Three steps to kick self-doubt to the curb—for good this time. By Janell Hazelwood

Self-doubt is a helluva drug, and I’ve been an addict for most of my life. (And apparently I’m not alone: According to the Dove Self-Esteem Fund, only 4% of women around the world deem themselves beautiful and 80% of women agree that every woman has something beautiful about her but do not see their own beauty.)

I had a conversation with my Granny the other day, and one thing she said struck me like a Heavyweight’s boxing glove clocks a bag: “I don’t understand why you’re so insecure after all that you have accomplished. There are so many women who wish they were in your shoes chile.” (Yeah, Granny read me for filth.)

“You deserved to be there. You have to learn to embrace that fact,” my Granny added with a tone of disappointment.

I’d recently gone through several transitions: a new job, a budding consultancy, a new home (I left New York to travel and go on a speaking tour) and a new state of utter solitude (via a break up and the cutting of a few very toxic ties.) I’d felt both invigorated and drained by it all, and to be honest, self-doubt was sometimes my most trusted and loathed partner in it all.

I could trust self-doubt because it kept me humble. I loathed it because it had a toxic hold on the elevation of my self esteem. Don’t get me wrong: I know I’m beautiful, intelligent and well-accomplished, however, self-doubt will have you sticking to a comfort zone and neglecting to push yourself to the next level.

Participating in that event, at the God-sent invite of DejaVu, was not only beneficial for the audience members who were eager to get knowledge and inspiration from us, but a much-needed blessing for me. Here are three key lessons I learned that have now sparked my renewed commitment to kicking self-doubt to the curb for good:


1. Get over yourself. No, seriously, get over yourself. Sometimes self-doubt can be rooted in ego. Here’s why: Self-doubt, at least for me, often directly correlates with the comparison of myself to another person as if they’re somehow more or less human than I am. It also helped to take away from the fact that if I am placed in a situation, it was divinely ordered and if God saw fit for me be there, I deserved to be right where I was. When I gave up my ego and negative thoughts to the power of that notion, I was able to humble myself. So now, it’s not about me and my hang-ups, but about why I’m there and the purpose of being used to serve. I’ve always loved motivating people and being a light, so at the very least, that’s what I strive to be.

2. Be prepared for your moment and own it. Who knew I’d be sitting on the left side of someone like Mona Scott-Young? (She was not on the original roster of speakers and was confirmed last minute.) Not two seats down. Not way across the table. Next to. It could have happened that maybe I was delayed and got the end seat or that DejaVu announced me later or earlier than she’d announced Mrs. Scott-Young, but that wasn’t the reality. Not only did I get to directly glean from a woman whose entertainment and mogul career I’ve admired (Google her beyond “Love and Hip-Hop” to get a full tea on her very strategic veteran-in-the-game boss receipts), but I also sat next to women I’d featured or worked with as a journalist. Now I was part of the story—not just an observer—and I acted accordingly. I spoke up, I spoke out, I knew what I was talking about, and above all, I was my unique self–unapologetically. Looking back, I’m proud of that.

3. Always recognize that six degrees of separation can dwindle in the blink of an eye. Again, as a journalist, I enjoyed being the documenter—the spectator, if you will. During the panel, I was literally rubbing elbows with women whose mere names drove traffic goals and shareability of stories. It was with one emailed invite that the degrees of separation became a non factor–at least for an hour or so. That happened through relationships. I’d been on a panel with DeJaVu and we’d kept in touch. That panel had been hosted at Lucinda Cross’s Activate Conference more than a year ago, where other power women I’d admired–and written about–were keynote speakers. By being humble, authentic and not afraid to directly connect with people in a genuine way, opportunities have presented themselves.

So give self-doubt its walking papers and get to the boss moves. He (or she) is taking up too much space anyway, and nobody has time for that. Push your own boundaries to the point where self-doubt is not even welcome or comfortable walking with you. Find ways to make self-doubt like that ex you finally deleted from your social media feeds.