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March 20, 2018

Determine your depth of doubt – and turn it into confidence

Wellness Empathy
03202018_doubt_scrabble PhillyVoice illustration/Staff


Having doubt and trying to figure out if you are doing the right thing is one of the most difficult things to do. It's like trying to see the back of your head without a mirror. You can’t do it, especially alone.

But not everyone suffers from doubt. Why are some people so sure of themselves while others struggle with every decision? What can those that have doubt do about it?

Let’s take a look at what creates doubt. First, everyone is wounded, no-one escapes their childhood’s without some soul bumps and bruises. Even if you think, but Stacey, I had the perfect childhood, my parents loved me, gave me everything, I lacked for nothing, trust me, there’s still some painful experiences that leave their mark.

To be wounded is to be human. What makes us unique is how we protect our wounds, which makes up the personality we show people. We create an image in hopes that no one will then see our wounds. This happens from the time we are born and continues until we become conscious of it. The image runs the show protecting the wounds we wish we didn’t have, leaving us feeling like victims of our own lives most of the time.

You might be asking what does this have to do with doubt?


How your image protects your wounding is how you deal with the world. The spectrum of this in relation to doubt is neurotic to narcissist with confident leader in the middle, empathic between neurotic and confident leader, and alpha/bully between confident leader and narcissist. See the graph below.

Graphic courtesy/Stacey J. Warner

Falling between neurotic and confident leader, you will most likely doubt most if not all your decisions. This is because you take other people’s feelings into consideration, you can actually feel their pain, you have a tendency to over think and you lack a certain amount of confidence in yourself. Most likely you played the role of peacekeeper or caretaker in your family as a child and your survival strategy for abuse was to leave your body.

It’s easy to see now how modern leaders of corporations and big business and successful entrepreneurs and politicians have come to be – they have little doubt and forge ahead.

If you fall between confident leader and narcissist you will rarely doubt your decisions. Why? Because you are more removed from your emotions, have a deeper sense of survival, which means trusting your gut without doubt as a means of survival, the need to appear as if you have it handled and are confident, not knowing any other way, and you also have less thought towards the feelings of other’s. Most likely you were shut down and cut off from your family, keeping your feelings in, seeing emotions as a sign of weakness or never being allowed to have them. This can also come from severe abuse where you learn to compartmentalize as a survival mechanism.

It’s easy to see now how modern leaders of corporations and big business and successful entrepreneurs and politicians have little doubt and forge ahead. Empaths are the perfect followers because they seek the confidence that the alpha bully leadership style presents. It’s been a symbiotic relationship but this is changing, slowly.

Empaths are becoming more aware of the role they play and are learning to become confident leaders. They are trailblazing a new norm, forcing leadership styles to change.

But how do empaths deal with doubt to become more confident leaders?

Advisers, Mentors, Coaches: Before making any big decisions, speak to advisers or friends. Be sure they are people you trust, that they have your best interest at heart, and are not responding from their own wounding or image. I highly suggest speaking to a mentor, therapist or coach. Stay away from family if possible as they are most likely too close to you to have a clear perspective.

Take Action: Act on the decision made by you and your advisers. This might sound obvious but it’s not. You will need to sit in the discomfort of the action and then the aftermath. For example, let's say you and your mentor decide you need to fire someone at work, you don’t like to hurt anyone’s feelings or "ruin" their lives but it’s been decided and you need to do it for your business and yourself. So do it, feeling horribly uncomfortable. Once it’s done, you will also need to sit in the discomfort of hurting someone but knowing you did the right thing.

Let it go: Easier said than done but so important. If your feelings are overwhelming I suggest this mindfulness exercise: look at the palm of your hand, with the other hand trace the outside of your little finger up while inhaling and as your round the top, exhale. Follow movement with breath. Do this with your entire hand and notice how different you feel.

Feel the change: Once the act is done and a little bit of time has passed you should feel a relief. It might take a day or a week depending on the decision. If you don’t, go back to your adviser and talk out the decision you made.

Once you’ve done this a few times with the help of your advisers, you will begin to trust your gut, and have a better feel for making the correct decisions on your own and will no longer need the help of advisors. You will have less doubt or at least know that doubt is part of your process and will have cultivated a way to deal with it. Through this you will become a better leader of your life and perhaps those around you.

Stacey J. Warner is a certified life coach, equus coach and yoga teacher. She received her bachelor of arts in drama from the University of Washington and currently resides in Los Angeles. She is the founder of The Intensives for Radical Healing, Consciousness, and Grace. Her one passion in life is to lessen the suffering of others through deep inner work and laughter. To learn more, visit:

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