, shiniest fads or the well-meaning advice of those around us. How do we learn to go deeper into our own inner knowing when we most need it?

When I first began dabbling with the idea of starting my own business, I was in a state of inner confusion. I had moved to a new area when I got (re!)married several years before and overnight my career went from having an international focus (for the previous ten years!) to becoming very VERY local! I was not prepared for the sense of "shifting sands beneath my feet" that accompanied this move. Not to mention, my husband and I became pregnant with our third (his, mine and ours!) child basically seconds after we said "I do." It's like he looked deeply into my eyes in that moment as we stood on the beach sharing our vows, and next thing we knew, our youngest was on his way!

As soon as my little guy was finished nursing, I was eager to jump back into the work that I loved: peacebuilding, conflict resolution and intercultural communication. I'd taught and trained in China; researched, written and trained in the Middle East; worked on designing inter-personal and inter-group peace building programs in local communities in numerous countries. I had a passion for working with women and youth. But I just couldn't figure out how to translate all of that into a meaningful contribution in my new home state. I did have a local network in the area of Florida that I moved to, and because I do so LOVE connecting, I was able to expand my network pretty quickly. Yet, the landscape was "foreign" and frustrating to me.

I worked for several years in local organizations and colleges, and it was good work! I taught conflict resolution skills to university students, school leaders, community organizers and even preschoolers! I designed curricula and continued to contribute to research projects on international conflicts from my desk in the corner of our living room in Florida. I even did a couple of training trips overseas, but at the end of the day, it didn't feel particularly fulfilling.

The work was important, but I could sense that something was missing for me. I just didn't know what it was! The "ache" of not knowing what was missing began to grow....and grow, until this sense of professional purposelessness began to creep into my personal life. I looked around at my new family — my new baby, my older son, my stepdaughter and my wonderful new partner in life, and I felt...disappointed. They all seemed to be doing great And I was just.... Meh! None of the new hats I was wearing really seemed to fit.

I was beginning to feel lost and confused in my own new life, and everyone around me was struggling to know how to support me. I realized that in all of the adjustments I'd been making to a new place, a new family life, a new marriage, new jobs, I'd lost track of my inner voice amidst all of the noise, commotion and busyness. In my gusto to hurry up and settle in, I'd gotten myself involved in so many professional projects, community groups, family activities and new friend relationships that I had lost track of my inner compass.

I realized I had become a"yes" woman in all areas of my life. I was so desperate to find a new, external ground to root myself into that my inner, essential core was off kilter and way out of wack. I felt adrift at sea, and I really didn't have any idea how to find my way back to shore.

So there I was, lost and confused, but with too much going on in my personal, professional and community life to figure out where I'd gotten off track and how to get back on course. And my sense of overwhelm was beginning to leak ever-more-frequently into my home life and my work life. I knew I had to "get it together" and "find my balance," but... How does one do that when there's so much going on??!

I began a simple journaling practice, really more out of desperation than anything else. I promised myself that I'd sit down at the end of each day for JUST TEN MINUTES and track my day. It wasn't exactly a "scientific" system I devised, but it was consistent, and that turned out to be the key. First, I'd write down all of the day's happenings, the good, the bad and the ugly. I'd just dump it all onto the page as I yawned and struggled to keep my eyes open.

As I wrote, I remember battling with myself internally, as all of the feelings of frustration, struggle, fear, concern and overwhelm would come flooding through. After a long day, I really didn't want to face these again! It would be much easier to just click off the lights and hide under my bedcovers until a new day arrived. But the problem was that often I couldn't sleep. I'd stay up stewing over my life's path, trying to get that magical answer to this sense of growing emptiness in my chest, while the rest of my family slept peacefully.

So I kept on writing each night, and as I did, the feelings would bubble up — not all of them "bad" of course! But I'd be lying if I said that this wasn't a challenging time. And as the feelings came up, I'd write them down, line by line. Then I'd reread them, and sometimes while I did so the tears would begin to pour down my face. Of course, I was also exhausted!

What did I really need? What did I really want, I'd ask myself. I somehow intuitively knew that in order to find a way forward, I'd need to feel all of my feelings. I'd been going nonstop for so long, avoiding the "tough stuff," and it just wasn't working anymore. SO, I sat with the feelings of all of the pieces of my life that weren't clear. I sat with my fears that I wasn't doing enough. I sat with my pain at having spent so much time people pleasing and "doing all the right things" while ignoring my inner yearnings and desires. I sat at my tiny desk in the dark living room with only a small light to guide the words that came flooding out in torrents of emotion and I felt it all.

And as I did so, something small but wonderful began to happen. I began to hear a voice I hadn't heard for a long time. In fact, I really couldn't remember when I had last heard her voice. I remembered her from childhood and maybe even from my teenage years and into college. At some point along the way, I'd lost track of her. Perhaps, I thought, I'd outgrown her. She was my own voice, but she wasn't that noisy, judgmental, analytical voice that so often guided my life these days. Her voice was calm, simple, kind, curious, hopeful, inspired, clear, courageous, free and full of possibility.

This voice reminded me of my childhood, when I felt wild, free, unstoppable and at one with all of life around me. I was that little girl who was always up a tree, playing with bugs or animals, running through a field, grooming a horse, gazing at the sky, determined to go for it. This voice was the voice that had guided me for years, before the voices of culture, society, education, propriety drowned her out with all of their "supposed to's," "shoulds," "not enoughs," and "others first" messages.

At first, it came more as a whisper, and it felt hard to decipher. Often, as I tuned into this inner voice of my true, essential self, I'd begin to nod off! This was a good sign, I felt, because rather than the usual stress and overwhelm that would keep me tossing, turning and tense all night, this voice of insight and inner wisdom calmed me down, relaxed my body, and reminded me that tomorrow was a new day full of potential, that it would somehow all work out and that I didn't need to worry: I had what it took to see this through.

This voice was a hell of a lot nicer to listen to than that old, nagging, doubt-and-fear-filled one that had plagued my mental space for YEARS!

It wasn't hard to listen to, but at first I wasn't sure what to do with the messages that came through to me in those moments of deep listening. My inner wisdom, I realized, hadn't disappeared but it had certainly been dormant, and I really had no idea where it now fit into my busy, scattered life. I also found that my inner voice — though generally warm, kind and peaceful — was also quite defiant! It was like she was fed up with being ignored for so long, and she wasn't going to take it anymore.

I am not an angry person by nature, but a few months after I began my journaling practice, I found myself fuming regularly. My inner voice was pretty pissed off it turned out! My ache was soon replaced with agitation. My inner knowing was passionate and indignant — and ready to act! The first deep, true and unshakable insights that came through were hard "NO's."

As I mentioned, I had become quite the "yes" woman over time and a total people pleaser, and it turned out that this was very much out of line with what my inner voice's wisdom. At first, saying "NO!" to professional projects, community activities, others' requests pretty much just sucked. I was really out of practice for one thing. But, honestly, I was mostly concerned that if I said "no," people would stop inviting me, asking me, caring about me, and valuing what I had to offer.

Yep, that's right! I had been living under the assumption that the only way to get "good" and "valuable" in the world as a professional, a spouse, a mother, a friend, a community activist was basically to say "yes" to everyone but myself! And, by the way, that had worked really well — for everyone except me.

The short version of this tale of recovering my deep, true, authentic, wild, free, essential inner knowing and voice is that I had to stop caring whether or not everyone around me was pleased all the time. I had to begin listening to myself first, to take the time to really tune into what my deepest version of myself already knew. This was a knowing that was always available and present, if I was willing to listen to it! But I had to begin by carving out the space and time in my hectic life to listen. I had to prioritize my inner wisdom, practice accessing it regularly and be willing to follow it as it came through.

It was scary as hell at first! It certainly disrupted a lot of the expectations and assumptions of those around me that I would always be available, always say "yes," always go with the flow. But what grew out of this disruption was the courage, confidence and commitment to trust in and listen to myself first, no matter what. And from this self-trust, Women in Love & Leadership was birthed!!


bottom of page