Why you've got to be your biggest champion

Many times I get stuck—my code doesn’t work, my project is at a standstill, or I just can’t focus on the task at hand.

In those moments, I usually end up spiraling in my mind. Recalling all the times I’ve failed. All the times I felt lost and out of focus. The spiral deepens and before I know it, I’ve imagined myself right out of a job.

It’s so easy to get into these spirals. Like whirlpools in the water, gravity sucks you in and it’s easier to fall in than fight and pull yourself out.

In times like this, it’s important to have a support system that can pull you out.

Family, friends, a good therapist. These are all terrific options. But what do you do when it’s 3am, you can’t sleep, and you don’t want to bother anyone?

You’re the only option right? Well… kind of.

I’m here to tell you that your past self is your best option!

When we’re in crisis mode, it’s not easy to come out. You need evidence. You need someone you trust to tell you it’s going to be okay and that you’re not a failure and that you’re doing a great job.

That’s when your past self comes to play.

The easiest way to give your past self a voice as a source of reassurance and confidence is a ‘highlights’ journal.

Over the past three years, I’ve kept a note in my Evernote called ‘Highlights,’ and it is just what it sounds like. A note of the good things I’ve done. Sometimes they’re positive notes I’ve gotten over email. Other times it’s a high five from a boss after a presentation. Whatever the circumstance, I note down the date, the person’s name, and a couple of words describing the event.

Now whenever I’m in a spiral, all I have to do is open that up and listen to my past self showcasing the amazing things I’ve done. The amazing things I’m capable of.

And while this might not pull me out of my spiral immediately, it does give me a rope to grab and slowly pull myself through.

So how can you get started? Write down all your wins! The small ones and the big ones.

And the next time you need a vote of confidence at 3am, there you’ll have it–in black and white.

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