“Are you still up?”
A 9-year-old Allison shouts across the hallway to her parent’s bedroom, afraid to be the only one in the house awake.
I have never liked being alone. Growing up, I often accompanied my dad to clean office buildings with our family business and he lovingly called me his shadow because I stuck right to him. I remember frequently threatening that he owed me Taco Bell on the way home if he went to the other side of the building without telling me.
I have always surrounded myself with other people. From filling all my free time with extracurriculars or being at jobs (I was a student ambassador, waitress, and receptionist at the same time during undergrad), to spending hours at the gym sharing benches with gym bros, and preferring to live in co-ops with 4 - 10 roommates after graduation. I like when other people are around me.
As I look into my fear of being alone, I realize it is rooted in trusting myself. I don’t want to be alone, because I don’t want to be solely in charge (excuse the irony that I’m a leadership coach). As a kid I freaked out about someone breaking in while I was the only one awake. As an adult, I worry about forgetting my memories, getting trapped in my thoughts, and losing control.
There is a part inside that doesn’t trust me to handle the darkness by myself. There is also a part that knows I can (and that I don’t have to).
These days, as I oscillate between trusting myself entirely and questioning my every move, I’ve found a few things that help and I want to share them in case they resonate.
Meditation - I connect with myself via guided meditations, and sometimes complete silence, or with music. When I make time to connect to my thoughts and my brain, I feel much more aligned with myself. I remember that I am alive and that this is my chance to do something big.
Looking at my strengths - I remind myself of what I naturally excel at. I think of how I naturally lead (<- take the quiz!), I picture the compliments I’ve received, the ideas I’ve had, and the times I’ve succeeded in the past. I refer to my ‘Guidepost Moments’ and remember who I was created to be.
Tap into vulnerability - I lean into my humanness and remember the humanness of others. I have brain chemistry. I have hormones. The world is scary and heavy and it’s understandable to be afraid. Hiding in bed is acceptable at times. In welcoming and sharing this vulnerability, I connect with others. (To everyone replying to my IG stories… ilu <333)
Everything is Figureoutable - I lean on my girl Marie Forleo and remember that everything is figureoutable. I have made it through every hardship that has ever shown up and I’m still here. Every challenge I’ve faced has been met (whether by resolution, or succumbing to time). The challenges I face in the present seem less overwhelming because I trust that time will pass and I will know what to do.
I hack my brain - My spouse and I are obsessed with hacking our dogs brain. We love teaching her to associate things and noticing the unique ways her brain seems to function. I do the exact same thing with myself. Example, I am very mindful about the words I put out into the world. I am SUPER intentional about not making broad judgmental statements (“SEO is hard”, “I’m bad at money”, “I’ll never succeed in business”, “I’m just not the type of person who has money”) because even if those things seem true in the moment, there is no need to lock me in the jail cell that is that limiting belief! I always keep an optimistic outlook with my language because the world is heavy enough. I do not need to sabotage myself with the language I speak to myself. Mind what you say, because you’re listening.
When I focus on these five things, I remember who I am and how to lead myself (oh, okay, I see the leadership coach thing now). I am able not just to be the only one awake, but I can be the only one home! I know that I have my own back, and I realize that sometimes (often) that means asking for help.
What about you? How do you trust yourself? Leave me a comment below with what works for you!