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Back in December, I put some polls up on Instagram stories. One of the questions I had asked was, “if you want to shift something in your life, tell me in three words or less what it is that you want to shift.”
The responses were aligned with everything I’m thinking and doing and with what we’re working on in the Inner Circle. We’ve been exploring things like slowing down, going deeper into yourself, figuring out how to proceed from that place into the life you want, and letting the “smaller focuses” be just as important as the big ones.
Ashley Nickels answered that poll, too. Her response was “radical self-belief.” Reading her response lit a fire in me, y’all! If we have radical self-belief, anything is possible. Doubt, fear, others’ judgments, a “better” time, and unsureness typically hold us back. But if we have radical self-belief, all of those things get thrown out the window.
We can talk about fear, doubt, rejection, having faith in yourself, and raising your hand and saying yes. If we take it a level deeper, though, all of those worries have far less power over us when we operate from a place of radical self-belief.
We think that our job is to make fear or doubt go away. In fact, our job is to learn how to live and work and thrive in concert with our fears and doubts. Trying to get rid of our fears, doubts, and other peoples’ opinions leads to us being angry. We end up fueling those fires more and missing the point.
Here’s my little whisper of encouragement: anytime you feel like you’re just churning for the sake of churning and the same things are popping up over and over and over and over again—try to pop back into yourself a little bit deeper.
Take a breath and ask yourself, “what’s underneath this? What happens if I take a minute?” If you can train yourself to practice that every time a challenge shows up to you, I promise things will open up in ways that will shock you.
Here is how I define radical self-belief: it is a far-reaching and thorough trust, faith, and confidence in oneself.
When I use the word radical, I’m not talking about political divisiveness. I’m talking about deep, thorough, full-ride self-belief. It encompasses everything. It is the mist through which we walk in the forest of our lives.
We live in a world where there are a lot of conspiracy theories being rattled around. Many people are peddling false stories, false ideologies, and honestly hanging on to beliefs that are wildly dangerous to this world.
We all saw this in full effect on January 6 during the insurrection at the United States Capitol. People attempted to overthrow the government based on what—from the inside looking out—could be their own radical self-belief and these ideas that were given to them.
Y’all, let’s be clear, that is not what I’m talking about. I am not talking about Q-Anon conspiracy theories. I am not talking about the beliefs of white supremacists.
If you are here reading this post, if you want to encompass this, it’s because there are things that you want to do in your life and the world. Those things are rooted in being of service and making the world a better place.
When I use the word love, I want to reference bell hooks’ book called All About Love: New Visions. The way that she explores the idea of love makes it very, very clear. She references M. Scott Peck’s work, The Road Less Traveled, which defines love as “the will to extend oneself to nurture one’s own or another’s spiritual growth.”
hooks writes that “to truly love, we must learn to mix various ingredients: care, affection, recognition, respect, commitment, and trust, as well as honest and open communication.”
When we can look at radical self-belief, rooted in love and for the sake of creating a more loving world, doesn’t that just open everything up?
Hooks then goes on to say, “to begin by always thinking of love as an action rather than a feeling is one way in which anyone using the word automatically assumes accountability and responsibility. When we are loving, we openly and honestly express care, affection, responsibility, respect, commitment, and trust.”
So how do you open yourself up to having more of this in your life? To be honest, I don’t have it all figured out. This is me stepping into the waters with you, with my preliminary thoughts based on my experience, heart, and things showing up for me. This is an invitation for you to come into the water with me.
The first way I want you to approach this is by remembering that the idea of radical self-belief is a practice. It is a lifelong commitment. It is not a destination or a finish line. And this is actually so important. It’s easy for us to think I’m going to listen to those podcasts or read these posts, and then it’s going to be fixed forever.
I wish that were true. I really do—that’d be lovely. But what I know is that we live in a world that is continuously trying to unground us. For many of us, the tendencies and the ways that we have kept ourselves safe don’t just go away.
As I think about radical self-belief, I am so excited to think about what is possible if I recommit to this every single day for the rest of my life.
If you read that sentence and thought, “Oh my god, one more thing,” try to take a beat. When we try to focus on all of the doing, on being productive, on our fears and doubts, committing to radical self-belief each day will absolutely feel like too much.
Remember, this is what’s underneath those feelings. This is that one deeper layer where you can sink your hands into the mud of it. And the mud is where all the good stuff is! That’s where all the nutrients and regenerative things are.
Being willing to take a beat and l
ook at what’s underneath everything makes you more capable of doing those external things. It increases your capacity for what you want while decreasing your capacity for other people’s bullshit.
The answer is not to just become the most productive person in the world. You are not meant for everything—you are meant for extraordinary things. Those fantastic things may or may not make any sense to the people around you.
Maybe you’re meant to have a beautiful flower garden in front of your house. It doesn’t have to just be about the business and the career and the family and the things and the boxes and the book deal and everything else society tells us to want. Have you been not letting yourself enjoy the small things that truly delight you? That is exhausting.
The world tells us we need to have all the answers. It tells us “I don’t know” is not good enough. The world tells us that not knowing is weak, that learning is what matters, that understanding is what matters, that having the answer is what matters. And that it is our job to be a highly-capable, highly-successful, straight-A honor-roll student. Our job is to know the answer as quickly as possible, with very little friction, and without inconveniencing anybody around us.
But guess what? If we have complete and thorough faith, trust, and confidence in ourselves, we’re allowed not to know things. We are entitled to experience humility—and not humility or subservience to some authority figure—but humility to the vastness of the universe around us. It also takes away the frantic energy that tells us that our worth depends on all of the things we know.
I am not here to make you wrong for doing that. That is precisely who our world tells us we need to be. So many of us are raised to recognize and tend to everybody else’s needs before we can even think about tending to our own.
We don’t have to live like that. Your needs matter just as much as everybody else’s. And not only that, but you are the only person who can fully tend to your own needs. By doing so, you’re more valuable to the people that matter most to you.
Radical self-belief is not about “fake it ‘til you make it.” It’s not about bravado. It’s not about pretending. Instead, it’s about showing up in truth and integrity.
The experience of stepping into radical self-belief often feels…not great. I encourage you to permit yourself to let it feel wobbly. Let yourself feel scrappy initially to do the baby giraffe standing up for the first time when the legs are all shaky and unsteady.
Here’s the truth: that’s how everything starts, y’all. That’s how the world gets made is with really wobbly, scrappy, messy humble, “I don’t knows.”
I’ve learned from doing this and showing up over and over. The wobbly, scrappy, I-don’t-know-but-here-I-go way is the only way for me. It is my job to grab myself by the shoulders and very gently and very lovingly get myself back on that path.
I want to get myself back onto the path of allowing the scrappy, wobbly, true-integrity feeling. I do that with so much love. An important part of the process is making sure that I’m getting enough sleep, moving my body, surrounding myself with the right people, and sitting down in front of my journal instead of my screen for hours on end.
This might be something that you live in for the rest of your life. You’ve got to give yourself a chance to learn that things are going to be okay. This is why we start with itty-bitty baby steps and not these massive leaps.
While you’re building your radical self-belief, you’re also building your discernment muscle. The more you believe in yourself, the easier it is to discern. Just give yourself time.
Practicing radical self-belief doesn’t mean that in any given moment, you are this beautiful beacon who just blitzes through your day with zero friction ever. Stuff is always going to show up, and stuff is still going to happen. There’s always going to be friction because we aren’t operating in a vacuum. We’re operating in a world that is complicated.
The question I have for you is this: knowing that the world is complicated, how do you want to be in it? How do you want to show up knowing that there will always be friction, knowing that we aren’t able to snap our fingers and make it all perfect and take away all conflict and take away all opposition and take away all of the things that make it hard?
The reason it’s so vulnerable to show up lovingly is because we know it can be taken away. We know that nothing is permanent and that it can slip through our fingers. And we know that we actually have very little control.
Collectively, the more of us who show up in this way, the more profound the available impact—as long as we’re willing to show up and fight like hell for the things that we want. And not only for the things we want, but for each other, our planet, the next generation, and the next. In that respect, the way that we show up every single day matters.
Let that be your call. Let that be the invitation. Let that be the thing that that that you think about when you fall asleep at night and that you think about when you wake up in the morning.
Register for my How to Be Workshop happening on Feb. 9, 2021 at 10 AM PST
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[10:41] Instagram Poll—What to Shift in 2021
[15:46] What Radical Self-Belief Means
[18:44] What Radical Self-Belief Encompasses
[21:37] How to Approach Radical Self-Belief
[31:21] Radical Self-Belief Can Feel a Little Wobbly
[38:40] Why I’m Inviting You to Cultivate Radical Self-Belief
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