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Believe in yourself… (Radio show transcript)

If you believe Within your heart You’ll know that no one can change The path that you must go…

The late Lena Horne sings the song on The Wiz soundtrack titled, Believe In Yourself

Believe in yourself. That’s our theme today. What does believing in yourself look and feel like? How do you act like when you believe in yourself? These are the questions we will answer today. The late Lena Horne went through a period when no one believed in her being an African-American singer and actress at the time she embarked on her career. She is a good example of what believing in yourself can do for you.

What is the spark of the divine within you that’s trying to come forth? Are you committed to believing in yourself and doing the hard work required to make your dreams come true? Robert Pruitt, author of Out of the Box and It Is Well with My Soul is our guest today. He has been through all kinds of issues himself, including the death of his father that he writes about in his last book. He is faculty for Iyanla Vanzant’s Inner Visions Institute where he teaches facilitation and coaching and he owns a leadership development company.

Do you feel like you are stuck in a rut or not moving forward fast enough and you just want to crank your life up to the next level and be steps further along in your journey than where you are now? That is what we will be discussing today. You can never believe in yourself enough, especially as a person of color, a female or as part of any other grouping. The good news is that you are in the USA, the land of opportunities. However, it’s always nice to have additional affirmation when going through life because life comes with facing many challenges and it is one thing to say you believe in yourself and it’s another thing for your actions to reflect that reality.

Believe in yourself…

Believe what you feel And know you’re right because The time will come around When you’ll say it’s yours

Robert: When I was thinking about being on the show today, after yesterday’s massacre in Connecticut where 28 people were killed, I feel I have to be transparent because we know there are no accidents in life. Yesterday’s event showed the innocence of lost life and the injured lives left behind. I’m clear that many of us are walking through life with our innocence injured during some phase of our development, to where some don’t believe in themselves anymore, and for some it is to the point that they don’t feel they have any value or worth. Many people have low self-esteem, which is when we are operating from a low fear-based placed, where there’s no joy, peace, confidence or contentment. A person’s self-esteem is lowered for life due to some event. For example, your parent abandons you and you interpret that as, “I don’t matter” and carry that pain and low sense of self through life. There’s a wound and injured innocence there.

When we are asked the question, “How are you?” there are many of us who are wounded saying everything is good and fine because no one challenges us on what our answer means. Some people say, “I don’t need to tell everybody how I am doing,” but some of us don’t even think about it. You should check in with your internal dialog, so when you are asked that question, instead of automatically saying, “I am fine,” you should be responding honestly and the answer should be for you to tune in and honestly expressing what is occurring in you. Obama tearing up yesterday about the massacre was an example showing raw emotion based on how he felt.

Caller: I would love to know how to take things to the next level. I’d like to do something different but it’s a long road that will get me to it. I’m looking at it from different perspectives. I think there are bigger things I can do and I want to move into teaching at a higher level.

Robert: Is it an inkling or intuitive thing in you? Have you made contact with the community organization or schools where you can do it? You have to make the contact. Sometimes the inkling drives us to take steps we are capable of doing. Make a list of colleges around you where you want to teach. You can’t jump the Grand Canyon in one jump, so take little steps. Don’t intellectualize it. Just begin somewhere and this is what you should do: Contact the schools by a certain date and time and then journal about what you want to do. Journal about what you discovered. Take the time to write about your thoughts feelings and experiences. You are not looking to write anything specifically you just want to complete that thought. There’s something to writing that you can’t get with typing. Also, use your least dominant hand to journal because that’s harder for you to control and allows you to dig deeper into expressing yourself. Find an accountability partner. In your case, I will serve as your accountability partner.

Host: Why are you quiet?

Caller: I was quiet because I know I can move past my fears and inhibitions and move into my future, that’s why I was quiet.

Robert: When we are open, clear, understanding, kind we can achieve a lot. Focus on being that way. Don’t overly focus on doing anything initially.

Host: The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. You can keep it simple.

What would your life look like if you believed in yourself? Call in to share…

Caller: I’m the “after” of setting expectations and how things work out. I wanted to teach, so I called a college. That day I was given the opportunity to interview. The principal said, “I want you to put your proposal together and it will be your department.” When I was in the commercial environment, I was a civil engineer designer and you just work and work, but teaching is different because it’s about support, setting expectations, being a leader with expectations for myself, etc.

Robert: Take a deep breath. I’m feeling that you have placed an expectation on yourself to be everything to the students who come to the class. What if you didn’t have to focus on teaching the students and focus on just being present, offering questions to help them think critically and allowing their individual processes to unfold and then offering insight into their realization?

Caller: I realize that each person has their own life’s path and everyone has their own journey but I want to do so much for them.

Robert: Write in a journal stating, the overwhelming feeling I feel is due to… Separating the academic activity from the other things you will do is what you need to do. It seems like the challenge for you is to get clear on how to present your gifts to the world, keeping in mind that you’ve got this journey that will unveil itself in time. Give yourself the opportunity to go through your journey. In your situation, I think of the acronym FEAR, which stands for False Evidence Assumed Real. This is something real that people feel even though it’s not real. Perfectionism keeps coming up for me about you.

Caller: Well, I also want to share with your callers that the first time I called a school, I was told no but I didn’t stop there. I called other schools and kept calling till I got my break through.

Robert: Your “expectations” have come up a lot in what you have shared. So, often ask yourself, what is it that I’m making up that I need to do or be? That thinking, if not checked, may be detrimental to you.

Host: Thanks for showing us how things, such as wanting to help and feeling inadequate due to perfectionism, can occupy the same space at the same time.

Caller: I’m 47 years old and I find myself asking, do I believe in myself, because life has hit me hard. I’m in the worst times of my life but I’m expecting a break through soon. When I was young I was bright eyed and on fire. Now, I don’t believe in myself because I’ve had many doors closed in my face, but I’m here and still fighting. I was in ministry and got hurt and that knocked me down, but I’m back up and looking to go forth. I love Iyanla’s show and I’ve always wanted a mentor, so here I am asking for help.

Robert: “I’m experiencing upset” is what I hear from your voice and words. These are the things you should do:

Complete a forgiveness journal. This is designed to remove you from fight-survival mode because that’s not really living for you. What you write in your journal should include:

What I forgive myself for is…

What I forgive others for is…

What I’m committed to is…

Respond to those statements in that order with no distractions and give yourself 15 minutes to do it. It will consist of intrinsic and non-intrinsic things. Look at the gate keepers who slammed those doors in your face. You know what the next step is. Breathe deeply to release some negative energy of the hurt in you. Ministry means to serve, so you can always be in ministry regardless of where you are or what you do even when working at McDonalds, but it seems that you believe your ministry must look a certain way. You were ministering in a church and you were hurt. That’s your story. It goes like this, “I was wounded in the church, that was my road to Damascus experience and I can’t do that no more,” but you said, “When I’m giving to others I’m happy, so you should still find a way to serve, but serving in a church may not be for you because of your past experience.

Caller: I’m a 38-year-old professional who has conquered many things but I’m 318 lbs. and embarking on a different career where I can’t be overweight. I know that I am really overweight, but I was under the facade of “I’m fine even though I’m overweight.” I’ve done many things to lose weight, but I sabotage myself, so it must be fear that’s holding me back.

Robert: I’ve gone through weight loss. At 6’2 I was overweight, but because of my height people didn’t know my weight, but often weight is a physical representation of a desire to protect ourselves. Did you hear about the forgiveness journal I discussed earlier?

Caller: If there’s someone in my life I can’t forgive, it is myself. People grow up with different unhealthy cycles, but when you consciously continue that cycle yourself when you are responsible for yourself then you have to put it on you.

Robert: You talked about a personal experience and then when you used “people,” you generalized it to include other people because being overweight is often accompanied with low self-esteem. This is a conversation you have with yourself about yourself. However, you devalue the experience when you generalize it instead of focusing on the fact that this is what you feel and it is an opportunity for you to be offered a divine opportunity for healing. From how you expressed yourself I know your intellect is powerful, so yourself sabotage will be also masterful. Do you believe in a higher power?

Caller: Yes and I also already journal.

Robert: I’m sensing that you may intellectualize your journaling and there’s no prayer preceding the activity. Pray about releasing all thoughts that show up as a physical weight in you. The lies you have ingested are showing up as girth. Have you been overweight on and off?

Caller: Yes, all my life. However, I lost weight when I became a vegan, which was a political statement, not really something I did for myself or my health.

Host: Is there something else in your past that’s causing this?

Caller: It’s the same old story of experiencing sexual violation as a child.

Host: That’s what I was getting at. The weight is often your protection and fortress. Make sure your weight is not where your feelings go. Learn to tell yourself the truth the way you normally don’t.

Caller: How do you move through criticism, gossip and the fear of people talking about you?

Robert: Is it working for you?

Caller: It’s not working. I love what I do but people say I should go to the next level.

Robert: When they criticize you, it is triggering an inner conversation about yourself you already have, that’s why it is affecting you. So don’t give those moments of self-criticism value in your life. You are criticizing the criticism when you pull away from your dreams and your inner conversations are about fear. Each moment, you can respond from fear or gratitude. Criticism is going to show up to see if you’ve learned the lesson. If you believe in yourself right from the start you will be fine. You should journal by completing the statement, what I appreciate is that the criticism is allowing me to discover… or it is helping me… so you can see it through a different filter because it can be feedback that can be appreciated. You must always think and journal, what I appreciate about every act of criticism is…

Caller: I want to start a foundation for medical insurance for my late mother, but I’m afraid.

Robert: What is the name of the foundation?

Caller: The Barbara Walker Foundation

Robert: What is the mission statement? What is the purpose of the organization? Who is the target audience? Under that, list the top two or three services you will offer. I will walk you through that and link you with some people who can help you.

Source: The Audrey Chapman Show Host: Theresa Caldwell Guest: Robert Pruitt Editor: Jeremie D. Guy

About Today’s Guest: Robert Leigh Pruitt, II has provided leadership training and program development, motivational speaking, and spiritual life coaching throughout the United States, the U. K., Ireland, India, Africa, China, Peru, Cambodia and the Virgin Islands. Robert’s client family includes: Operation Smile, Inc., The National Student Leadership Conference, The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Training Academy, Maryland’s Department of Juvenile Services. Currently, Robert serves as faculty for noted author Iyanla Vanzant’s Inner Visions Institute for Spiritual Development.

Pruitt—an informal educator since 1985—specializes in the development of programs that provide youth and adults an opportunity for extraordinary personal growth. Robert received the 2010 STEM CHAMPION CONGRESSIONAL AWARD for Pioneering Innovations that are Transforming Schools, Empowering Teachers as Designers of 21st Century Learning, and Preparing Youth as STEM Ambassadors and Global Leaders in a Digital Age. He has authored books, which include “It Is Well With My Soul! Watching Daddy Live!” “Out of the Box: Sharing the Gift You Are with the World!”, “Leadership and Advocacy in Pharmacy”, and “Understanding Male Power and Its Role in Relationships for the NBA”. He has appeared on CNN, Oprah and regularly on The Audrey Chapman Show on WHUR 93.3FM.

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