“I always assumed everyone else knew what the rules were – still do really.” Hailey lives on the edge, expecting any minute to make a big mistake and be found wanting. It’s exhausting!

Her Doubting Twin is pretty gobby:

  • Be quiet, you’ll sound stupid
  • You never know what to say
  • Whatever you say, you’ll sound daft.

She sees others trust their own judgment – especially her husband – and is amazed. How does he do that?images

Then there are the Super Mums. At home with two little kids herself, Hailey looks at pictures on Instagram and marvels at the mums who throw together an elegant outfit, without evidence of sick or dinner. How do they do that? They must know something she doesn’t? It’s those damn rules again!

Sound familiar?

I certainly recognise the same process in myself and I hear variations on the same theme from so many women as I explore the impact of the Doubting Twin. We assume others know what to do; that we’re the only ones who don’t understand; that others are watching and laughing. It’s such a painful place to be and very isolating.

Truth is – there are more women tussling with the Doubting Twin than there are rules to follow. In fact, who do we think writes the rules in the first place?

So here we go:

  • If the DT writes the rules
  • And the DT is in your head
  • Then you write the rules
  • So you can change them – if you want to

Make sense?

Which means Hailey could choose to see how amazing she is – if she really wants to:

First paid job at 10 years old – earning £25 per week; got herself a job in media by knocking on doors until someone saw how much she had to offer; shifted into recruitment and got loads of clients by trawling the Yellow Pages and cold calling; now starting again on her own business as the babies grow. No shortage of courage, determination and talent there then!

Despite the fact that rules/guidelines were in short supply as she grew up, she’s developed some pretty strong rules of her own – or values we might call them. Work hard, go for what you want, be good to others on the way. And they are serving her well. All she needs to do is recognise that.images-1

It’s the same for so many women. We strive, grow, deliver, develop – then focus on what we missed, forgot, broke or messed up.

Of course, ‘all she needs to do’ is not a concept that sits well with The Doubting Twin. Nothing is that simple when she’s going full throttle. But she does have our best interests at heart, so I’m exploring how we might get her on side and benefit from her fastidious attention to detail.

In the meantime, remember that the DT is part of you, so the rules – or lack of – are your creation, in which case you do have choice. Maybe just one bit of appreciation in a day won’t go a miss? Give it a go and see how you feel.