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Whispering Self-Doubt

What You Have in Common with the Covid-19 Vaccine Creator

I received my second Moderna Covid-19 vaccine shot on Monday.

They warned me that I would experience more side effects this time around.  I had a headache for 36 hours after the first shot, so I was braced for impact.

Well, I didn’t have a headache, but I was pooped yesterday.  I woke up, had a little breakfast, and napped.  Woke up for lunch then napped.  Woke up for dinner and went to bed early.  I feel back to normal today.  

The Moderna vaccine is based on technology developed by a woman named Katalin Karikó.  Her story is one of patience, perseverance, and self-belief.

She spent decades researching the efficacy of mRNA (the basis for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines).  Karikó was considered too radical and too expensive to fund.  She faced multiple grant rejections and was even demoted.

“I thought of going somewhere else, or doing something else,” Karikó said. “I also thought maybe I’m not good enough, not smart enough,” she told Stat, a health news website in November.

That was in 1995.  Now, decades later, Karikó’s work is saving millions of lives around the world.  She never gave up.  She believed in herself and this technology.  And found others with whom she could collaborate to bring her vision to life.

I don’t know anyone who hasn’t said to themselves, at one time or another, “I’m not good enough.  I’m not smart enough.”

That whisper of doubt happens to all of us.  It usually occurs when we are fighting against the status-quo, struggling to overcome the fear of change.  It slows our momentum and tries to keep us stuck.

While we might not be creating medical breakthroughs, we all confront challenging levels of change in our own lives. 

This change might take the form of a relative who doesn’t want you to show your independence.  It might be an employee who refuses to embrace a new software tool that improves efficiency in the department.  It might be a change in law, like requiring seatbelts, that forces you to create new habits.

Change is constant.  And so we must recognize when the status-quo is holding us back from improving and moving forward.

     I’m not good enough.   =>   What else can I try to make this work?

     I’m not smart enough.  =>   What else can I learn to improve this situation?

     I can’t do this.  =>   Who can I ask for help?

We all have so much potential.  Just like nightmares evaporate when we turn on the light, awareness and recognition can banish the fear and self-doubt that keep us small.

Bring your fears out into the open.  Explore what’s holding you back from living life on your terms.

What are you afraid of?  How can you turn this fear into opportunity?


Hey there, I’m a confidence coach helping stressed-out people pleasers clarify personal priorities, create healthy boundaries, and say NO with confidence.  If you like this, you can grab my most popular free resource, The People Pleaser's Toolkit, and read more helpful posts at: www.naomiyaw.com.