• dairbrown

S2/E17: How to Break the Habit of Self-Doubt and Build Real Confidence by Mel Robbins

Updated: Aug 2, 2021

This week, we’re reviewing How to Break the Habit of Self-Doubt and Build Real Confidence, another class offered on the CreativeLive platform. This time by motivational speaker, Mel Robbins. I chose this one to go along with the pattern of the shows each month:

  1. The first Thursday of the month is always a mindset book or class.

  2. The second Thursday is always a business class.

  3. The third Thursday is a writing skills/craft/art (pick your favorite word) class.

  4. The fourth Thursday is always some sort of mentor or MasterClass.

  5. When we have a fifth class in a month, the theme is always wellness.

In this case, I would argue that Mel’s class could’ve easily fit under the mindset class. After all, there’s a lot here that could help someone with writer’s block, for instance. But at the foundation of all of our efforts is a need to value ourselves enough to take care of ourselves, to feel good enough in our skin to eat nutritious food, sleep enough, move our bodies around from time to time. So confidence is under everything.


Following her first book, Stop Saying You’re Fine: The No B-S Guide to Getting What You Want, Mel Robbins released The Five Second Rule and The Five Second Journal both of which refer to her core approach for making changes in your life. She first shared “The Five Second Rule” in a TED Talk that essentially launched her onto the global stage. After the TED Talk video went viral, Robbins’ career as a public speaker ramped way up. She has since expanded into both writing and a daytime television show, aptly named The Mel Robbins Show. Her website has numerous videos, blog posts, and the chance to sign up for a weekly email list. While she does offer an email-based program in conjunction with her books, as far as I can tell the only place to get a Mel Robbins class is on the CreativeLive platform.

There’s a lot here, but like usual, I’m just here to give you a taste. Here are my…

Three Things

1. Stop beating yourself up about your feelings. You can’t control your feelings. Those are – to quote the Buddhist metaphor – the clouds. But you are the sky. Your feelings are not something you can control, but you have far more control over which thoughts you invest in and which actions you take. So, while you can stop berating yourself for feeling envious or frustrated or insecure, for instance, you need to stop letting yourself off the hook about your thoughts and behaviors. Feeling envious, frustrated, or insecure? What actions can you take to move your own work (or cause) forward even the smallest incremental amount? What sorts of thought patterns are likely to support those actions? For instance, the thought, “I never finish anything” is not helpful. The thought, “I’ve learned the things I need to learn from those earlier experiences that will help me finish this time” is.

2. Don’t buy into the notion that confidence is a trait you’re born with (or not). Robbins lists three myths about confidence: That it’s a personality trait, that it’s fixed, and that it’s always available. She argues that it’s far more fluid that that. You’re likely, for instance, to have confidence in some areas and not others. You’re like to have confidence in some social situations and not others. And the more you practice taking actions (or failing to take actions), the more you build (or drain) your confidence.

3. Both confidence and self-doubt are habits more than anything, and habits can be changed. It’s actually easier to change your behavior than it is your mindset, but changing behavior can lead to changed mindset. As Mel Robbins puts it, “If I can get you to change your behavior, you will see physical evidence that justifies a different mindset.”

*Hack: It’s a little bit strange to make the hack her core philosophy, but it works so beautifully as a hack. Here it is, directly from Mel Robbins herself: “The moment you begin to hesitate, count 5-4-3-2-1 and move forward before your mind stops you.” That’s it. (Bonus Hack: If you have trouble with procrastination, tell yourself you only have to work for 5 minutes. And then do it. See where things go from there.)

I’ll close with this quote from Mel Robbins, which in her signature style boils it down to its essential truth:

“Confidence is the decision to try. Self-doubt is the decision not to.” Mel Robbins, How to Break the Habit of Self-Doubt and Build Real Confidence

As I said, there’s a lot more here. Here’s a list of the topics Robbins covers in the course:

  1. Imposter Syndrome

  2. Myths and Truths: Science of Confidence

  3. The 4 Traps of Self-Doubt

  4. The Simple Secret to Changing Habits

  5. 2 Strategies to End Worry and Curb Anxiety

  6. 5 Simple Habits that Build Confidence

This class is on the longer side – over 5 hours. Lessons range from less than 5 minutes to nearly an hour long. I have the CreativeLive app on my phone and iPad, and I use a browser to access CreativeLive on my computer. I’ve streamed lessons on all of them easily.

Following are Mel’s books (so far), which cover her core approach. You can also find them on The Rookie Writer Bookshop (and benefit a local bookstore)!


There are lots of other great writing classes in CreativeLive that you can check out, but also classes around the subjects of photo/video production, money/life management, art/design, crafts, and music/audio production.

You can access CreativeLive classes in multiple ways:

  1. CreativeLive streams free courses every single day (24/7) on CLTV.

  2. Also possible to buy your courses. This one is listed for $29 (on sale from $149).

  3. Also possible to get all access passes. $39 a month or $149 for an annual pass ($12.41/mo).

I’d say most classes will cost between around $15 and $75, but some fall outside that range. Right now, CreativeLive has a $15 coupon for both of us!

Next week I’ll be reviewing Overcoming Writer’s Block by Dave Ursillo, which is also offered as a class on CreativeLive.

Until then. . .

Happy writing, people!

P.S. In other Dair news:

  1. Fellow author Robin Knabel and I recently posted a new episode of our new podcast, Unsettling Reads. Come check out our spoiler-free review of Megan Gidding’s Lakewood and browse our other reviews of books from the crime, fantasy, horror, literary, mystery, sci-fi, suspense, and thriller genres. You can find it all at www.UnsettlingReads.com.

  2. To find out what I’ve been working on, fiction-wise, visit www.HDairBrown.com. Sign up for the email list, and I’ll send you a free story every month. Just one email a month. I promise not to inundate you. I hate a pesky emailer!

  3. Finally, to help you keep track of both your writing goals and your time, visit TheRookieWriter.net and sign up for the email list to get a free undated quarterly version of The Rookie Writer Playbook (a planner/organizer just for writers) to try out. And, of course, The Rookie Writer Etsy shop has full annual, dated Writing Planners available, along with a few other tools and fun swag for writers.

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