Just under a year ago I shared my personal story about my childhood traumas and struggles. I didn’t share to get likes or pats on the back. However, your acknowledgment of me triumphing over obstacles felt really great. My reason for sharing was that I realized many of us have the same struggles, just stemming from different circumstances. It took me to reach rock bottom repeatedly before I had the courage to do something about facing my personal struggles.

No, my personal struggles are not drugs, porn, or the common addictions that people may have. It was worse.

It was my addiction to self-doubt.

It wasn’t clear to me until I dug deeper and found that the same chemicals released in our bodies whether we are happy or sad, frightened or excited. More research shed an even brighter light on how self-doubt was just as addictive as any drug. Self-doubt is much like self-medication. It numbed the fear by allowing me to hide and fall back on comfort when I lacked confidence in my own ability to take a risk or make good decisions in life, relationships, and especially my lofty goals in business.

No, I never doubted my looks. I’m as sexy as they come (smiling). No, I did not question my physical abilities. I was one of the most accomplished athlete’s you’d ever meet.

What I did doubt was my ability to reach my dreams of becoming a successful entrepreneur and being in the 1% based on my life experiences and the labels I would soon to accept. I fell short every time I’d compare my current circumstances to other successful entrepreneurs and the one percenter’s highlights. And there lies the dilemma. Comparison.

Self-doubt is a special kind of hell. It’s a complicated equation much like algebra. And we often run ourselves through it without questioning the variables.

However, this note to you won’t be about how to defeat your self-doubt. I will show you how to conquer it later. What I want to share is a story about why you should consider self-doubt as the culprit of you not reaching for your dreams and living the life you want.

The story I want to share is about a four-year-old boy who sat at home, playing with his toys. He’s hungry, but he doesn’t tell anyone. He’s tired, but only his posture reveals it. At four years old he can’t (or won’t) speak. Every day, his family wonders, “What’s wrong with this boy? Is he mentally disabled?”

When he starts school, his teachers and classmates think of him as a dunce. They try to teach him art and languages, but he doesn’t seem to pick them up like the other kids. He’s only learned enough German to get by.

In high school, he repeats his sentences to himself. Everyone thinks he’s slow. He applies to college but fails the entrance exams. Eventually, he earns his degree, but can’t get the teaching job he wants, so he spends his days working in a boring patent office.

But, through the many years growing up and thought of as a nobody capable of nothing, the young man told himself a different story. He knew he was good at something, and that something was science.

The young man was Albert Einstein and, in 1905, he shared four ideas that would become the foundation of modern physics.

Einstein was a genius. We all know that today, but it couldn’t have been further from obvious in his formative years.

Did he make the impact on the world because he was smart? Does intelligence shine through despite the odds? Probably not. Lots of brilliant people never overcome the hurdles of feeling like they don’t belong.

Brilliance was one critical ingredient in the Einstein formula, but an equally important element was his ability to overcome his self-doubt and keep working.

Today, there’s convincing evidence that how well you perform in life depends a lot on how much you believe you can improve when it seems like you’re not achieving anything. There is another, more precise way to make this statement. Perseverance.

Now back to my story…

Since I’ve found the courage to share my story, it opened up opportunities for me to travel the country doing keynotes at many prestigious universities. My favorite is when I get to talk with groups in a more intimate session. The main question stems from the idea of how I was able to overcome outstanding odds.

I reply with what I know to be the truth about all successes and failures.

“All the obstacles you face are matters of the mind.”

They usually get a puzzled look on their face as if I was going to confirm their belief that it’s some external force stopping them from living their dream. Then I proceed to talk about the 4 step process I created to face my own fears, which I found later to be backed by science. For those whom I’ve shared the 4 step process with, their lives have drastically changed for the better. Most of which have gone on to create massive success in their lives.

Before I became aware of my own self-doubt, I was afraid to share my story. And it held me back from helping others. So I’m writing this note to encourage you to tell yourself a different story. One of victory with you as the main character.

I’m no Einstien. He made an impact on the world in his own right. However, if it weren’t for me learning that it was my own self-doubt that held me back, then I wouldn’t have been able to impact the lives of the audiences I speak to and coach on a regular basis.

You are a genius too. What story are you telling yourself? And what impact would you have on one, two or thousands of souls if you would just chart your own course and endure the storms?

Consider whether self-doubt is the culprit of your unlived dreams.

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