Professional Development

Lessons I Learned from RuPaul About Conquering Self-Doubt

Self-doubt is a common issue many people deal with daily. As an avid fan of RuPaul, I've picked up some insights on how to conquer this challenge.

Photo Credit: RuPaul Charles poses for a picture at the Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, September 19, 2021. (Mario Anzuoni/Reuters)

"If you can't love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else? Can I get an Amen?" This iconic tagline, delivered by RuPaul at the end of every episode of RuPaul's Drag Race, may initially come across as a catchy phrase or a great way to conclude a reality competition show. However, its impact goes far beyond entertainment value. For countless individuals, these words hold a profound meaning. In this article, I’ll provide examples of how this simple phrase and other lessons from RuPaul can make a significant impact in tackling any self-doubt you might be facing.   

If the title of this article caught your eye, chances are that you’ve faced self-doubt in the workplace at some point (or multiple points) in your career. Let me start by saying, you are not alone. More than 70% of workers have reported the same. 

Lesson #1: Thank Your Self-Doubt

As I outlined in another article, I’ve dealt with my own share of imposter syndrome or self-doubt and have found helpful techniques to have it work for me. Still, the self-doubt rears its ugly head. When it shows up, I think of RuPaul in an early season of RuPaul’s Drag Race where he was discussing a queen’s fear of singing and dealing with the voice that says they aren’t good enough 

RuPaul says “that voice will always be there. You have to counteract that voice with another one that says ‘thank you for sharing, that was nice, but I’m going to do this over here.” 

What RuPaul is suggesting is that rather than try to block it out, simply respond to that voice and even thank it for its opinion and move on.” I love this piece of advice because I’ve found myself trying to block out that voice and failing miserably. If anything, I’m emphasizing it. It’s like my failed attempts at meditating. When I tell myself, “stop thinking” all I do is think! 

Lesson #2: Let Loose!

On RuPaul’s Drag Race, they have a special challenge on nearly every season known as “The Makeover Challenge.” During this week, the contestants must make over non-drag queens from various walks of life. Past groups that have partaken in this have been fans of the show, military vets (featuring a classic moment where a man thinks he may have accidentally killed Judy Garland), teachers, and even the RuPaul’s Drag Race crew. 

During this week, RuPaul has often mentioned that when someone does drag for the first time, something takes over and they feel a freedom that they’ve never felt. This confidence comes out and they become an entirely new person. 

While I’m not suggesting you dress as a drag queen to gain confidence (although, don’t let me stop you!), I am suggesting you try something new to get you out of your comfort zone. Every time you attempt something new, you confront uncertainty, building resilience and flexibility. Getting out of your comfort zone can create a mindset of exploration and courage which can gradually replace self-doubt with self-trust. 

Lesson #3: Stop Dimming Your Light

Do you ever find yourself selling yourself short? Maybe you set “safe” goals for yourself. Rather than recognizing how great you are, you dim your light and talk down to yourself. It’s time to stop this as it’s a sure-fired way to land yourself in self-doubt. 

It’s no secret that RuPaul has had an extremely successful career. Drag Race is an international franchise with countless seasons and millions of fans. He’s been in numerous movies, sold millions of records, hosted a talk show and a game show, the list goes on. Rather than be modest about his successes, he’s upfront on how it doesn’t surprise him in the least. He knows how much work it took to become this successful and celebrates his victories.  

What’s the lesson? Celebrate yourself! You are amazing! Take a moment (or two) and recognize this. Bask in the glory of you and let your successes sink in. Let it act as a reminder of what it feels like to succeed. 

What did we learn?

RuPaul's iconic tagline and the lessons drawn from it not only champion self-love and confidence in our lives, but they also illuminate essential aspects of Facilitative Leadership in the workplace. These insights help us navigate self-doubt, encourage us to step out of our comfort zones, and prompt us to celebrate our accomplishments without reservation. Remember, by loving and celebrating yourself, you bring the best of you to the table, fostering a positive and empowering work environment.

If you're ready to enhance these skills in your professional journey, consider Facilitative Leadership. This dedicated course focuses on fostering resilience, cultivating a positive mindset, and honing effective communication skills, equipping you with the tools to excel as a Facilitative Leader. Embrace these lessons, and begin your journey towards empowering yourself and those around you.


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