Bonus Episode: We Need to Change How We See Ourselves

I don’t think it will come as a surprise for anyone that in the past year I’ve spent a lot of time contemplating our position as women in the workplace, in the home and in society – more than I ever have in the past.

Multiple conversations per week flow into more conversations and more pondering. Sometimes, I admit, I get a little overwhelmed – like I’m trying to crack a code that no one has been able to solve yet.

There are many reasons why as women we are faced with bias and some are out of our control.

However, what I’ve come to see as the biggest obstacle to our confidence and equal opportunities is ourselves.

Collectively, it is our own self-imposed limits that are having the greatest impact on the slow progress we’ve had as women.

Stay with me for a bit, Here is a story from my own experience.

Events that shape how we see ourselves

In grammar school my peers and I were assigned in work groups based on what our ability was believed to be in certain subjects and the teacher taught each group according to this criteria.

When I was in the 3rd grade I was placed in the middle reading group in school. At some point during the year my teacher met with my parents to propose moving me to the higher reading group because the workload in my level was too easy for me.

The change was made and the problems began.

I wasn’t finishing my work and it wasn’t at the same caliber it had been.

My peaceful existence in the 3rd grade suddenly changed. I was publicly ridiculed by my teacher and accused of being lazy. My teacher seemed to look for opportunities after that to criticize me.

In the 3rd grade I began wetting myself at school.

Luckily in the 4th grade I had a wonderful and compassionate teacher and I worked hard to prove myself worthy of her kindness. I excelled in school through the sixth grade and was always in the top groups.

Then when transitioning to Catholic school in the 7th grade I tested into the middle level.

I was shocked by that having been in all top levels since the 3rd grade but it was explained to me that Catholic school was harder than public school and I was actually an average student in this new system. I wasn’t happy but I accepted what I was told.

Until high school when I tested into the highest level once again. However, after 2 years of being average and at an older age when these beliefs become more firm, I could not accept this change.

My parents were pleased but I was not. I was freaked out. Remember the last experience I had when moved into a higher level?

The thought that ran through my head as I sat in the classroom on the first day of school was, “I don’t belong here, I don’t belong here. I’m going to fail.”

This was reinforced when a girl from my previous school, who had been in a higher level, looked at me with surprise as she walked into the room that first day and asked what I was doing there.

I transferred this thought to my new classmates in the room. It didn’t matter that they didn’t know me. In my mind they knew I was a fraud and that I shouldn’t be there.

For weeks I begged, I pleaded and lashed out in anger at my parents and my guidance counselor. They wouldn’t budge. I had tested well and I belonged in the honors level classes. In their mind – that was that, case closed.

Long story short – I intentionally flunked Biology that first quarter and my parents and guidance counselor, much to their chagrin, agreed to move me down two levels to the middle level.

Do you know it took me the next 2½ years to get back into honors level classes? The reality was I didn’t belong in the middle level classes.

Who Can Help You Change Your Limiting Beliefs?

It was only after meeting an amazing teacher, who helped me to begin changing the beliefs about my abilities, reinforced by other teachers around me, that I could begin to see I had been wrong about myself.

Until I changed the belief I had about myself that I was only an average student I couldn’t excel in school.

This isn’t just the case with me, this happens to us all.

We create an outward reality that reflects the internal beliefs we have. The two have to connect.

This is the crux of the work I do with my clients.

When they change their limiting beliefs about themselves and what’s possible, they suddenly have this renewed energy and confidence to take action or take new actions.

With these new actions things start to change and they start getting the things they’ve always wanted but couldn’t seem to make a reality, be it better relationships, more money, or to finally write their book.

Until we as women are willing to believe that we are worthy of more; that we deserve the right to speak up and advocate for ourselves, to be treated well – what we will get is what we’ve always gotten.

Isn’t it time you got something different?

I saw a meme on Facebook recently that stated, “When you stand up for yourself as a woman you stand up for all women.” How true is that?

I hope this was helpful for you.


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  1. Maritza Parra

    Jodi I absolutely love the personal insights you bring to your work! What a great (though I’m sure painful while it was happening) story about how you saw yourself and allowed it to become your reality. I have SO been there many times in many areas of life. I agree that it’s something we women do a LOT. Not owning our brilliance and worrying we will be “found out”. One example for me is in my horse riding. I always felt like I wasn’t good enough even though we were incited to perform all over the country! Ack… I’m so done with this. It’s time to OWN our gifts and talents without apology. I LOVE that you are on the front lines helping women with this!

  2. Kathy Lundborg

    Oh yeah…”I’m not enough” is prolific and fascinates me how much that limiting belief gets in the way of fully shining our light. I do feel the shift is happening in the collective and I believe it is because so many of us are awakening to the presence of our limiting beliefs. Together, we can change the world, shifting perceptions on what is possible.

  3. L.A

    UGH – this is all too familiar to me. In third grade, for literally no reason, my teacher lashed out at me in front of the entire class calling me a ‘Huge ZERO’ while drawing a huge zero on the black board! She screamed so hard the entire school heard it and in recess everyone was talking about it. This ‘belief’ followed me for years and took a lot of hard work to rid of and change my beliefs about myself. And I’ve changed my ‘life story’ from I’m a worthless unworthy zero to ‘From Zero To Awesome’. And I have now dedicated my lifework to help others to undo those limiting beliefs that were instilled in them. How can we as a society help each other and raise our children to believe in themselves? ‘Small’ incidents can have such an impact on a child…. Thank you Jodi for sharing your story. Thank you for being courageous!

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