I’ve always had a problem with self-doubt. That voice in my head telling me that I’m not good enough, not smart enough, not pretty enough, not worth enough. As so many people do. It goes back a long way. The first time I distinctly remember it sabotaging my life, I was 12. I was a dancer (from the age of 2), and it was my favorite thing to do. A big part of who I was, and still am. The new season was approaching, and my dance teacher (the studio owner) told my mom to be sure I auditioned for the competition teams. She had already told me, but I brushed it off and didn’t allow it to sink in. All I wanted was to be on the competition teams. I was ready for it – had been training my whole life. But that self-doubt took over and told me that I might not make the teams, and therefore had no business trying out.
I remember my mom talking to me about it, encouraging me and not understanding my reservations. Because of course I didn’t tell her the truth.
So instead, I explained to her that on top of school, modeling and my other extra-curricular activities, dance team would just be too much of a time commitment, and that I wasn’t interested in competing. I remember the feeling in my stomach when I told her. I was so mad at myself for listening to that voice giving me excuses and forbidding me to follow my heart and my dream. My mom understood my false explanation, and I did not try out.
That fear of the potential of failure is paralyzing.
As I got older, my dance dream was to be an NFL Cheerleader – specifically a Carolina Panthers TopCat. It was my dream for years, but I never told anyone. The only person who knew was my mom. And I refused to discuss it with her. My fear expanded… my rationale for not discussing it with her was that if I did talk to her about it, if she knew how badly I wanted it, that she would have been so excited for me… and if I didn’t make it, the pity she would have for me, and worse, the disappointment she would feel.
Nothing was going to stop me from trying out though. Not this time. The first auditions after I graduated from college (NC State), I tried out. It was so hard to keep this secret, because the process was long, involved, and I longed to share every detail. But I didn’t. I kept it to myself. And do you know what, I made the squad. I don’t think I had ever cried as hard as I did when I saw my name on the list. I fought so hard against that evil voice of self-doubt. I worked as hard as I possibly could, practiced every spare moment, and prayed a lot for the confidence to pursue my dream.
That was the best year of my life. I was dancing on the NFL field in front of 73,000 fans, cheering on my favorite team. Literally living my dream, and utilizing the training I had worked on since I was 2 years old.
I still struggle with self-doubt. I don’t know that it will ever go away. But I know that amazing things can happen when I refuse to allow that voice to take over, and instead trust my abilities. And I also now believe that if I go for something and don’t achieve it, that God has other plans for me. Even better than mine were. ❤️