Why we get Paralyzed by Self Doubt When Trying to Figure Out Our Purpose & the Secret to Moving Through It


Do you find yourself searching, striving and trying to figure out how to step into your purpose more often than you’d like?

It’s like one day you have clarity on what you feel called to do and the next day you wake up with amnesia & sit in a cloud of fog having no clue what to put our attention on. 

I’ve found myself in that all too familiar place again a few weeks ago; wound up in a ball of self -doubt & uncertainty & paralyzed by indecision.


I can feel it when it starts holding me back. It’s not like someone is standing behind me with their hands on my shoulders physically keeping me stuck, or that my hands are tied behind my back.

I actually shift into more action, desperately trying to figure things out, journaling more, working on business systems, going over and over my past journals trying to get clarity on what it is I really want.

I spend all this time  working on my new website copy and trying to create a 5 step system for the umpteenth time only to come away with nothing accomplished. This is my pattern. I write, and create, and attempt to produce something only to realize at the end of it, I’ve gone through those motions before..

Then comes the familiar feeling of defeat, discouragement, & disappointment.

My posture shifts to align myself with my heart.

My head drops, my chest hollows, my body collapses in on itself.

I try to go about my day, but there is an underlying well of emotions circulating in my chest and rising up through my neck, standing ready to be released through my eyes.

There’s a part of me that knows the secret to not letting it render me disabled is to remember it is an old strategy that has a positive intention of protecting me from experiencing disappointment.

It knows that  in the past I’ve gotten my hopes up ; feeling completely sure about something I feel called to do, something that feels so ‘sure’ and ‘right’ and then it doesn’t ever happen. Sometimes it’s that others don’t validate it & other times it’s just my own head starting to second guess.

Are you sure, Kate? “

I start finding all the bad reasons why it might not go well if I go in that direction.

I make a list of what feels at RISK. 

  • I might not be able to accomplish it.
  • I might not know enough about that.
  • I might not be equipped.
  • People might not need or want that.
  • I won’t be able to articulate it.
  • What about all the other ideas? All the other needs?
  • You might get boxed in…..

yet here I sit… boxed in by my own thoughts.

As a coach, I know exactly what is going on.

My protective brain that has experienced this before is trying to protect me from experiencing it again.

God designed our brains to help us survive and keep us from harm. The problem is it can’t tell the difference between real harm and perceived harm. Our past experiences are stored with strong memories in our subconscious brain & as soon as they feel, see, or perceive a similar experience, the breaks go on, the alarms go off, and all efforts are directed toward keeping us safe.


If something feels at risk, no matter how hard we try to move forward toward our goals, there is a strong band of resistance holding us securely in our present state, no matter how miserable it might be.

I may stay safe from potential future disappointment, but I am also blocked from the things I really long for. I survive, but that’s it.

One of the paradigms I learned in coaching is ..

” The strategies we learn to survive become the conditions upon which our continued survival depends.”

Go ahead and read that again.

Maybe one more time.

Let it sink in.

What we learn to do becomes the thing we continue to do.

It feels familiar.

Kind of like how I was feeling that week.

Can I offer you some hope today?

You are not alone in your frustration.

This experience is part of being human.

God in his mercy and compassion does not leave us STUCK in our present state.  He beckons us to step out of our heads and drop into our hearts where he can lead us from a place of inspiration.  

When we let go of the striving, the straining, & the contemplating.. the tension eases and the band that was holding us drops to the ground.

It’s in the letting go that we find what we were desperate for.

Clarity, Peace & the Freedom to MOVE from a place of ease  are found on the other side of release.

From that place, we can hear his voice gently beckoning us to step over the band & take one small step forward. 

I’m learning that every time I take a step, I’m proving to the little girl in me who is afraid of disappointment that it’s possible that things can go really well.  She doesn’t need to trust God more or people more.  She needs to learn to trust her own heart more.  She needs to learn that those nudges she was feeling were arrows pointing her in the direction of her purpose.  

I love how Lisa Kai, author of Perfectly You articulated it…

” God wants you to live an extraordinary life, but that means you need to respond whenever you are MOVED by the Spirit.”

“To overcome intimidation, it means that you stand to your feet regardless of what anyone thinks and GET OUT of the box that you have created for yourself.”

” God wants you to wake up and experience a SHIFT inside your spirit.” 

A few years ago,  after a season of pulling back due to pain and sickness, insecurity, intimidation, fear of rejection and assumptions, this verse  in Ephesians 5:14 was a wake up call for me. 

” Arise! Arise! Wake up sleeper!” 

Today, I’m learning to get untangled and throw off the things that hinder me from MOVING as He leads me.

I’m taking empowered action!

I still feel that familiar uncertainty questioning,  but I’m moving anyway..

There are too many amazing gifted women ‘entangled’  by self- doubt & paralyzed in a perpetuating  state of questioning. 

Why does that matter?

There is a world out there in need of hope but as long as we are bound by our insecurities we can not step into our callings. 

It’s time to stand to our feet and get out of the box we’ve created for ourselves.

Here are some questions you can ask to start loosening the hold of analysis paralysis &  start embodying your God given desires. 

Grab a journal and answer the following questions.

  1. What is the secret desire/longing of my heart that I am not taking action on?
  2. What is the positive intention of staying stuck in self doubt and uncertainty?  What might  this learned pattern be protecting me from? 
  3. What feels at risk if I make a decision and step into it? 
  4. What’s one action step I can take today to  start MOVING in the midst of the unknowns & help the little girl in me learn to start trusting her heart?
  5. What might I need to let go of?


I’d love to hold space for you to get untangled from uncertainty & start stepping into your God given dreams & desires.   

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Looking forward to connecting & hearing about the changes you’d like to create in your life!