self doubt personal growth mountain

French Pyrenees

Self-doubts will come, we just have to recognize when they do and take the right kind of action

A few years ago some elderly expat friends of ours came to a decision. There are many older and retired people like them, living on the coast of Spain, many who have purchased large villas that they can no longer easily maintain.

Our friends had reached that point, and due to health reasons they had to finally admit that their time in Spain was done. They prepared to move back to the UK.

We were sorry to see them go but at the same time knew it was for the best. As a favour I offered to drive their car (complete with dog) back to England for them.

In all the years I’d lived abroad I had not yet done the journey there or back by car and I was kind of looking forward to the adventure of being on the road for four days.

The trip would take me up through the North-east of Spain, through the Somport tunnel under the Pyrenees into France, then up all the way to catch the cross-channel ferry at Calais in northern France.

Once across into England I would still have to drive half-way across the country. A long, long journey with 3 stop-overs and more than 1,300 miles of driving, all of which I had planned in detail. I booked my hotels, the ferry ticket, and the return flight.

That Thursday morning I was all packed up and ready to go, but it was only when I at last got onto the highway that I realized the extent of the journey ahead of me.

I was already over an hour late leaving, and it would be at least 8 hours solid driving to get to the hotel.

I thought to myself - “Wow, I have a long way to go. What am I doing?”

The doubts began to creep in. The size of the task began to seem very daunting. Questions began to arise in me.

I can look back now and see that doubts are purely natural, and are bound to happen in these kind of circumstances. It's what we do about them that counts.

If and when we’ve made the decision to pursue a bigger life, to expand our horizons and set our feet on a new path, there are sure to be times when we will wonder if we’ve made the right decision.

Yes, we are bound to find ourselves in unfamiliar situations, walking into unknown circumstances, and often not relishing the challenges. At times we will not feel prepared, and begin to wonder if we really are up to the test.

The point I want to get across is that no matter how prepared we are, or how motivated we are, or how determined, self-doubts can appear from nowhere. It helps to know beforehand so that we are prepared to deal with them.

Back to my journey in the car. I hadn’t long left home and I was having doubts. Not a good start.

I could think of numerous reasons for turning back, and imagine lots of undesirable scenarios. After all, here I was all alone in an unfamiliar car trying to reach France before nightfall. And I didn’t even speak French.

What kept me pressing forward?

I had made a commitment.

And although there are always going to be many more reasons to give up than to continue, if we have just one good, powerful reason it is often all that we need to take the next step forward.

And keep on taking one more step.

Here’s to leaving self-doubt behind.