In this season of giving thanks, I’m reminded of something I learned about myself nearly 10 years ago. At that time, heartbreak and sadness had entered my life. I remember doubting my faith in God, my ability to find a way to peace, and my resolve to carry on. I was angry and tired, and I questioned everything I thought I had known about my life’s purpose and my plans for the future. I kept thinking, questioning, and doubting. With time, tough questions, and thoughtful reflection, I made it through that dark time and created a clear path for myself personally and professionally.
As I reflect on this emotionally tumultuous time, I’m thankful for all the doubt that consumed me. I now see that as I was hashing through my overwhelming doubt, I was gathering the steam I needed to take a leap—a leap of faith, courage, and hope. I learned that doubt and hope are two sides of the same coin. Without doubting and questioning, I would have never gotten to the edge of the cliff. I would have never found the hope for something better and the mental fortitude to leap forward.
In life and in our careers, we have so many doubts about our ability to succeed, to perform, and to learn the skills we need to be successful. Instead of seeing doubt as an obstacle to overcome, it’s important to recognize that self-doubt is a powerful tool in strengthening our inner resolve. Doubt makes us ask tough questions and work through uncomfortable emotions. Even more important, doubt brings us to the questions that help us prepare for the leap—the questions that start with Why?
Why can’t I do this?
Why do I even bother trying so hard?
Why does it matter anyway?
When we ask why, and more important, struggle to find the answers, we are forced to reach into our core to find what truly matters to us. We find what really drives us and we learn our purpose. We begin scaling the mountain that is doubt, and if we push hard enough to answer those difficult questions, we gain strength and clarity. Then, hope starts to reveal her beautiful self. We can once again see what’s possible for us.
Why can’t I do this?
Because I need more knowledge or just need to focus. Or better yet, I just need to find a different way to approach this.
Why do I even bother?
Because this is so important to me. Because inside of me, I have the passion to make this happen.
Why does it matter?
Because I want this so badly despite my sadness and pain and all the obstacles in my way.
Doubt yourself, then pull up a chair and sit with doubt for awhile. Ask a bunch of questions and work through the answers. Climb the mountain of doubt and you’ll start to see the other side. When you have clarity and gain focus, you’ll be ready to take a leap. It’s not easy and I can’t tell you how much time it will take. But, if you keep asking and thinking and finding out why, you’ll see the other side of the coin. You’ll see hope again.
And, when you find her, take her by the hand and start planning the wonderful future that awaits you.