This writer’s ready to slay dragons

Once upon a time, a tiny chatterbox girl loved to make her voice heard. She talked and talked and talked until her tired mother said, ‘Darling, can you please be quiet for just five minutes?’ And so the little girl was quiet. For five whole minutes. But then her voice clamoured to be heard and she started all over again.

One day, the little chatterbox girl disappeared into a deep, dark cave, and when she emerged, she had changed into a quiet, shy young woman who worried about what people thought of her, whether she was good enough, and whether she’d done everything right. When she was with her small group of giggling friends or her loved ones, she would share glimpses of the little chatterbox girl, but to strangers and ogres and beasts, she was invisible.

I ran a workshop on self-doubt last week for more than 20 women. And of course, despite my preparation and worksheets and obvious expertise in the field of self-doubt (I’ve written about six blog posts on the topic, at least), I had my doubts when I was getting ready to go. I was standing at the mirror, asking myself, Why are you doing this again? What do you have to offer? What if these women think it was a waste of time and money.

And then I stopped. Looked at myself. Said, Monique, you’ve got this. Don’t go saying otherwise. 

I said, You know why you’re doing this. Because you want to show others they’re not alone. You want to help. 

[bctt tweet=”Just be yourself. Show up and show them YOU. ” username=”MoniqueMulligan”]

And I did.

The idea for the workshop sprung from a blog post I wrote about my self-doubt monster. And I decided, since self-doubt is such a personal and yet collectively experienced feeling, to get personal. So I shared a bit about me, about my past, about the nature and WHY of my self-doubt and the deep, dark cave it crawled from. And I told these women that if they only took one message home from the workshop, I hoped it was that they were not alone.

Image: From Amanda Viviers

Fortunately, they took home more than that. We talked about our dreams and how self-doubt has sometimes made us give them up … or at least think about giving them up. We talked about how self-doubt makes us feel – not just doubtful – but how we experience it in our body and what that does to us. We talked about the danger of comparing ourselves to others. And we talked about knowing our WHY – which means, if you know why you are doing something, if you have a clear idea of your purpose, then you can tap into that to give you the strength when things get hard or self-doubt says hello.

As Frederick Nietzsche once said, ‘He who has a why can endure any how.’

Image: From Amanda Viviers

And then we got creative – each woman was asked to draw their self-doubt monster – which opened up all the ‘I can’t draw’ doubts’, but ended up being a cathartic activity for most.

It was an amazing morning, filled with terrific women and their stories, tips and ideas on how to deal with self-doubt, and some pretty yummy cake from Kent St Deli. And I’ve been asked to run the course again … imagine if I’d listened to my self-doubt monster earlier in the day.

[bctt tweet=”Not taking the challenge would have meant a missed opportunity.  ” username=”MoniqueMulligan”]

I found my voice, and now that little girl inside has emerged from her cave, ready to slay dragons. Especially those of the self-doubt kind.

If you’d like to try one of the exercises from the course, download your free worksheet here.

Oh, and before I could ask myself whether the women really got something from the day, I found this review on my Facebook page. For someone who loves words, this was a real gift.




Picture of Monique Mulligan

Monique Mulligan

One Response

  1. What an excellent post Monique. Thank you yet again for the gifts of your wisdom and empathy. Glad the workshop went well — although I never doubted it would! X

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