There will always be doubt
Ep. 307
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In this episode, I dive into how to navigate the inevitable doubts and fears that arise when making big decisions, especially ones without certainty. I share insights on how our brains resist change to keep us “safe,” leading us to second-guess and doubt our choices. Doubt doesn’t mean you’re on the wrong path; it’s simply your brain’s way of coping. By acknowledging and managing these feelings, you can continue to move forward and take action, even when your brain tries to hold you back. Listen for tips to keep fear from driving your actions.

Show Transcript
Hey, welcome to Lessons from a Quitter where we believe that it is never too late to start over. No matter how much time or energy you've spent getting to where you are. If ultimately you are unfulfilled, then it is time to get out. Join me each week for both inspiration and actionable tips so that we can get you on the road to your dreams.
Hello my friends and welcome to another episode. I'm so excited you are here. How are you all doing? I hope everybody is well. I'm doing well. Gearing up to head into summer with the kids the last couple of weeks of their school is nuts with the amount of activities there are. I don't know how people work and have children in school because it seems like an impossibility. So my heart goes out to all the parents right now that are struggling with 4 million events they have to be at while trying to maintain their sanity.
But it's all been really fun. I'm excited for the summer. That's also gonna be an interesting thing to battle with kids at home. And so my schedule changes as the seasons change. And so in the summer I tend to work less because my kids are at home, they're in camps and they're in some other stuff. But, um, super lucky that I get to kind of have that freedom to decide when I work and how much I work. And I purposely plan summers to not have a lot of launches and to really do kinda the bare minimum of what I have to do to keep everything running but not add as much as I do in the year when they're in school all day. So that's what's going on with me just in case you wanted an update, just dealing with all the summer things and I'm super excited about those.
So summer's gonna be fun. Lots of beach time for us in Southern California. The weather is getting warmer, the sun is out. It feels nice. I'm excited to be out with the kids. So yeah, all things good. I hope you guys are all well and you're looking forward to some fun summer things. Uh, we're actually staying local. I think we did enough traveling over spring break and so I'm excited to kind of explore Southern California and see the beach a lot more and do a lot of swimming. I don't know why I'm giving you this much of an update, but I just felt like I should. Anyways, on to what we wanna talk about today. If you haven't listened to the last two episodes, if you're new here, welcome. I would suggest listening to those because this is a continuation of that same discussion the last two episodes had to deal with the fact that we have too many decisions and how that paralyzes so many of us and what to do about that to sort of limit your own decisions and be able to be okay with not having the, you know, quote unquote best, most incredible decision ever, but just being okay with kind of good enough.
Um, and then the last episode was really about how do you get started when you don't know what you wanna do? And that really touches on how do you make decisions when again, it's not the quote unquote right one, which so many of us struggle with because we want some sort of guarantee that that we're never gonna get. And I wanted to just add on this topic to kind of a continuation of that because what happens for a lot of people that I coach in my membership, the Quitter Club, I can get you to sort of understand reframing your decisions. I can get people to understand how to make really hard decisions when there is no certainty, where there is no guarantee, which there never is. I can get them to kind of be on board. But then what happens inevitably every time nothing's gone wrong, it's gonna happen to you too, is you're gonna come to make a decision and you're gonna make a decision.
Sometimes you make the decision and you're like, okay, I'm gonna start with this business or I'm gonna try this other job, or I'm going to explore this avenue. This is where I wanna go. And then as soon as you start, especially if it's not something you're super passionate about, going back to the last episode, if it's something that's like, you sort of convince yourself that Hey, I'm gonna learn a lot, I'm gonna figure things out about myself, I'm gonna explore, I'm gonna use this as like learning ground. It sounds great in the moment. And then as soon as you kind of cut off other options, as soon as you decide like this is the path I'm gonna go, your brain is going to keep screaming at you that this is not the right choice. That you're missing something, that maybe this is all gonna blow up in your face or whatever.
All of the fears are gonna come up, right? Because your brain wants to keep you safe and it doesn't want you to fail and it doesn't want you to quote unquote regret things. And so it has found this comfort zone in staying stuck in spinning. Like, if we don't actually take a step in any direction, then we can't fail, right? And so I would rather stay here in this limbo area which doesn't feel good either. Your comfort zone is not comfortable by any means, but we will always choose familiar over uncertain even if the familiar makes us miserable, right? This is why so many of people stay in really unhealthy toxic relationships or in certain patterns that are clearly causing a lot of pain. But at least you know better the devil I know than the devil I don't. I'm so scared of what else is out there then I'd rather keep this.
And so you have to understand that about your brain is that your brain doesn't care if you're happy. Your brain's job is not to make you happy. Your brain's job is to keep you alive. Everything that it has been evolved to do is to just keep you alive. And so that it's, its number one evolutionary goal is to keep you alive. And so you not, you know, going out of the cave, you not stepping out into the unknown. You staying kind of safe and playing small will keep you alive. And so it's gonna keep screaming at you like, no, no, no, you gotta really rethink this. This might be the wrong choice. We might, you know, die or whatever it tries to tell you. 'cause it's super dramatic. It's going to do that. Let's not be surprised. People always come to me, I get a lot of coaching 'cause like they make a decision and they're super excited and they're super motivated.
And there's that hit of like kind of dopamine of like finally I decided I'm gonna pursue this. I'm gonna start the podcast, I'm gonna write the book, I'm gonna take the job. I'm going to switch careers, whatever it is. And then when that initial excitement wears off, when that initial high of just making that decision and finally feeling like, huh, okay, I can move forward. And then it comes to the point of like actually moving forward, they immediately go into freak out. And I want you to know first that it's completely normal. It would be weird if your brain didn't, it would be strange for you to be like, yeah, I made this decision and I have no doubts and I'm gonna keep moving forward. And so I, I want you to first normalize it like how human of me to freak out. Of course my brain's gonna freak out and I want you to be aware of it.
'cause I think a lot of times we think our brain is telling us some truth that like this freak out means something that oh, maybe I should listen. And I want you to just be aware of it as though you're just watching this like toddler have a tantrum, right? You're like, here we go. I knew this was gonna happen. Like I knew when I took away the ice cream from my toddler because she's had too much and she doesn't need that much sugar. I knew it was gonna happen. She wasn't gonna just give it willingly and be happy about it. She was gonna start freaking out. And I don't have to freak out about that. I don't have to think I did something wrong. I don't have to second guess all of my parenting. I can just kind of watch her and be like, I get it.
I get you're upset. I know you want the ice cream, but I think we've had enough for today. There'll be, you know, time for more later. And I want you to like think of your brain in that way. It's like, here it goes. Of course we're gonna freak out. Of course my brain's gonna tell me that I'm doing the wrong thing. And so part of the reason I wanted to have this discussion today is because I want you to really not be surprised and get really clear on the fact that you'll always have doubts about your vision or the direction you're going. Always okay? If you didn't, we wouldn't even need to be discussing this stuff. Like you wouldn't be listening to this podcast if your brain could just like make a decision and be okay with uncertainty and be like, no, I'm a hundred percent set.
I'm gonna do this. You'd go on your merry way and you would take all the steps that you need. But I think that for a lot of us, I think one of the reasons we get so stuck in trying to find the right thing is we think once I find the quote unquote right thing, then I won't have doubt. Then I'll feel sure right then I'll feel certain, then I'll have this like deep seated knowing that this is the path and this is what I'm supposed to be doing. And I just wanna tell you right now that that does not happen. Even if you are really passionate about the path that you're going on, even if it is the thing that you think is right for you right now, I promise you that there will be doubt because there is uncertainty because you don't know how it's gonna turn out because nobody can guarantee you how it will turn out.
Because the only guarantee in life is that things will likely go wrong in one way or another, right? They likely will not go according to plan. 'cause it never does. And maybe it goes better than you even expected. Maybe it takes a turn that will lead you somewhere you never could have expected. But regardless whether you pick something because you just wanna get started or you pick something because it's the biggest passion of your life, the doubt will creep in because the doubt is trying to keep you safe. Like doubt is not a bad thing. Again, it's like fear and doubt and all that stuff is actually very beneficial, very helpful. It keeps us safe. It's keeps us from like walking into traffic without looking both ways. It keeps us kind of like second guessing and and making sure we're making the right decisions. So it's a good thing to a certain point.
And then we have to be aware of our doubt. We have to understand the way that our brain works. We have to understand that like me starting a podcast is not the same as me. Like putting myself in harm's way. I'm not gonna die from this even though my brain thinks I am. If people see me putting myself out there, nothing is going to happen other than I might feel some feelings. I might get embarrassed, I might feel judged, but I can be okay. Right? And so I want you to just like really be clear on the fact that this doubt is not going anywhere. It's gonna be there. And so what do we do with that? I think Elizabeth Gilbert talked about this in her book, big Magic. And she's talked about it this before where it's, she knows, she gives the analogy I think of like it's coming in the car but it can't drive.
So it can be in the car. We can allow it to be there. We can tell it like, okay, you sit in the backseat, it's not going anywhere. I'm gonna get comfortable with this feeling. But you don't get to make the decisions. And sometimes a lot of us let our doubt make the decisions. We let the doubt be the one in the driver's seat. We let the doubt be the one that's constantly like doing a U-turn and be like, no, no, no, we gotta go back. No, we can't do this. And then our prefrontal cortex like turns the car back around. We're like, no, no, we've already decided. And then the doubt gets in the car seat and it's like, nope, we're gonna turn back around again. And we just find ourselves kind of going back and forth and back and forth. And so I want you to know that nothing has gone wrong.
If you have doubt, when you start questioning it, when as soon as you've decided something, your brain's like, well maybe this actually isn't the best decision for a business and maybe we're not good enough. And what if we do fail at this? And what if everybody does laugh at us? And what if we are supposed to be doing something else? And what if we're gonna get bored with this? And what if this isn't a big enough project? And what if it's too big of a project and what if we'll never figure it out. You know, on and on and on. Those questions will be there and it's up to you to hear them. And it's not to say that you have to ignore all of them. A lot of them can help you come up with strategies, right? Like I've always talked about. I want you to answer the questions, these rhetorical questions that keep you kind of spinning forever.
Like, what if I fail? What if it doesn't work? I want you to answer them. Yeah. Like what would I do if this failed? What would I do if I couldn't figure this part out? How would I figure this part out? Because that can help you kind of come up with strategies to overcome the obstacles that your brain is so helpful in coming up with right obstacles that you may or may not ever encounter by the way. But nonetheless, your brain will offer them up and so you can listen to them, but I want you to not be surprised that they're there. I want you to not take that as a sign that means, oh, this isn't the right idea. Because there's doubt. There will always be doubt with your vision, always. And I think part of this, especially as you're learning to find your own north star and you're finding your compass and you're trying to figure out where do I wanna go with my life?
I think it's a beautiful thing to constantly want to re-question and engage with these ideas, right? Like what is my definition of success? What is making me happy? What do I wanna do with my life? What legacy do I wanna like maybe leave? What do I wanna work on? What do I wanna learn, right? And in asking and re-asking those questions, sometimes doubt comes up as to what you're doing. Like, is this really as fulfilling as I thought it was gonna be? Is this taking me where I wanna go? Is this moving me along fast enough? Is this moving the needle? All of those are fine questions in theory, right? The problem is that when you let yourself be in this perpetual spin cycle because you're constantly trying to answer these questions over and over again as if you need to like somehow satisfy that part of your brain, you never actually get anything done.
And this is where I teach a lot in in my program. I talk a lot about short-term versus long-term goals. And I think that often you have to learn how to manage your mind to put off certain questions for a little while. And what I mean by that is like I can decide, hey, for three months I'm not gonna revisit this question. If I've decided I'm gonna put a podcast out, let's say I'm gonna do that because of all the reasons I've come up with as to why it's the best thing for me to do right now. All the things I'm gonna learn and I'm gonna make that decision and then give myself a certain amount of time that I'm not gonna revisit it six months a year maybe. And then I can revisit it, right? And then I can listen to the doubt. 'cause I've actually taken the time to kind of take some steps and see what I learned and see what I like instead of never taking the step.
Because I'm constantly like, but what if I shouldn't have a podcast? Maybe I should do a YouTube channel. Maybe I should start a blog instead and write, maybe I shouldn't do anything 'cause everyone's gonna judge me. Right? That kind of spinning will get me to never take action. The other kind where it's like I'm gonna take some steps and then I'm gonna reevaluate. That's actually not a bad thing. I think we have to do that consistently throughout our lives. I think we have to constantly evaluate, is this where I wanna be going? I tried this out, I've been doing it for a couple years. What do I think? What do I like? What do I not like? Where do I go from here? Right? And that can help us sort of navigate this path that we're creating for ourselves. Where is my path going? Is this what I thought it was gonna be?
What is good about it? What is not? I constantly have doubt with my own vision. Even in doing this, I talk about this very openly. I'm like, I don't know what I'm gonna be doing in five years. 'cause I leave that open for myself. 'cause I know what my brain's gonna do. I, I know that it's constantly gonna tell me like, but should we be continue doing this? Or maybe we should do something else. Or maybe we should go this way or maybe we should offer this program. Or maybe we should start this project. And I set parameters for myself so I don't spin out and I pick goals based on like short term and long term. Like, okay, for this year I'm gonna focus on this and I'm not going to let myself sway because I don't have the energy to continuously engage with my doubt.
But I hear it. I'm like, I always am sort of like talking to my brain to myself like, I hear you. I get you're scared. I get that. You think like this may not be it. You're right, maybe it's not. We're gonna keep doing it. We're gonna keep doing it and I'll learn more about ourselves. We're gonna keep doing it and let it come up like the next step. And maybe in a year I'll decide like, no, it really isn't it. It's really time to do something else. And I give myself that permission to do that. And by doing that, I allow myself to actually like keep taking steps and learn more about myself without letting that doubt drive where I go, right? And I let that doubt come along and I let that doubt help me like ask these really important questions about like what, you know, red flags was I ignoring when I started this project?
Why did I start it? What was the real reason? What am I trying to prove? Do I want this? What is the impact I wanna make? Is it the same? Sometimes I check in and it's like, yeah, all same super excited about this. I still wanna go full force. Great, that's easier. And sometimes it's like, you know what? I don't know. I'm having some second thoughts here. Let me explore that. But I'm not gonna let that dictate what I choose to do. And so I just want you all to understand like when you're making these decisions or when you're even coming up with what you want for your life, let's say as you're deciding what you want, like you have a secret dream to be a writer, you wanna write a book, great, okay. As every step of that way, you're gonna have doubt about that.
Is this the right time? Should I really write a book? Maybe I should start with a blog. Maybe I should, you know, I don't know, find an agent. Should I publish something myself? Should I get into writing workshops? It's gonna go on and on and on. And your brain thinks it's doing something useful. It thinks it's doing something that's like productive. And so you keep engaging in it. 'cause we're like, well no, I have to, you know, dot my i's and cross my t's. I need to know what I'm doing. But the reality is, is that we just keep engaging with this doubt that keeps us kind of in the same spot without ever taking a step as opposed to really understanding like, of course I don't know how this is gonna go. Of course I don't know what the right answer is here. Of course I'm still doubtful about whether this is even the right answer, whether I should even write a book.
Maybe I shouldn't, who knows? But I'm making a decision to do it 'cause it's gonna teach me a lot about myself and I'm gonna learn a hell of a lot and I'm sure as hell gonna learn if I wanna be a writer or not. I guess that'll answer that question. And so I'm gonna push forward and I'm gonna decide this for my short term goals. And there's still gonna be a doubt at every step, at every step, my brain's gonna tell me it's not too late to turn around. Let's not waste our time with this and I'm gonna be prepared for that and I'm gonna know that that's gonna be there. And I'm not gonna make that mean anything because I've decided that this is the best thing for me right now in this chapter of my life. And this is gonna help me grow and this is gonna help me get to where I wanna go.
And this is gonna teach me a lot and then I'll make the next decision when I get to the next place. You know, I'll keep learning more about myself and deciding where I wanna go. And so I guess ultimately the reason I wanted to make this episode is because I constantly coach people who come to me as if like there's some problem with the, like the fact that they have doubt is the sign that what, it's not what they should be doing that. Like if they were fully in love with this idea or if it really was the thing they should do, they wouldn't have any doubt. And it's, I've never met someone that doesn't have doubt about their vision. It's just not the way the brain works. And so I truly want you to understand that that is not a sign of anything. Do not make decisions from that place.
Make decisions from your prefrontal cortex where you can plan, where you can rationally think what is it that I want to do and what are the steps I need to do to get there? And why do I wanna do this? Get really solid on those and let that drive you and let the doubt come along. Let the doubt be there and know that it's okay and that it doesn't mean anything. And that as you continue taking these steps, that doubt will even help kind of direct you. It'll help move the, you know, the direction a little bit here and there, but it won't be the one that's dictating everything. Because I promise you, if you let that doubt dictate, you will spin and spin and spin and spin and never take a step forward. So let the doubt be there. Let it come along for the ride.
Just don't let it drive. The reason I wanted to do these last couple of podcast episodes is because I want you guys to get started in taking action. So many of you that are listening are like me. And I think that's why this podcast resonates. And we're all very stuck in our head. We're all very stuck in our thoughts. We're all very stuck in like rational, logical thinking. And we wanna solve everything with our brain before we ever take a step. And the reality is, is that there is no solution to this. There's no solution to uncertainty or to doubt. Life is uncertain. We have no idea where any of this is gonna go. And the more you can lean into that instead of trying to solve for it, the more you can like slow your brain down a little bit or quiet down on that voice that needs that answer that thinks it needs that answer in order to move forward. The more you show yourself that you can move forward, even with that doubt, the better you will become at actually living your life, at actually being out there and taking chances and trying things and experimenting and getting closer and closer to what it is you wanna be doing with your life. So get out there, my friends, with all that doubt and go take some action. All right, I hope you found this helpful and I'll see you next week for another episode.
Hey, if you are looking for more in-depth help with your career, whether that's dealing with all of of the stress, worry, and anxiety that's leading to burnout in your current career or figuring out what your dream career is and actually going after it, I want you to join me in the Quitter Club. It is where we quit what is no longer working like perfectionism, people pleasing imposter syndrome, and we start working on what does, and we start taking action towards the career and the life that you actually want. We will take the concepts that we talk about on the podcast and apply them to your life and you will get the coaching tools and support that you need to actually make some real change. So go to and get on the waitlist. Doors are closed right now, but they will be open soon.