self doubt kill itSelf-doubt is like a pantry moth: Pervasive, irritating, and persistent.

Last week was a rough one. It was the kind of week I love to objectively help my clients through when I’m on the other side. When it happens to me, it’s the kind of day I can’t wait to be done with.

Have you ever had pantry moths?

If you have, you know they are teensy little critters that scoot into your house by way of an open garage door, a cardboard box from the nearest mega grocery store or maybe they came with the house. I don’t know how they get in but once they do, they set up shop for a long, long time.

We have a lovely kitchen, with one of those pantries that has the sliding shelves. It’s the best kitchen I have ever had in my life. We have the quietest dishwasher on the market. It’s true. But the pantry…it’s oh so delightful. At least, it was. Before the moths.

When you get these beasts, the only solution is to clear out every single box, bag, and container of food and send it to the trash heap. Some sources said we could freeze our food and still eat it. Umm, no.

We washed out all the cabinets, taped up all the holes and crevices with masking tape and set out traps. Gross. Gross. Gross. Mega multitudes of former flying icky buggy yuck revealing how big the problem was. We kept throwing out the traps and putting new ones up until it looked like our problem was solved. We breathed a sigh of relief and put everything back in the pantry. Not two weeks later we were graced with a flutter, then another, then another. More wasted food, more traps, more cleaning, more tape, more traps. Did I say more traps?

After months of continuous treatment, those pests were finally gone. Well, they were as gone as they were going to get. The siege was over. To keep them away, I could coat the house in chemicals OR I could protect my bounty in airtight containers. The choice was clear: goodbye moths, hello Container Store.

Now I not only have the coolest kitchen ever, I also get to wow people with my amazingly organized pantry. This is amazing because anyone will tell you I’m closer to organized chaos than organized.

So if they are gone, why am I suffering from pantry moths today?

My pantry moth is self-doubt. My moth appears when I least expect it; when I feel I have the problem under control. Although I have done all the hard work of cleaning, packaging and taping up of any possible holes I can see…I cringe as a teeny tiny monster flutters by – defiant in its nonchalance.

If I keep working on my confidence, why does self-doubt keep fluttering by?

I compare my work to someone else’s accomplishments: moth. I don’t get the results from a work effort that I thought I would, as quickly as I would: moth. I work all day long on so many things without a tangible, visible result and an even greater list remains undone: moth.

It’s so discouraging. It’s disheartening. It’s lonely. People get tired of the whining. They don’t want to hear it and I’m afraid to watch them roll their eyes, so I typically keep it to myself.

I know why they roll their eyes. It’s because they know the truth about my moth.

The truth is, and I’m preaching this to myself as I write this to you, this is just one moth. It’s just one day. This is not an infestation. I can smack this little sucker down with the palm of my hand. I’m NOT scared. It’s gross and aggravating and it involves a little clean up, but it is not the end of the world.

In fact, there’s a whole lot of satisfaction in the squishing of the moth of self-doubt.

Tomorrow is a new day and I will tell myself more truths.

People who know me, those same ones I think are rolling their eyes, they may be doing so because they know the truths I have trouble telling myself. They smile knowingly because what’s true is:

  • This has happened before and everything turned out fine
  • The person I’m comparing myself to is farther along in their work/career than I am
  • I am good at what I do – that’s WHY I’m doing it
  • Other people have recognized my work, my gifts and my results before and they will again.

The moths in my life may never go away but I can keep them at bay and even “take care” of them when one or two pop up.

What I know is that my moth of self-doubt will flutter in and out but it does not define me and it will not keep me from using my “pantry.” Who knows? That moth may end up causing me to create an amazingly organized way to help my clients rediscover their confidence and kick some career booty.

Who’s up for a trip to The Container Store?


Tara Lynn is a speaker, coach and writer who works with companies and individuals to clarify what makes them great and build the confidence they need to achieve success as they define it. You can follow her at, on linkedintwitter or Facebook.

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