The third and final step to begin the important work of overestimating yourself and your abilities is often the most difficult, learning to embrace the discomfort of change.
I have written often in my blog and talked often on my podcast, The Coaches’ Cup, about the discomfort of change. The kind of discomfort required for real thought examination and change isn’t for the faint of heart. It requires us to dig deep into our self-worth, our hopes and dreams, and our courage. It requires us to get up earlier, work harder, honor our plans, and closely examine our failures. But if we believe the reward will be worth the work, then we can make it happen!
Often we are afraid to make real changes in our lives because it requires rocking the boat. We may have to make others uncomfortable if we make changes in our lives. Even if we don’t make others uncomfortable, they may share with us their hurtful opinions about what we’re doing.
A decade after I finished my Master’s degree, a friend walked into my office, shut the door, and told me it was time to go back to get my PhD. Her arguments were all things I knew to be true; I was selling myself short in every way by staying in my adjunct position. I had been given gifts that I was leaving on the table (maybe even hiding in a box under the table!), and it was eating at me from the inside out.
The problem was that now I had two children under three years old. My husband’s job and our house were 90 minutes away from the closest PhD program, and I would have to be on campus at least three days a week. It was not going to be comfortable or easy for any of us if I started school now, and yet at 32, I knew if I was going to go back it had to be now.
So I took the plunge. I applied, was accepted, and started school. There was a new discomfort almost daily. In the first semester, my daughter got very sick, and I had to leave her to go to school. A younger woman who was a couple of years ahead of me in the program made fun of me in a class full of my peers causing me to cry for the entire 90 minute drive home. An older woman who went to church with me publicly called me out for leaving my children at home to be taken care of by their dad and a sitter while I traveled back and forth to fulfill a “selfish” dream. The discomfort was REAL.
But I am still reaping the rewards of that decision. My children were 6 and 7 when I completed the program, and they got to watch their mom work hard to earn her degree while still loving them, taking care of them, and even coaching their soccer and baseball teams. I have had an amazing career at two different universities working to create programs and lead departments. I have traveled to speak at conferences across the United States, and I’ve made a real difference in thousands of students’ lives. Now, as I turn 50 this year, I am planning to retire so I can become a full-time life coach. And that’s just scratching the surface of all I have been able to do because I made the decision to live in discomfort for a while.
The beauty of surviving the discomfort of change is that it becomes much easier to overestimate yourself. Sure, I still have moments of self-doubt, but I never believe I have to be 100% qualified to do something I want to do. I know for a fact that I can figure it out!
I know you have this same ability in you. Women are strong and amazingly resilient. The greatest honor of my life has been working with my female students—not to teach them writing and literature, but to show them their own worth and value in the world.
You are equally valuable and worthy. If you don’t believe it, then it’s time to follow the three steps I have laid out in the last 5 posts. If you’re ready to do the work to overestimate yourself, and you’d like me to guide you, simply schedule a free consultation on my website. I would be honored to show you how to Overestimate Yourself! Until then, much love!