Lynda Sunshine West

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EP003 Self-Doubt is the Killer of Dreams with Lynda Sunshine West on the Women Action Takers Podcast


I decided that it would be a lot of fun to recap each episode after the episode. So today I’m going to be sharing with you my thoughts on the interview that I had of Forbes Riley, an absolutely amazing women action taker. Please go listen to her episode. She’s episode number two. So go back and listen to that one after this, or go listen to hers first, and then you can find out what the heck I’m even talking about here.

Forbes mentioned some things that I thought were really interesting. I took some notes here and these are the things I’m going to be talking about today. One is that, you know, Forbes spent a lot of her life pleasing her mother or trying to please her mother. So if that’s you, you’re going to want to listen to this episode and also go back and listen to Forbes’ episode. I have some thoughts I’m going to share on this.

Another thing she said was that if you find your truth, life is better. Boy, is this a truth or what? And I’ve, I’m going to have something to say about that as well. And then she asked this question, a question to ask herself is how much fun can I have. We’re going to talk about that. And I’m going to share with you my idea of — not my idea of fun, because that won’t matter for you, but how I found out how I could have as much fun as possible in my life. And then things happen. People say, things happen for a reason, but she says, life happens for you, not to you. And that things happen. And you find a reason. I thought that was a really interesting point she brought up.

Then she says to stop the bad self-talk and just get happier. People just get happier. We all have bad self-talk, but how can we work our way out of it so that we can do more, be more and have more in life.

And then I’m going to ask you this question. Do you doubt yourself? And if so, why do you doubt yourself? What kinds of things have happened in your life? And I’m going to start right here.

What kind of things have happened in your life that made you doubt yourself? Oftentimes, if you think about it, you were a baby, you were born. We were all born. Right in that moment that we were born, we were completely innocent. We came out of the womb screaming because that was the first thing we were crying for our voice. And from that moment forward, we had different options to happen in our lives, people throughout our life, maybe it was in your childhood or in your adulthood, you know, said things to you that made you doubt yourself.

An example would be, when I was in, I was, I think, fifth grade, I’m sorry, five years old. When I was five years old, I ran away and I was gone for an entire week. And when I came back, something happened. I was gone for a week at the neighbor’s house. My mom and dad didn’t come and get me until a week later. And when they came to get me a week later, it was my mom. I came home with my tail between my legs basically. And I’m like, ah, I didn’t want to be there. I wanted to stay at the neighbor’s house. That was where I wanted to live the rest of my life. But that’s not what happened. I came home and what was interesting for me, as I look back, I never ran away again. It’s like, I ran away that one week and I never ran away again.

And I’m not sure if it was because I thought, okay, well I didn’t get away with it. So why try, why ever try anything? And that was kind of the way I started to operate my whole life. I started running away from everything, running away from so many different things, but I started to doubt myself with so many different things in my life because I also grew up in a lot of judgment. Now, many of you out there listening grew up in judgment also, or maybe you’re still surrounded by people who are judgmental, but here’s what’s cool about this is now that you know that you’re surrounded by judgment, you have options. You have choices to change who your surroundings are. And if you think about this, I want you to think about the people that you’re hanging around with. Now, there’s a saying, you’re a reflection of the five people you hang out with the most.

So if you hung out with smokers in high school, then you were probably a smoker. If you hang out, hung out with the band nerds, like I did, you were probably a band nerd, which I was. And so as you go through life and you meet these different people in your life and you do these different things, learn new things, that there are people in our lives that sometimes say things that we take as a way to doubt us. And because they doubt us, we doubt ourselves. And what happens is it spirals out of control. And the spiraling out of control turns into self-sabotage, you know, us just beating ourselves up at every turn. So what are some of the things that you doubt yourself about? And I want you to look at yourself realistically, honestly, and I want you to take some time to really think about those items that you have doubt about yourself.

And I want you to just sit there and think about yourself and the reality of who you really are, not what somebody told you, you are or who somebody told you you are, but you who you truly honestly believe that you are. And when you get to that point where you’re like, wait a minute, who told me that? Who told me that I couldn’t be successful? Who told me that I wasn’t going to be able to get a good grade in school? Who told me all this stuff? Who told me I was never going to amount to anything like my eighth grade math teacher, geometry teacher said, you might as well give up on math now because you’re not any good at it. Well, I got a D minus in geometry, but I turned around the next year in ninth grade and I got an A+ in algebra.

I just sucked at geometry, not algebra. And so if I had listened to that one teacher, I would have completely given up, but I will share that I did quit at math after that because I had to have math in ninth grade. I didn’t need it in 10th or 11th grade. So I didn’t take it. And I did take math in 12th because I had to. But because that one teacher said something that put this tremendous doubt in my mind now, how do we deflect that doubt? Now that’s a little bit of a different conversation, but you can go back to the things in your life right now that you are doubtful about yourself. You’re doubtful about your abilities to do these certain things. Ask yourself this question, “Who told me that I couldn’t do that?” And then once you figure that out, and maybe you won’t figure that out, that’s okay, but just turn it around and say they were wrong.

They were wrong. I am amazing. I am great. I am brilliant. I am smart. I am all these amazing things that you truly are and look at yourself for who you really, really are. Because once you start to look at yourself in that way, on a regular basis, your life will change because you will see who you really are. So that was the first topic I wanted to talk about today is doubting yourself.

And then we’re going to go to this one that Forbes said, and she said, just say, yes, you know, throw your hat over the rim and figure it out. There’s so many things in life that get us. They stop us from doing things that we want to do. Now, you’re a woman action taker listening to this program. And so you are an action taker, but there might be things in your life.

Or you’re like, I don’t know if I should do that thing. I don’t know if I should do this. I don’t know how to do this. So I’m not going to do it. Well, guess what? When I first started this podcast, I had this idea that I was going to start a podcast, but I had no idea what I was going to do. I did know that I would need to interview people. That part was easy for me because I’ve conducted hundreds of interviews. So that was easy. But the next steps, those were the steps that I didn’t have any idea what to do. So I could do one of two things: I could say, yes, I’m going to do it. I’m going to figure it out. Or I could say, no, I don’t know how to do it. So I’m not going to do it.

You have choices. Maybe you don’t know how to do something. And that’s what’s stopping you from having that progress. That’s okay. Find somebody else who does know how to do it. Spend a little bit of money, make an investment, invest in yourself, invest in yourself. Because when you make that investment by hiring somebody else to help you with something, you are investing in yourself. And that is not only saying yes, but it’s saying yes to you. And it’s time for you to say yes to you more frequently, more frequently, maybe all the time. That’s what I love to see is you saying yes to you all the time.

Now here’s the next one? She said, stop bad self-talk, just get happier. Now, when I talked earlier about, you know, doubting yourself, do you doubt yourself? Or like, why do you doubt yourself? Who said that to you? That made you doubt yourself.

That’s kind of about the same way, because what happens is when we doubt ourselves, we start saying these things like, Oh, I give — great, great example, a woman that I know posted something on LinkedIn. And she was asking, I was saying that she showed up, actually she didn’t even show up for an interview that she was supposed to conduct because she had it on her calendar for the wrong time. And she apologized profusely to the other person and just kept up. She said, I apologize, about 46 times. You know, she said probably really only five, but, but she apologized a lot of times. And she asked this question, I thought it was really interesting. And that was that. Do you beat yourself up for things like when you’re late, when you don’t show up, when you don’t communicate with somebody, do you beat yourself up over that?

Do you do bad self-talk say, Oh man, I suck. I’m terrible. I’m a bad person. I don’t show up. I’m always late. Do you say things like this to yourself? And if you do, I highly recommend you stopping and thinking because are you really always late? These words, like always, forever. never. They’re called, [absolutes]. They’re words that are not reality because the reality is that maybe oftentimes, or sometimes you’re late. Sometimes you don’t show up, but it’s not always, but are you using those words? Those words like always, forever, never are you using those types of words to describe your life and who you are? So stop that bad self-talk and turn it into happy thoughts. Just, just flip it. Even if you don’t believe it at the beginning, you won’t believe it maybe, but you will start to believe it.

How do I know? Because this was me big time. Oh man. I used to just be filled — my mind was filled with negativity about myself, more negativity about myself than others. Way more about myself than others, but nobody knew it because I never said it out loud. I just said it to myself.

Now, there is another one she said that was things happen and you find a reason. Instead of things happen for a reason, things happen and you find a reason. I found this to be a very interesting concept. I’m still having a hard time kind of processing it, but I’m going to process it with you here right now. This is kind of the way I think through things. So if I look at this I find myself saying things happen for a reason. So everything that’s happening in my life, all the different decisions I’ve made, all the different people I’ve met have come into my life for a reason.

I’m accustomed to saying that stuff, I switch it to what Forbes says, which is things happen. And you find a reason. So maybe now that I look at that, I can look and say, okay, these certain people that I’ve met in my life, they didn’t happen for a reason, but I found a reason for it. And that’s really an interesting concept. If you think about it, that concept there helps you to see that you’re living on purpose or you’re doing what you’re doing and you’re taking responsibility for the actions by saying this happened and I found a reason for it. So that’s an interesting concept. And you’ll just move that around in your mind for a while and see where you, where you come with that. Okay? And then if you find your truth, life is better. Boy, is this true? Because I spent the first 51 to 52 years of my life not knowing my truth.

And what I mean by that is that I was a people-pleaser. I grew up in a very abusive alcoholic household. My dad was physically abusive, mentally abusive, verbally abusive to my mom. And he never hit me. And I don’t know if he ever hit any of the other kids, but I can only say what he did or didn’t do to me. But the condescension, the words that were spoken, were very harsh, you know, on a regular basis. And because of that, I became a people-pleaser because I wanted to make sure that dad was as happy as possible. At least as far as what I could do. And if dad was happy, then nobody would get hurt. That was how I saw it. So that became my pattern through life. That became my pattern with my first husband. That became my pattern with all my boyfriends.

That became my pattern with my children, with my bosses. It became — my pattern is to just make sure everybody was happy, because if everybody else is happy, then that’s all good. That’s all that matters. Nobody’s going to get hurt if everybody else is happy. But what happened is I never even knew who I was because I was spending my whole time pleasing everybody else. If you liked it, I liked it. If you hated it, I hated it. If you loved it, I loved it. That was just the way it was. I was like a chameleon. I used to call myself a chameleon. I would walk into a room and whatever you were talking about, if it was something that you were excited about, I was excited with you because I wanted to make sure that you liked me because I was a people-pleaser. That was just the way life was.

So how did I change that? I’m going to share that with you really quickly here, because this was really important for me. I had to discover what are my likes, what are my hates, and what are my loves. I made a list, broke out a piece of paper. Every time I did something that I hated, I wrote it down on my hate list. You know, every time I did something that I liked or loved, I wrote them down under the like and love columns. And I just kept on adding to my list. I did this for about two weeks. I carried this notepad around with me so that I could create my list. And guess what I ended up discovering is that those things that I truly liked, loved and hated. Those were my things. They weren’t other people’s. And I wasn’t living my life living with those things because I was letting other people take control over what I would do and not do.

So this was the moment of truth for me, this moment of, wow, this is my truth. I found my truth. Once I found my truth, life did become better. It became much better. And then I stepped into it and I said, this is my truth. And then I could honestly be authentic, really be authentic by saying the things I say, because they’re the things that thrill me or do not thrill me. They are my opinions. They are my values. They are my core values. These are the things that I like love and hate. And I stand by it and nobody can shake me from it because these are my truths. And it was so important for me to get to that point, to go from a people-pleaser to a person who speaks their truth was a very difficult challenge for me to overcome. But I was just hell-bent on doing it because I wanted to change my life.

I wanted my life to be better. I wanted to have so much more out of my life and I was willing to do what I had to do to make that happen. And I do remember the first time I told somebody no. And the first time I told somebody my own opinion, I was shaking like a leaf because I was actually going to for the first time voice my own thought, my own opinion. And I did it and I was shaking, but I did it. And I was so proud of myself that I had finally stepped into this place of “Lynda knows who she is, and she’s showing up as herself wherever she goes.”

So I highly recommend doing that, making your columns, like, love and hate columns. If you want any other columns, of course go add those. But those are the three columns that I created. Start living your life doing the things you love more and more often doing the things you like more and more often, and not doing the things you hate more and more often, your life will change, trust me. It will change.

And then pleasing the mother? Woo. This is a big one. I spent many, many years, many decades trying to please my mom. And really it stemmed from the fact that my mom had a tough life with my dad at the abuse that he had, it just caused so much trauma in our family, you know, so much anguish. And because of that, I wanted to please my mom as much as possible so that she would be happy. You know, it was my job. I felt it was my job to make mom happy. That was my job. That’s how I felt. And here’s the thing that, you know, Forbes said this, and I loved that. She says, you can’t read anyone else’s mind. And the reason she said this was because she had been in school and she decided she didn’t want to take a class.

And she had to go tell her mom, but she had spent years, decades, you know, trying to please her mother. So when it came time to tell her mom, she really didn’t want to tell her, but she did tell her anyway. And what she was so surprised at was that her mother was pleased and said, we really didn’t want you to go to that school anyway. And all we want is for you to be happy. There’s so many people in your life that really truly all they want is for you to be happy. They want to see you happy. They want you to live a life where you’re happy, even though they may be telling you they want you to do something else. They probably, if you really sat down with them, they most likely are going to be ecstatic for you that you figured out what you really want to do.

Some might not be that way, but many of them will. And that was all I ever wanted for my kids was for them to be happy. There was some things they did that I wasn’t too thrilled about, but I was like, okay, you know, that’s what you want to do. Awesome. You go for it. I just want you to be happy because I truly just want them to be happy and same with your parents, too. Most likely, they just want you to be happy.

Hopefully they’re in that position where that’s what they want for you. So what is something that you can do, you know, based on all these, these little tips here that I brought up, I’m going to ask myself the question that I ask my guests on every single episode. And that is what is one action step you can take today, tomorrow or next week that will help you to up-level your personal life or your business life. And I’m going to say, to make that list, three columns, what do I love? What do I hate? And what do I like? Make those columns, and then spend as much time as you can doing the things you love and like, and spend as little time as possible, doing the things you hate. Come check me out at That’s where it’s all happening, peeps. And I’m looking forward to bringing more episodes, wore amazing women to share with you Women Action Takers who are changing the world.


Lynda Sunshine West

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Founder of Women Action Takers, Queen of Collaboration, Speaker, 6X Bestselling Author, Mastermind Facilitator, Executive Film Producer, Red Carpet Interviewer.

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