4 proven methods to deepen self-trust (and stop eating yourself alive)


No other woman on the planet has your same gifts.

Your perspective.
Your combination of skill and intuition.
Your drive.

But here’s the thing about your gifts. They don’t belong to you. At least, not to you only. They’re meant to be shared so others can benefit.

To do that, you’ve got to get out of your own way.

You know what I mean. You know the ways you hold yourself back. The hesitating. Second-guessing. Doubting. Eating yourself alive with worry about what’s at risk and what to do next. Questioning if you really have something to offer.

These behaviors – doubting and second-guessing – do not serve you.

To really put yourself out there – to give at the level you’re capable of giving – you’ve got to learn to trust yourself.

Look, I know that’s not always easy. I’ve owned my own business for 25 years. I’ve had my fair share of doubts and rounds of disbelief. When it comes to keeping self-trust alive, entrepreneurship is trial by fire.

Here are strategies I use – and you can use – to strengthen trust when you’re feeling vulnerable:

Honor your lived experience.

Life has made you an expert in life.

Do you trust this expertise? Do you tap into it?

Back in grad school, I wrote my first paper and let it sit in a sealed envelope on my counter for two weeks. Understand, this was before the days of email. I was too scared to send it in. Why?

Because I was one of the youngest in my class.

Because I was in the doctoral program, when I’d only planned for a master’s.

Because I’d gone out on a limb with my research – tapping into a very personal aspect of my upbringing.

I was terrified I’d be ‘found out’ as out of my league.

Eventually, I ran out of time to stall and submitted the paper, absolutely certain the professor would have nothing good to say about it. Guess what?

I was wrong. She loved my paper because it was unconventional.

While she praised the academic rigor and my management of research protocol, what really got her excited was how I’d authentically brought my own lived experience with the subject matter into the paper. My subject matter?

Adult children of alcoholics. Talk about trusting yourself enough to put yourself out there.

Consider, what do you have to leverage? What nugget of personal growth might you be dismissing or hiding away that is ready to be tapped? It doesn’t have to be deeply personal or controversial. Just honest. A simple representation of you.

Honor your lived experience. Trust it. Use it to serve others. Have faith that they will benefit from your journey.

Give yourself permission to be a working draft.

Perfectionism undermines trust. It holds you back. It sets you up to doubt your every decision.

Besides, it’s a myth.

There is no perfect.
There is only created and offered in the spirit to serve.

Take this blog post. Right now, I’m doing my best to write messages what will help you break through to deeper self-trust. I’m culling for strong metaphors. Vivid language. Compelling examples.

If I spent more time, could I do better? Of course. Is my innate predisposition to hold on to this piece – reworking, refining, and polishing? You bet.

But, I’ve got a deadline. If I sit on the piece because my writing’s not perfect, I’ll miss my chance to share anything with you.

And I want to share. Just as you do.

So, share! Let go of perfection and expand your opportunity to use your gifts. Allow yourself to be human. Create an environment that supports imperfection. Embrace imperfection and the room it provides you to grow.

Unleash your ability to actually do what you most want to do.

Ease up on yourself by asking:

Where might I be putting pressure on myself that others aren’t?
Where am I expecting perfection, while others just want progress?

Often, the rougher the draft the more valuable the feedback. Support yourself to be a work in progress. Trust in your ability to always learn and grow. And also – to be good enough right now to give what you truly have to offer.

Ask for support when you need it.

For 25 years, I’ve supported top-flight leaders to strengthen their trustworthiness. Across the board, the mistake they share?

Not asking for help when they need it.

Many of us struggle to reach out for support when we hit a wall. We assume other people are too busy. That we’ll impose. The truth?

When we make assumptions about what others may or may not be willing to give, we not only rob ourselves of their gifts, we rob them of the joy and satisfaction of giving.

Think about that.

Don’t you appreciate the opportunity to lift others up? To help them stretch and deepen their contribution?

Of course you do. We all do. Ease open your fiercely independent mindset and consider:

How might your request for support actually be supporting the other person’s development as a leader…as a person?

You don’t have to go it alone. None of us do. Anyone who has ever accomplished anything meaningful has only done so with help. What you want to accomplish is bigger than you.

You deserve to be supported to bring your gifts to the world.

Dr. Michelle Reina is co-founder of Reina, A Trust Building® Consultancy, a global firm specializing in transforming workplaces through trust.

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