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Bold Doesn't Look Back

Be so confident in your abilities that self-doubt never enters the equation

a woman with her arms wide open

Self-doubt is a parasite, multiplying and multiplying as it slowly feeds on your happiness. You can be flying high on cloud confidence for 59 out of 60 minutes of anything, and then one minute of self-doubt creeps in and it all goes to hell.

That’s all it takes.

But how can we battle the little doubt demon from creeping in at all? Is there a way to totally shut it out?

Thankfully, there is. You just have to be fearless enough to do it.

Here’s a story:

The year is 2024. The month, March. I’ve spent the last 12 years as a toxicologist in the pharma industry where my specialty is in animal research. As you might imagine, it’s been pretty draining.

I’ve also spent the last three months building a personal brand centered around being a motivational speaker so I can create a foundation that will one day allow me to walk away from animal testing. In the background, I’ve totally revamped my LinkedIn profile, created a speaker bio, put in place a strategy, found a niche and target audience, and created content. I’ve done everything I needed to do to get ready to go live, the only thing left to do was to actually launch.

My entire persona up until this point has been as a successful scientist, building and building over 12 years to a financially stable and rewarding career. I had my Master’s in Pharmacology and Toxicology, my board certification in Toxicology, my own business as a consultant for oncology companies, and was at a Director level role in a small startup developing drugs for autoimmune diseases.

My LinkedIn reflected my robust career as well. I had over 600 connections and a strong network of accomplished professionals in the industry including CEOs, investors, fellow toxicologists and the like. I had an extensive work history, several published papers and books, multiple certifications and various memberships in toxicology consortiums.

But here I was now, ready and waiting to push the button to turn my LinkedIn on its head and put out a completely different career and voice. And I was scared. I was worried about all the things my network would think, all the the judgement I would face. I knew exactly where I wanted to go and I did all the work to get there, but at the 59th minute that self-doubt demon creeped in and was just like “hey, I brought my friend failure”.

I waited a week. And then another week. And finally I said to myself, Dess, what are you doing? What was the point of the last three months if you are going to be too afraid to pull the trigger?

Long story longer, I pulled the trigger. The result was not what I expected. I was overwhelmed…overwhelmed by the support I received, the kind words, the DMs, the texts. I was blown away at how the network I built around one career came together for me for another. And the feeling was incredible. It was empowering. It was synergizing.

The Takeaway:

How did I pull the trigger? What went through my head that finally made me switch from doubt to doing?

  1. Choose to care less. I kept telling myself, who cares what they think - you are doing this for you. But that wasn’t enough. I actually had to consciously care less and that is a choice. You must choose to care less or not at all about what your mind is saying is failure or a fallout.

  2. Believe in your abilities. You know what you’re doing and you’ve worked your ass off to do it. You’ve studied, you’ve researched, you’re empathetic, you’ve weighed the pros and cons more times than you needed to and you’ve thought of every possible negative. Remember that you’ve done your homework to the best of your abilities, you just have to hand it in.

  3. Choose to care less. I know this is a repeat, but that’s how important it is. You can’t continue to look ahead if you keep caring about what’s behind you. You can’t win the race if you are looking at second place.

It is not an easy thing to completely block out self-doubt and it takes practice. But if you can train your mind to only look forward then you can empower yourself to only move forward.

Take up the space. Be loud. Treat this life and all it has to offer as an adventure, the good and the bad.

What fun it must be to live full of action and experience instead of shriveling up by stagnation.

Tell me, what are you going to do with this one wild and precious life?

The ocean does not apologize for its depth and the mountains do not seek forgiveness for the space they take and so, neither shall I.
Serena Akeroyd


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