Get free tips on life, love and sisterhood

Get free tips on life, love
and sisterhood

Join the Movement

The antidote to self-doubt.

Have you ever been invited to step right up to the plate, and found you could not swing?

Or turned down an opportunity for advancement, because you just didn’t feel ready to advance?

Have you backed up against the wall when the door to success swung wide open for you?

You are not alone.
Most women are challenged by an unexpectedly wonderful chance to dance.

I worked with a student recently, named Jackie. She had created an incredible new product line with stunning branding, and had envisioned and planned the next five years of her new company’s growth.

Yet she came to me, complaining that she was “completely unprepared” for the next level of development, which was going to include investors.

She already had an investor ready to give her the money she needed, but she felt like she didn’t have anything significant to bring to the party because she’d never done anything like this before.

What is up with that? Jackie had every reason to be confident – she’s talented, skilled, and successful. But here she was, getting derailed by self-doubt in the face of her next expansion.

Way too often, a woman’s first response to a new opportunity is, “I can’t. I’m not that good yet. There’s probably someone more qualified than me.” We exclude ourselves based on our perceived lack.

This is a typical experience for a woman—but it’s very different than what a man would be experiencing. On the whole, men suffer more from over-confidence than lack thereof.

It’s not that men don’t doubt themselves; but they’re less likely to allow their doubts to stop them.

Ernesto Reuben, a professor at Columbia Business School, has come up with a term for this phenomenon: honest overconfidence.

In a study he published in 2011, men consistently rated their performance on a set of math problems to be about 30 percent better than it was—compared to only 15 percent for women.

In the working world, this translates into a sense of self-confidence without the need for evidence. If a guy doesn’t know how to do something—like be a CEO of a company—he’ll still accept the job. He’s got an innate confidence that he’ll be able to figure it out.

By virtue of living inside of this culture, men—especially white men—trust their own competency. They trust they can step up to any kind of plate.

We women, on the other hand, are perpetually and continually second-guessing and disqualifying ourselves.

As a result, many of us never discover our own potential.

The coaching I gave to Jackie was to plug herself back into the turn-on outlet, and to remember that pleasure is her first and most important priority.

See, women do not gain confidence the same way men do—by following rules.

Women gain confidence by being turned on. And by being connected to a community of women who help keep our orbit high.

When you find yourself mired in self-doubt, “I can’t,” and not enoughness – your task is to find your way back to turn-on.

Turn-on is the antidote to self-doubt, and the pathway to unshakeable confidence.

Jackie looked at me with a furrowed brow, and asked me what turn-on actually means – was I telling her to have more sex, and show up at the office in short skirts and low cut shirts? How this could possibly be the priority in her business venture?

Jackie hadn’t yet experienced the kind of turn-on I’m talking about.

I explained that the kind of turn-on I’m talking about happens from the inside out. It’s not tied to any external behaviors or circumstances. It’s a state of being. It might inspire you to dress more sexy, because it puts you in more approval of your body. It might inspire you to flirt with people, because it feels so good you want to pass it along.

But the experience of authentic turn-on goes much, much deeper:

  • You feel a sense of your own aliveness and your life force
  • You know that your spirit and your body are one
  • Your native enthusiasm is intact
  • Your ability to reach for pleasure is on—especially when it seems hard
  • You’re in your right mind and your highest power
  • You’re you—full, complete and whole

Once planted in her authentic turn-on, a woman begins to grow.
Kind of like the way you just trust a tree to grow.

A turned on woman learns she can deeply trust herself. She pays attention to her desires, and treats them as her roadmap.

Indecision vaporizes.
She can truly feel her deep yes and her deep no.
She relaxes into the unknown, rather than forcing or muscling her way through life.
She knows she can handle obstacles, and understands that each one forces her to expand in new ways.
She experiences the divine in everything, especially herself.

Within you, within me and within each woman is the source of our own power.
She is our antidote to shame, and the wellspring of our deepest intuition.
She is our divinity, our spiritual center, the timeless point of our attraction, and our power source.
She teaches us that our joy is serious business.
She is anchored to our truth.
She teaches us our unshakeable confidence.

So . . . how do you turn on? Where do you start?

Start with pleasure. For Jackie, this meant:

  • Watching an Amy Schumer video. Amy always brings us home.
  • Karaoke with full dance moves, air guitar, and her best friends as back up dancers and singers
  • Self-pleasuring in the bath tub for that fresh and saucy feeling

Thus revived, Jackie jumped in with her business plan, investors backing her – and she decided to maintain (and appreciate) the easy, eccentric way she’s been running her company.

It fills her with creativity and juice, and has resulted in a product that is unique and game-changing for her customers.

Instead of feeling filled with self-doubt because her process does not look the same as her male counterparts, she tapped back into her own power source and is ready to stay turned on.

Now, in the comments below, I want to hear from you.

Where in your life are you getting stalled by your own self-doubt, or lack of confidence? What are 1 or 2 ways you can turn up the pleasure dial, and plug into the turn-on outlet? What connection do you notice between confidence and turn on?


Want more of Mama in your inbox?
Subscribe to our newsletter to get free updates.
12 Comments / Leave a Comment

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Carrie Silver January 6, 2017, 3:52 pm

    Hey MamaGena! You are so right – what’s up with all this self doubt? My current self doubt is in this job that I really LOVE. I am on the sales team – and I’m loving talking to woman to help them to grow their business. But I doubt that I can get woman to sign up to the program – the feeling of doing something “wrong” keeps triggering me. AH!! Acknowledge. How I have been turning it up (thanks to Pussy, and these blog posts): Dressing hot for the work day (Even though my office is at home), Self indulgence most nights of the week, baths, and beautiful meals with friends/ and myself. Thank you!!! Can’t wait to see you in New York in 2 weeks!!!!

  • Adrianne October 9, 2015, 9:36 pm

    I enjoyed your blog post. I feel like I hold back in a whole lot of areas actually. I am new to blogging, and I really really enjoy it. Here is where I most often hear the voice of doubt. “You aren’t qualified to write about anything. No one is going to think that is interesting. Who are you to claim to know anything?”
    I listen to this voice more often than I wish.

  • Debbie September 23, 2015, 10:36 pm

    Holy Moly! This arrived in my inbox yesterday, but I didn’t have time to read it. Today, I read through an email with information about the upcoming Write Nonfiction in November and I sat here willing myself to get involved. The next email I clicked on was this blog! Over the last few weeks, information keeps jumping out at me at just the right times. I’m inspired!

  • Stephanie Lynn Tanner September 23, 2015, 2:58 am

    !!! OMG. Yes.

    I’m constantly paralyzed by fear and doubt, which would shock anyone in my circle. But damn! It just creeps up and holds me back from this enormous, amazing, monstrous dream that I have. ACK!! Thank you for the real, kind reminder to dive in to my pleasure and to let that be my guide.

    You are doing amazing work and the world- especially us young women out here wondering how in the hell to put out all these fires- NEED you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  • Carla Watson September 23, 2015, 2:42 am

    Mama Gena, as already posted, your timing is impeccable! In addition to the self-doubt, I also get overwhelmed with the possibility of having exactly what I desire. I am so used to starvation of pleasure, that the idea of being abundantly filled can be scary. When the opportunity to spread my wings comes along, I can easily not only doubt my capabilities but sabotage the gift. SO what to do? I charge myself to be comfortable with pleasure overload. I charge myself to consciously be greedy with things that turn me on.

  • Ivy September 23, 2015, 2:38 am

    Mama G – you had divine timing here – I woke up exactly with this question – I started a blog last year that I was eager to turn into a business – I started out awash with pleasure and turn-on and then I got heavy and serious with it and totally stopped working on it- I even got a gig writing for celebrated film review site on exactly the topics several months ago and I choked and haven’t turned in a single thing in yet- you helped me pinpoint it really is a worthiness thing – I was so passionate about the topic that I felt terrorfied I’d be told I wasn’t worthy of having this passion – that I wasn’t good enough at it – that I didn’t belong there and I was afraid of how painful that would feel to be shot down and told I wasn’t worthy of being there – that I totally shut down completely. This posting really gave me a branch to grab onto to pull myself out and begin again with it from a place that’s sustainable and friendly to my womanly ways – thank you!

  • Sasha September 22, 2015, 11:27 pm

    Totally believe this to be true, have lived it, then forget it, and appreciate the reminder! I also try to preach this but really need to be reminded. For me the turn-ons are tango in Buenos Aires, OM, clean closets (yes, I like that suggestion), slow self-pleasure as suggested in the post. Possibly even shopping too 🙂 I agree that self-doubt is rampant in women and that pleasure is the way to get centered again. Thanks Mama Gena!

  • Corneille September 22, 2015, 10:51 pm

    Shaking my head…oh Mama, do you have me pegged! For years painting has been my outlet, landscapes, animals, what ever I saw that I liked, like a photo in a great magazine I would paint….But…I never delved into painting my OWN stuff until this year, just scared no one would ‘get it’ ! Or they would disapprove , mostly disapprove and think, “Oh my, Corneille has left the planet…” Chuckling, well, this year I did it, painted 4 of my own things inspired by many of your words, and just needing to release what was inside. .. The men in the family just sort of cock an eyebrow, while the girls totally get it. Now I am toying (yep, caught me, toying) with the idea of making note cards from my art, yet stalling myself with doubt. You caught me flat footed today!! Need to get up out of my chair and go for it…Thanks Mama!

  • Renée Suzanne September 22, 2015, 10:18 pm

    Mama Gena, you always read my mind!! I think you may just be my secret guardian angel. I’ve been awash in self-doubt since deciding to launch my own coaching business complete with tears, meltdowns, the works! I love what I do and I know I’m bringing something important into the world. I don’t want to let self-doubt stop me. Thanks so much for reminding me that I don’t have to. I can choose pleasure and turn it on! xoxo

  • Barbara J. Simon September 22, 2015, 8:15 pm

    Am experiencing an amazing increase in energy and confidence by cleaning out closets, drawers, garage, files, storage boxes. People tell you to let go of the past, but that’s hard to do without a material counterpart. This has been made easier by having lived through two hurricanes in the last five years. Evacuated my home once (packed everything I thought was most important in the car – and drove away from the rest before Hurricane Irene). And was home during Hurricane Sandy – remained untouched by it, but saw friends and neighbors living just a few blocks away loose everything. I’ve been cleaning out my house ever since. Thought, if I’m going to “loose everything” in the next storm, I’m going to choose where some of it goes to stay intact. Now everything is cleaner, more organized, prettier – and I feel that my home is in the world more, not just inside these four walls. And my business is spreading it’s wings in new ways as well. So – clean out your closets and enjoy it!

    • Silvi September 23, 2015, 6:48 am

      Your post has inspired me tonight. I love how you say “home is in the world more, not just inside these four walls”! I’m itching to clean out some closets now… 🙂

    • Deborah Smith September 24, 2015, 1:14 am

      Thank you. I will try this.