The Essential Ingredient to Living Your Dreams That No One Ever Talks About


When I first started my business, I looked at the folks who had been at it longer than I had, who were making more money than I was, and who had larger communities than I had. I assumed that somewhere along the way their self-doubt had dissolved, which is why they were so successful.

It’s been 15 years since I officially got started as an entrepreneur, and here’s what I know now that I didn’t know then:

Self-doubt is an essential ingredient for living your dreams. One cannot achieve greatness without it. twitter-logo

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I doubt myself on the daily. Yet I keep saying what I want to say, sharing what I want to share, and offering what I want to offer.

Most days the doubt is simply there in the background, a low murmur letting me know I’m human, but not shouting so loudly I can’t hear the voice of my soul.

When you’re in the process of building your dream business and life, it’s really easy to point to your self-doubt and make it the scapegoat for not having what you want yet.

“Once I get this self-doubt thing handled, then I can really get going and become successful.”

“I still have so much work to do on my limiting beliefs. I can’t live my dreams until I get rid of them.”

“I’ll take the actions I know I need to take when I no longer doubt whether or not I have what it takes.”

You look at the people who seem to be living their dreams, and you think that they’ve figured out a secret formula to stop the gremlins in their mind from telling them that they suck.

Here’s the truth:

If you’re human you’re going to have doubts about yourself, your value, your abilities, and your worthiness.

We humans are really flawed and messy. And we’re also brilliant and Divine.

We’re both.

There’s not a magical moment in the future when you’ll wake up one day and not doubt yourself.

The voice will likely get quieter the more and more you take action and prove to yourself that you are all that and a side of sweet potato fries.

But it won’t go away.

Your doubt is beautifully human. It’s humbling. It will keep you on your creative edge. It will bring you back to polish and shine your creations to make sure they’re as good as you can possibly make them in this moment.

Rather than waiting to take action until you no longer feel doubt, embrace the doubt. It’s going all the way with you. The sooner you become friends, the sooner you’ll get what you want.



What’s your experience with self-doubt? What have you created in your life that you’re super proud of but that you had doubt about during the creation process? I’d like to hear about it in the comments below!


  • Love this, Kate! In fact, I created a quote image with: “Rather than waiting to take action until you no longer feel doubt, embrace the doubt. It’s going all the way with you. The sooner you become friends, the sooner you’ll get what you want.”

    I used to live frozen with anxiety and fear, and so much self-doubt…which caused me to miss many opportunities. I kept waiting to feel more confident. What I finally learned that taking action is what builds confidence…and decreases anxiety and fear. Taking action proves that I can do it!

    Thanks for all you do!


  • The last 4 days I have been racking my brain trying to decide whether to do a mlm with a trustful female entrepreneur. I believe that it would be very successful and make lots of money. However, I felt more aligned with doing the school. It was the same amount of money for both depending on the choice, but I chose to go with my heart which was helping to strengthen my business.

    Then he came to choosing between affiliates. I chose you, Kate, over another who has loads and loads of on my marketing tools. I really want those online marketing tools, but I feel like just because of this email, my self doubt and newness to running a business, you provide the space to help me feel stronger in moving forward with it. I am not certain that I will move as quickly as I would if I had gone with the other affiliate. That said, I trust that you know what you’re doing. I want to do the things that you have done. And I feel that you hold space well for others. That’s the environment that I want to be in. And even though I have self-doubt raging inside my head saying that I can’t make good decisions, I’ve decided to stay here and do B-school with you.

    • Kate Northrup

      I’m totally honored Kate! Thank you for your trust and we totally have your back. You’re in very good hands 😘.

  • Dear Kate, thank you for your words. I often make desktop wallpapers for myself from quotes from your blog posts. Because I want to see them for daily motivation.

    And because my goal is to be able to afford having a little cute Maltese dog soon, I put the newest quote besides a photo of a Maltese (see link above).


  • Clarke

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom Kate Northrup. Such a good reminder mid-week. Much love to you!

  • I sold my Condo because the naysayers were doubting me and I wasn’t going to allow them to degrade me any further. I made Sibmac on the heels of a break-up of a relationship, and I had hoped that writing was going to encourage other women that it’s good and safe to travel alone in the world, and still make an income and thrive well. I had thought of posting on Youtube, and bloging? And that old self-doubt got in the way of “being good enough etc, Then after months of the camper breaking down everywhere, my kids were rescuing me and put me into RV sites that had issues and problems, and if I had been able to do as Carolyn RV had done, I might have been ok. But that’s not what happened. I still have my stories, I still have my website that needs a lot restructuring? But somehow I still want to earn an income and travel.
    I will take constructive help thanks. here’s my most recent youtube

    Thanks in Advance Kate.


  • jamila

    Kate, this came at just the right moment. I started to pursue my soul’s desires on my 44th birthday, last year. Since childhood I have wanted to be a painter. Finally, I leapt. So here I am a few months in and I’m back in Italy at a studio space I rent every other month. Yesterday, I wasn’t going to go to the studio. I had lunch and was feeling really down in the moment. I had a little voice in my head: what is this all about? you are wasting ‘everyone’s’ time/money (have NO clue who ‘everyone’ is)….You’ll never sell anything so why are you doing this? I deliberated and finally on a last minute whim, I decided to go and speak with my studio mate, Gerald, who is a commercial painter. When I walked in he leapt up and told me he loved my newest landscape. Like, loved it and was over the moon and screaming, “I want to do that, that’s what I want to paint, that’s how I want to paint…”. And we giggled. I thanked him and told him I was struggling with confidence. He and I spoke for an hour. We decided I’d give him a lesson today (Thrs) on landscape abstracts. He reminded me of where he’d been (in the land of self-doubt) and how he overcame it. He told me some valuable info on selling paintings. No less than ten minutes after we had finished our hour gab session, I was busy starting a new painting and in walked this woman who had been to see my works the week before. She quietly and with a big grin but some trepidation shared that she wanted to buy the landscape she had seen the week before, but because I had moved it, she couldn’t see it and was a bit sad but hopeful…So I pointed it out to her, her face lit up and she inquired about the price. No kidding! In about two minutes we agreed to a price and exchanged numbers and it was done. I sold my very first painting yesterday. I really REALLY have to thank my mantra in life: Show up. Even when you don’t feel like it, SHOW UP. I have been showing up through the challenges, through the isolation, through the fumbles and I’ve been ‘telling the Universe’ – I’m serious. I’m here. I’m doing ‘this’. Let’s roll, Universe. So in an hour, my entire framework for my life: Show up, was re-empowered. Show up for fitness, show up for nutrition, show up for work, for friendships, etc etc., even and most important, when we don’t ‘feel like it’, when our doubts tell us otherwise, show up. It’s about having skin in the game, being invested and being there even when we don’t know why…..which was yesterday. I didn’t have the confidence but went anyway. Imagine what would have happened had I stayed home? Nothing. Nothing would have happened. And that’s not the life I want.
    Keep sharing Kate, you are speaking truth. xox Jamila

  • Feel the doubt, step forward anyway.

  • Cat

    Yes, yes and more YES!!! Growing up I was never good enough. I rarely lived up to my own potential, despite being in advanced/gifted classes. I just wanted to perform on stage.
    My authority figures would scold me and tell me I had to do better (at pretty much everything else) before I could do my “hobby” of performing. It had no value to my dad, so he didn’t take it seriously.

    So now, after 40 years on this rock, I struggle with self doubt at almost every turn. But, thinking of it as a whimpy whisper behind the bookcase takes a bit of the sting out of it. I just read a portion of Barbara Stanny’s Secrets of Six-Figure Women that helped me see what I’d been doing when I let myself be paralyzed by doubt, AND prompted me out of my recent rut.
    In fact, before opening this email, I sat down with my journal and created an outline of small (not so scary) steps I will take over the next week, to hoist me out of this conundrum. A ladybug landed on my arm just as I’d finished the list, and then all the metaphors came rolling in!
    1-I brushed it off, thinking it was a leaf. *RESISTANCE
    2- I tried to move it to a planter, but it kept running away. *PERSISTANCE
    3- When I finally got it into the planter, it made quick work of a few aphids, scurried to the top of a shiso plant and took off, soaring higher than I’ve ever seen a ladybug go. *LAUNCH AND SOAR

    I feel much more “ready” even though very little has changed. Just my mindset. Thank you, Kate!

  • This is very valuable to me. I am just starting out with my website, and some days that voice of doubt in my head is very loud. I love what jamila said, “Let’s roll, Universe!” Let’s roll, indeed. I will take my doubt with me and show up, show up.

  • Vicky

    Well when you open to receive the Universe delivers… Thank you Kate for these wisdom words, just what I needed to read at a time when my self doubt and stuckness is at an all time high in my life. I feel like I am frozen in time… Time to walka walka forward holding the hands of my friend! Heart Hugs

  • As a yoga teacher for 20 years, I find myself shying away from telling people I am a yoga teacher — especially when everyone and their aunt has done a teacher training and calls themselves a yoga teacher. Aside from having a masters degree in education and devoting myself to building a 20-year career in yoga teaching — I find it is the one industry that values convenience over experience — I doubt that I will ever have the success I had ten years ago — I tell myself, the industry has changed, I won’t be able to build what I once had — This doubt is with me — but I am tired of it letting it tell me I should turn away from what I know is not true — so, I have learned to hold the doubt and move forward with my vision – even amidst feeling uncertain, and overwhelmed — it helps to get reminders from voices that success can happen despite the ways we sometimes doubt that!
    Thank you.

  • The catapult I needed to move forward, “‪Self-doubt is an essential ingredient for living your dreams. One cannot achieve greatness without it.‬”

    THANK YOU Miss Kate!!!!

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