Building Confidence Through Self-Validation Cycles
Ep. 190
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The root cause of all of your problems is a lack of self-validation. Let me explain…

This isn’t some self-love, woo-woo kind of thing. 

I want you to think about every one of your maladaptive behaviors: 

  • People-pleasing – needing other people to be happy with you so that you can feel good about yourself 
  • Perfectionism- needing everything to be perfect so that you can believe you’re good enough 
  • High-achiever- needing to keep achieving milestones to feel like you’re worthy 
  • Obsessing over what other people think of you – needing other people’s approval so you can believe you’re good.
  • Imposter syndrome- insisting on believing you’re not good enough when all of your achievements prove otherwise
  • And on and on. 

Every. Single. One comes from your inability to validate yourself.

Show Transcript
I get defensive if someone ever criticizes me or gives me any feedback because that threatens my own sense of like well then am I good enough? If I people please, if I bend myself over backwards and become resentful and don't do the things I wanna do just to make sure that everybody else is happy, then people will love me and I can believe that I'm good enough.

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Hello, my friends. Welcome to another episode. I am so excited you are here. Today is a good one because I think it's the secret to all of your problems. And I’m not even exaggerating. I will tell you more about it as we talk about self-confidence and self-validation cycles, which are key. And as you listen to this, if you start thinking that's me, I suffer from low self-confidence, I don't know how to self-validate, which I am venturing to guess is a whole lot of you because it's all of us basically. I want you to join me for the next round of Pave Your Path. I am opening up doors in two weeks. I'm gonna open up doors to the public on March 9th but I will be opening it up to the wait list on March 7th. And there's a limited number of spots in this group. The group starts in April, it runs six months. And so if you know that you need this help and you want to get into this group, I highly recommend getting on the wait list so you can be the first notified about when doors are open and you can jump in as soon as they are so that you can guarantee your spot. So I know a lot of you've been listening to the podcast for a while and you tell me and I'm so glad it's helped. And I know for a lot of you, you're wondering like is this the right time? Is it not? My question for you is like why are we prolonging the suffering, right? If you want to learn these tools more intimately, it's great to have awareness and we'll talk about that actually on this episode, but that only takes us so far, right? That's the first step. And then it becomes application and then it becomes getting in there and doing the hard work and really forcing ourselves to do the things that are uncomfortable. And having someone kind of be able to help us dig through our brain and understand why we're doing the things we're doing so we can stop. And so there is no better time than now. Like people always ask me, you know, like when's the next round? I'm like why would you want to wait six more months of suffering? If you're gonna do it, you might as well get a handle on it now. So I hope you join me. I hope you give yourself this gift of learning how to manage your mind so you don't have to suffer so much all the time. So you can learn to find clarity in what it is you want. So you can learn to develop the confidence to go after the things that you want. So you can learn to validate yourself and accept yourself exactly as you are. So you can lower the suffering. I mean I could go on, on, won't, but if you're ready to join us, if you're ready to take this work deeper and give yourself that gift and invest in yourself and start changing things, then go to and sign up for that wait list and put March 7th on your calendar so you can jump in as soon as the doors open. Okay. Now, onto this episode.

I wanna talk to you about the need to learn how to self-validate. And before I do, I wanna tell you why, why it's such a problem. Most of us, I would say the vast majority of people suffer from low self-confidence. A lot of us don't know that because we look at confidence in a very different way. And I'm gonna give you some ideas of how you can see if you suffer from low self-confidence. But I don't mean confidence in like a task, right? I don't mean you know how to write a good draft as a lawyer or you have confidence in your, you know, writing abilities or your ability to play tennis or whatever. I don't mean task confidence. I mean confidence in yourself and I’m talking about trusting yourself, accepting yourself, having compassion for yourself, not beating yourself up, right. We'll get into how we kind of build that confidence. But I think for most of us, we don't have our own backs. We don't have a strong sense of confidence in the person that we are, in loving ourselves. And I know this may sound all woo-woo but stick with me because it's really the root of every problem we have. So here's why I think it's a problem. One is that we are just terrible judges of our own competence, okay? Not confidence, but our own competence. They've done five gajillion studies on this. And every single one shows, especially women because we are socialized not to have high confidence, like not to trust ourselves, not to give ourselves the benefit of the doubt or validate ourselves, to constantly seek validation from other people. Women tend to do even more poorly. And so for instance, there was a study asking women to rate how they thought they were gonna perform on a test. And when they actually took the test, their competence and performance was the same as men but they consistently rated themselves 30% less than men. Right? Sound familiar? There was another study where women were asked to participate in a science competition for prizes that, and they were asked to participate before knowing how they did performed on the test. And only 49% of women signed up to participate versus 71% of men and women performed just as well as the men. Right? Again, they just like took themselves out of the game because they thought they weren't good enough. They thought they weren't doing well enough. Um, if you think about imposter syndrome, just as a whole, right? Like what is that? But just our ill-perceived thoughts of ourselves. It's like it doesn't even matter what the actual evidence shows. It doesn't matter that we have the degree, that we have the job, that we climb the ladder, that we get good reviews. Like none of it matters. I'm just gonna still keep thinking that I'm terrible and I'm a fraud and everyone's gonna find out. Right. And the reason that this becomes such a big problem obviously, is that because we hold ourselves back, right? We don't take action because like we don't have that confidence to go after it. And so, so many of us hold back, procrastinate, we hesitate, we question ourselves, we defer to other people because we don't hold that confidence in ourselves. And now again, I say women and I talk mostly about like what I mean is like people socialized as women in our patriarchal society. That's this doesn't mean that it doesn't apply to men as well. If you are somebody that suffers from low confidence, you likely do the same exact things. But it's just that these studies were done on men and women. So that's the data that we have. So this low confidence drives our inaction right? In the way that we hold ourselves back, in what we don't go after, in what we don't let ourselves dream about. In the book, The Confidence Code, the authors wrote like if we assume that desire is there, the only real inhibitor is the lack of belief in our ability to succeed. I want you to think about that. Like if you knew that your success was inevitable, you know like you knew that if there was no lack of belief in your ability to succeed, how now that doesn't mean how long it will take or how many attempts or whatnot. But if you knew like this is I'm gonna make this work somehow, maybe it wasn't this year, maybe it's next, but you'd figure it out. There would be nothing that could hold you back because you have the desire and you have the confidence to go after it. And so what typically stops us, and I think what stops us from even accessing the desire is that low confidence, right? We don't even let ourselves dream anymore because it hurts too much if we don't believe that we can get there. And so we try to protect ourselves by kind of dreaming smaller and thinking like ah, I'm okay with what I have and I'll just stick with this. Right? And so this type of low confidence does lead to us not going after the thing. I think the biggest thing I see people who have such manageable dreams when they come to me, right? Like the things they want are not that insane. People are doing them. There's lots of clear ways to do them. The only thing stopping you is that fear that it’s not gonna happen. And the crux of that is your own confidence in yourself to be able to figure it out. Okay. So there's that inaction, but here's the bigger problem I see is that low self-confidence drives negative action. And what I mean by that is I want you to think about every single maladaptive behavior that you have. I want you to think about everything that we do that we notice is not in our highest interest, right? It's not in our highest purpose, perfectionism, people-pleasing, the need for external validation, the inability to get feedback, imposter syndrome, all of it. Right? All of these things that we've deemed. And we try to deal with them by dealing with the symptoms, right? Like how do I stop people-pleasing? I have to like learn to say no. And we sit with that discomfort and we, you know, how do I stop perfectionism? Like I have to just like put out B- work and try to deal with the anxiety that I have when I do that or whatnot. Like we're dealing kind of with the bandaid of how do I get rid of these behaviors. But when you look underneath them all, the underlying thing that connects all of them is that need for other people to validate us, to tell us that we're good enough, right? If I do things perfectly then no one can criticize me or no one can find anything wrong. And people will think that I'm such a good mom or lawyer or wife or whatever. If I people-please, if I bend myself over backwards and become resentful and don't do the things I wanna do just to make sure that everybody else is happy, then people will love me and I can believe that I'm good enough. I get defensive if someone ever criticizes me or gives me any feedback because that threatens my own sense of like well then am I good enough? If I made a mistake, if I'm not the best lawyer, if my boss doesn't love me, what does that make me? Right? All of these things, all of the things that we do in order to seek other people's validation is simply to try to quiet down the voice in our own mind that we're not good enough. Like we want, if somebody else tells me enough that like I am good, I am smart, I am competent, I am capable, whatever. Then maybe I'll believe it. And here's the kicker on this: the really sad part of this is that it can never come from them. Right? We've all seen this. Think about the last time somebody gave you a compliment. What did you do? Did you just say thank you? Or did you discount it in some way? Did you start immediately thinking like no, no, this is nothing. I didn't do anything here special. Or it didn't take me that long to make this or whatever, because it feels so uncomfortable to like sit in our amazingness or our goodness or whatnot. Like we don't believe it. Or if someone tells you something, let's say your spouse tells you they love you or that you're beautiful. Or your mom tells you that, I don't know, your painting is great or whatever. We immediately go to the thought well, like yeah, you have to say that, you're my mom. You're my husband. Or you're my best friend. That's not really true. Right. So it's like it's hilarious. And I mean, that's also imposter syndrome, right? Everybody can tell you that you're great. Your boss can give you great reviews and it doesn't matter because if you have the thought I don't know what I'm doing, I'm a fraud, everyone's gonna figure it out. It doesn't matter how much you achieve. It doesn't matter what people say. You're gonna discount it. Like it can only come from you. Now, that's not to say if enough people tell you maybe you'll amass enough evidence to change your thought a little bit. Right? Like I think if you've gotten A+’s in every grade, up through your master's program or PhD or whatnot, and every teacher tells you you're smart. And like you start believing, okay, I'm probably smart. Like maybe I can accept that a little bit. Right. But that's just such a terrible way to go about validating yourself. Because most of the time it doesn't work. You still don't see it neutrally for what it is. You're still fighting it all the time. Right. And you need a mountain of evidence in order for you to believe. And I'm not even talking just about work. This is why when I say this is the secret to everything is because I notice now, like, you know, in the work that I'm doing, I'm in a lot of coach circles, right? I'm with a lot of other coaches. And I see a lot of other life coaches that coach on different niches, right? And so somebody might be coaching on weight loss or somebody might be coaching on like relationships or marriage or, you know, find dating. Somebody might just be doing general life coaching where it's just like general anxiety or unhappiness in life or whatnot. And everyone that I talk to with them is like look, we're all coaching on different things but we're all coaching the same exact thing. It's all a lack of self-validation. It's all a lack of personal self-love and self-confidence. That's it? It's like every one of us is seeking some solution in order to be able to feel comfortable in our own skin, in order to love ourselves, in order to like feel happy. That might be we think we have to like look a different way. We have to be with like we need someone else to love us in order to feel that way. We need to uh change our jobs. We need to change our marriage. We need to change, you know, all these things around ourselves and it all stems from the same exact problem. And so the solution to this, my friends, is to learn how to self-validate. And that just might be a very fancy way of saying like how to love yourself. And if you think that this might be woo-woo, I'm not saying it in a way of like sit down and like have a kumbaya circle with yourself and tell yourself you love yourself. But I want you to know that like when you think about it, if you could validate yourself flawlessly, effortlessly, which none of us can. But if you learn how to validate yourself, at least half the time, think about how much more you would be able to do because you would stop needing everybody else's approval. You would stop having to be on this hamster wheel of making sure everybody else in your life was happy or, you know, loved you or thought that you were the best or whatever the situation is. And so my advice for anybody is to like spend most of your time here to work on this. Right? And the good news is that you don't have to be born with self-confidence. It's not something where it's like oh, you either got it or you don't. No, it's a muscle. And some of us just haven't been taught how to do it. And so it's something that we can grow. It's something that we can flex and it doesn't have to happen in one day. Like sometimes people hear me say this stuff. And then of course, because like our MO is to beat ourselves up, they just jump into beating themselves up for taking external validation. Like yeah, why am I such a people-pleaser? I don't know how to stop this. I'm the worst. I can never say no. It's like that doesn't help anybody. Judgment never helps. You've just never been taught. Right. What we had been taught our whole lives is like yeah, seek other people's approval. Make sure everybody else in your life is happy with you. And so it's just gonna take baby steps to start redirecting that, it's gonna take baby steps to start learning like how do I go more inward instead of outward? How do I start asking myself what I need here? And then providing it for myself and being okay with how everyone else is gonna react? How can I be okay with other people not being happy about it or not agreeing with my choice? And so inside Pave Your Path, this is really most of the work that we do. And I teach you a self-validation cycle. Like how you go step by step, because this is something that you're gonna have to keep practicing. This is not something that's like oh, now I know this information. If by telling you this information, all of a sudden it changed your brain, none of us would need this. We have learned it in some form before. It's just that our other habits are stronger. And so you just need to keep practicing and you need to learn how to keep it kind of front of mind. And so the first step is starting by noticing when you're in a low confidence cycle, when you're in the position putting yourself down or not trusting yourself, not accepting yourself. And so that's the first step is just awareness. I say this all the time. And I feel like in my group too, it's like a weekly thing. I'm like listen, I know you guys, like people wanna find something and then they want to quickly have the solution and they want to stick within a week. And it, unfortunately it doesn't work like that. But I want you to know like how big of a step awareness just is. As a side note, I was actually um getting coached today. I was the client. I was getting coached on a feeling that I couldn't quite pin down. I couldn't understand why I was feeling this way. I couldn't even name the feeling really. I didn't know if I was stressed. I didn't know if it was like nervousness. If it was like a little bit of anxiety. I didn't know what it was about. I couldn't really figure this out. And so it always helps to just talk through it, to ask questions to help me, you know, rattle this thought in my brain, like what's going on that I'm feeling this way? And what was so funny is that as soon as I started figuring it out, like as soon as I started thinking oh, I'm anticipating feeling stress later this week because things are happening later this week that I, in the past, would get stressed out about. And even though intellectually, I understand that I'm not stressed about it now. It's just something that's going to happen. I started getting nervous, like almost panicking about that stress. Right? And I started almost panicking that I wasn't stressed yet. Cuz typically I would be a stress case starting now. And I would ruminate over it all week and I would drive myself crazy and I would write to-do lists and I would be, you know, this neurotic mess. And that's just not my MO really anymore. I really feel in control of my schedule. I know things will get done. I have it scheduled out. And so intellectually I've sort of moved on and yet I feel like my body hasn't, like the muscle memory, the nervousness in my cells still feel like wait, we should be panicking. Right. We, remember we get stressed about this and I didn't even realize that that's what was happening. That like I was almost getting upset at myself for not feeling stressed. And so I was creating this panic of like I should be a little more stressed about what's happening just so I make sure I, you know, take action and and do all the things I have to do. And the reason I say this is so fascinating is because as soon as I figured that out, as soon as I started realizing oh, of course. And I'm not from a place of judgment, not like what's wrong with me? I already know this. Right. It was like oh yeah, yeah, yeah. My brain's just going back there cause I think I should be more stressed than I am. And isn't that funny? Like I was just like very curious about it, like oh, of course. And now I'm panicking about that? Like that's strange but I can't even tell you, it was just like an instant wave of like relief that came over me. Like I just extinguished that panic. And I say that to say it was just the awareness of it. It's not like I had to come up with a new thought. I didn't have to re-direct my thoughts. I didn't have to practice a thought. I just saw it. And I was like oh yeah, yeah, yeah. That makes sense. I go back to this a lot. I didn't realize that's what was happening here cause I was just kind of busy in my day to day. And when I took this pause to figure out like that's what's going on in my body, this is why I'm feeling this way. It instantly went away and I've just felt super calm the rest of the day. And I I just say that to say that I think oftentimes people when I tell them that awareness is the most important thing, they don't know what to do with it yet. They're like well, no I'm aware of this problem but I don't know what to do. And I think that's often because we had no idea what to do with our thoughts and feelings. And when you start learning how to process feelings, it doesn't require a lot of doing, it doesn't require a lot of I need to change my thought right now. It's it allows you to just be with it. Be like okay, this is what I'm feeling now. Interesting. And that in of itself helps it dissipate. Like that slows down the resistance that so many of us have to feelings and so it doesn't keep it stuck. It doesn't make it bigger than it is. It doesn't add the panic to the feeling. Right. So I just say that's like a long-winded way of saying that like the first step for you in doing this stuff and finding self-validation is just noticing when you're not, noticing when you're seeking external validation, noticing when you're trying to get other people to help you feel loved or let you know you're good enough or to get permission from them in some way or to get whatever, their approval. And like when you can start seeing it, sometimes that's enough, right? Sometimes it’s like oh yeah, I'm going back to that. I don't need that. Why do I need their approval? Right? Why do I need their permission? How do I give myself permission? How do I come back to loving myself? And when you can do that, then you start building the foundation. And I call the foundation of self-confidence, the this triad, the triple threat of self-trust, self-compassion and self-acceptance. Right. So I did an episode on self-trust. You can listen to that if you want. And that's more of like how do I learn to really like trust that voice that I know has been there that I've been ignoring my whole life. Self-compassion like we were just talking about like how do I not jump into like normally we go from awareness to beat myself up like awareness to oh, I'm doing this again. Why am I like this? Right? Shame. How do we like get rid of that stuff? How do we start sitting in like of course I'm doing this cause I'm a human being and human beings do this and what do I wanna do about it? Right. How do I go to even if I try this and I fail, I'm gonna like have my own back. I'm gonna love myself. I'm not gonna use that as an excuse to self-loath. Right. And self-acceptance, like really how do I get to a place of just accepting myself, flaws and all, exactly where I am. How do I start realizing that like even though I can say I know everyone's not perfect. I'm still striving for perfection. I'm still holding myself to a standard that is unreasonable. How do I really start getting to a place of accepting like I love all parts of me, even the parts that I view as quote unquote weak or bad or whatever we wanna say it. How do those parts make me who I am? How do how have those parts protected me? How have those parts played into everything else that I have? Right? Because the thing is, is that you're not always, as you build self-confidence, the reason to build self-confidence is that when you go out into the world and you start doing things, right, when you go out and you try bigger things or you try bigger dreams or you go after the career or you shake things up in a way, you're not always gonna ACE it. Like it's not gonna always go the way you want it to, which is sort of part of the whole process. And this misconception that, you know, going back to the beginning of this, when we talk about confidence as a task thing, as like I have to have confidence in this thing I'm doing and that means I have to do it well every time. That's not only ridiculous but it's going to keep you stuck forever. Right? When you have this fear of failure, that failure means something about me. Failure means I'm I wasn't good enough or I'm not smart enough or I don't know what I'm doing, then of course you can't try anything new cuz by definition you can't be confident in something new that you're doing, right. You've never done it before. And so the only way that you can try new things, the only way that you can let yourself go out there and fail and get up and learn from it and move on and not beat yourself relentlessly for not being the best, for not figuring it out on the first try, for not getting the result you wanted. Right? The only way that you keep growing in that way is by learning to self-validate. It's by learning to grow your own self-confidence so you don't need the wins. You don't need the Ws in order to feel better. You don't need to be perfect. You don't need to hit it outta the park on the first try. You don't need other people's permission. You just get to beat. You get to try. You get to fail. You get to experiment. You get to explore. You get to show up exactly as you are. You don't have to change anything. You don't have to be anybody else. You don't have to have any more special skills than you have. And when you can do that, when you can master this self-trust and this self-compassion and self-acceptance, and you can start building this foundation of like oh, here I am again in a low value cycle. Here's what I need to do here. And I can keep practicing this and I can start building up that neural pathway. Then you become unstoppable. Right. Then you become, it it becomes easy to go after the dreams that you have. Because you're not letting your own self-concept ride on that. Right. I think for so many of you guys that come to me and you want to switch a career or go after a dream, the reason it feels so dangerous, because when we work through like the actual logistics of it, a lot of people come to me and they're like oh, I know I'm not gonna like be homeless or lose my house. Like I have enough money saved. I have, you know, enough. I can go back to this job in a year if I wanted. Like they already have worked through the logistics and then yet there's something that's holding them back. Right. And they know that it's like this kind of ambiguous fear but they don't know like what the fear is. Like the fear of failure. They sort of understand that. But the reason is is that like your self-concept is on the line, right? If you haven't learned to validate yourself and you're gonna put yourself out there in a big way, you're gonna like take that risk and do something that you haven't done before. And people are gonna judge and people are gonna question and people are gonna be worried about you. And your family's gonna ask why you're leaving this safe, you know, career to go, whatever, travel around the world, teach in another country, write a book, whatever it is you're gonna do. You start thinking like yeah, if this doesn't work out, what, like you know what your brain's gonna do to you in your normal pattern. It's like you're never gonna hear the end of it. Then that becomes paralyzing when there's so much riding on it. When we know that if we end up not getting the result that we want, if it doesn't end up becoming a resounding success, then we're gonna abandon part of ourselves or we're gonna spend the rest of our lives feeling like shame and guilt. That seems like too big of a bet to take. Right. It's too scary to put that on the line. And so we don't. And so we go back to that inaction, right? We don't do it. We don't go after it. And I want you to know that like oftentimes like we have the things that we think are holding us back, like the money or the finances, the reputation, whatever. Like I don't wanna ruin the networking that I've built in this company. But the reality is, is like it's just this I'm terrified of where my self-concept and my self-esteem will go if this doesn't work out the way that I want. And so that's why there's no more important work that you can do. Cause as you learn how to self-validate, then everything opens up to you. Everything becomes kind of a game at the, you know, at this point, like I think about nothing really matters if I succeed or fail at it in the sense that like I obviously want to succeed, but if I fail, I just learn from it. Like I'll never use it as a reason to beat myself up. I'll never use it as a reason to think I'm not good enough. I'll never use it as a reason to think that I can't do it. It’s just like alright, it's a data point. This didn't work out. So what else do I wanna do? Right. And that just makes life so much more fun. Just becomes kind of a game. Like what is it I wanna try? What am I willing to risk? What am I not? And the only way I've been able to do that is because I have built such a strong foundation in my own self-trust, self-compassion and self-acceptance. It's just not on the line. Whether this business fails or not, whether the next thing fails or not, I'll just never use that to like rock my core acceptance of who I am. And I want that for the rest of you because I know that that's the secret to getting you to go after your bigger dreams, to getting you to try and fail and try again, right? To getting you to put yourself out there, to getting you to see how fricking brilliant you are already. How much of the skills you already have, how amazing you could be, how much more like mind-blowing your life could be. If you stop believing these lies that you told about yourself.

So my friends, if you're ready to work on self-validation, if you're ready to stop all of these behaviors of needing other people to validate you and give you that external good enough feeling so that you might on some off-chance, start believing it yourself. If you're ready to start building that confidence and go after your dreams, I want you to join me in Pave Your Path. I want you to start working on this meticulously every single week for six months. I want you to go through this program and learn the steps and bring it back to yourself. And if you're not ready, that's fine too. I want you to start noticing: when am I in a low self-value cycle? When am I constantly seeking someone else's attention? Why am I doing that? What am I hoping to get from that? Right? How can I give my myself some more self-trust, some more self-acceptance, some more self-compassion? How can I start validating myself? If you do wanna join Pave Your Path, you can go to and join the wait list. And I will open doors for this round March 7th. If you're listening to this after, you know, March, the March doors are closed, still get on the wait list and you'll be notified as soon as the doors are open for the next round. Alright my friends, I hope this was helpful and I will see you next week for another episode.

Thank you so much for listening. If you liked this episode, share it with someone else. I promise you know somebody who also hates their job and wants to quit, so why not share the love? And if you want to come follow along for more, come join me on Instagram at LessonsFromAQuitter and make sure you say hi. I'll see you next week for another episode.