By Louise Evans, Founder, The 5 Chairs

Are you secretly a Hedgehog?

Self-doubt is a natural human emotion that can hinder personal and professional growth. It often stems from negative beliefs about oneself, fear of failure, or past experiences. Recognizing and addressing self-doubt is essential to achieving success and building self-confidence. For example, do you ever find yourself saying:

  • I’ll never be able to do …
  • I’m not intelligent/competent/beautiful/important/thin enough.
  • It’s all my fault…
  • I don’t deserve…
  • She’s achieved so much. What have I done?
  • Why can’t I stand up for myself? I’m a failure!
  • Why does it always happen to me?
  • That’s just the way I am.  I can’t change.
  • They’ll never choose me…
  • I never have any luck.
  • Nobody cares about me…

If So, You Might Be Sitting in the Hedgehog Chair.

What’s That?

The 5 Chairs model is the time-tested tool for improving communication by helping us to understand our own behavior and perspectives, as well as those of others.

The Red Chair (Jackal: Attack) represents our tendency to judge and blame others, while the Yellow Chair (Hedgehog: Self Doubt)  represents our blaming of self and others, and the fear of rejection. The Green Chair (Meerkat: WAIT) encourages us to be curious and mindful, while the Blue Chair (Dolphin: Detect) helps us to become more self-aware and assertive. Finally, the Purple Chair (Giraffe: Connect) is about empathy and understanding, and deeply connecting with others.

By using the 5 Chairs, we can become more aware of our own behaviors, WAIT before reacting, and choose to respond in a way that is more constructive and empathetic.

For example, if we tend to default to the Red or Yellow Chair, we can try to shift our perspective to the Blue or Purple Chair, where we will be more open and understanding.

Are You Secretly a Hedgehog?

The Yellow Self-Doubt Chair encompasses a wide range of emotional responses. Some individuals may feel perplexed by it, while others may dismiss or minimize its impact. Yet, many people strongly resonate with the experience of self-doubt, feeling as though they are perpetually grappling with these emotions.

The metaphor of the hedgehog aptly represents this state. When confronted with fear or uncertainty, a hedgehog instinctively curls into a prickly ball, shielding its soft, vulnerable underbelly with a formidable array of spines. Similarly, when experiencing self-doubt, we may attempt to hide our insecurities and protect ourselves from potential judgment.

Understanding Self-Doubt

It is essential to recognize and address self-doubt in order to foster resilience and empower ourselves to reach our full potential.

Fear, for example, can significantly influence our behavior, often leading us to withhold our thoughts and opinions in the workplace. By understanding the fear-based dynamics that prevent open communication, we can work towards reducing their impact and fostering a more collaborative environment.

Identifying the Triggers of Self-Doubt

To overcome self-doubt, it’s crucial to identify its triggers. Common triggers include:

  1. Perfectionism: Holding yourself to unrealistic standards can lead to feelings of inadequacy.
  2. Comparison: Comparing yourself to others often fosters self-doubt.
  3. Negative feedback: Criticism, whether constructive or not, can trigger self-doubt.
  4. Fear of failure: Worrying about potential failure can erode your confidence.

Recognizing these triggers helps you take the first step towards overcoming self-doubt.

Strategies to Overcome Self-Doubt

Implement the following strategies to conquer self-doubt and boost your self-confidence:

Reframe Negative Thoughts

Transform negative thoughts into positive, actionable statements. Instead of saying “I can’t,” try “I can learn” or “I will improve.”

Set Realistic Goals

Establish achievable objectives and break them down into smaller, manageable tasks. This will help you track your progress and maintain motivation.

Embrace Failure

Recognize that failure is an essential part of learning and growth. Accept setbacks as opportunities to learn and improve.

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness techniques, such as meditation and deep breathing, can help you stay present and reduce self-doubt.

Building Long-Term Confidence

Boost your self-confidence with these long-term strategies:

Develop a Growth Mindset

Cultivate a mindset that embraces challenges and views setbacks as opportunities to grow.

Invest in Personal Development

Continuously work on improving your skills, knowledge, and abilities to build confidence in your abilities.

Celebrate Your Achievements

Acknowledge and celebrate your successes, no matter how small. This will reinforce positive self-belief.

Adopt a Self-Compassionate Attitude

Treat yourself with kindness and understanding, just as you would a friend or loved one.

To Escape the Hedgehog, Become a “Behavioral Ninja”

Overcoming self-doubt is a continuous journey that requires self-reflection, persistence, and a growth mindset. By implementing the strategies outlined in this article, you can conquer self-doubt, build long-lasting self-confidence, and empower your mindset for self-confidence and self-affirming behaviors.

Becoming a “Behavioral Ninja” means having the skills and awareness to experience the pangs of self-doubt and WAIT before reacting in a way that reveals it to everyone around you.

To become a Behavioral Ninja, one must learn how to manage emotions, regulate attitudes and behaviors, communicate with clarity and impact, handle difficult conversations, share feedback constructively, listen with empathy, transform conflict, and cultivate better relationships. The 5 Chairs Intro Course details these topics and helps individuals master these skills.

Effective communication is essential in all aspects of our lives, particularly in the workplace where it can be the difference between success and failure. The 5 Chairs Method helps individuals master their communication skills and become a Behavioral Ninja.

Here are some Behavioral Ninja Tips when the Hedgehog Rears its Prickly Head:

Develop a Routine for Self-Reflection

Setting aside time for self-reflection is essential to identify patterns of self-doubt and monitor your progress. Regularly assess your thoughts, emotions, and actions to foster self-awareness and growth.

Stay Committed to Your Goals

Maintain focus on your objectives and persevere in the face of challenges. Staying committed to your goals will help you build resilience and confidence in your ability to achieve them.

Embrace Change and Adaptability

Recognize that change is inevitable and adapt to new situations with a positive attitude. Embracing change and remaining flexible will help you navigate challenges and reduce self-doubt.

Nurture a Positive Mindset

Cultivate a positive mindset by focusing on your strengths, successes, and the opportunities that lie ahead. A positive outlook will help you combat self-doubt and maintain a strong belief in your abilities.

Don’t Sweat the Hedgehog

By understanding The 5 Chairs and becoming a “Behavioral Ninja,” you will be better equipped to convert your natural fears and insecurities into courage to take creative and skilful action. Remember, it’s not about changing who you are, but rather about being aware of the different behavioral styles and adjusting your own style to match. With the skills and awareness to effectively manage your emotions, you will be on your way to a happier and more successful work experience.



If you’re ready to become a behavioral ninja, The 5 Chairs Intro Course is for you. This highly innovative and widely-acclaimed self-paced video course is packed with 22 highly engaging videos, exercises, scenarios, and tips to help you become the master of any situation. The course covers a range of topics, from reducing toxic behaviors, to moving from judgment to observation, facts, and requests, to managing your inner critic.

The 5 Chairs Intro Course is practical, memorable, and fun to learn. It’s based on simple, easily digestible concepts and metaphors that are suitable for all learning styles, and it uses rich sensory messaging to drive the concepts home. The course is also universal, crossing all cultures and generations, making it applicable to everyone.


The benefits of taking the 5 Chairs Intro Course are many. People who have experienced the course report greater self-awareness, self-understanding, control of their behavior, resilience, and better relationships both at work and at home. It’s a truly transformational experience that will help you become your best self, and in turn, impact the positive evolution of your teams, organizations, families, and whole communities.

The 5 Chairs learning journey leads to better self-reflection, self-awareness, self-management, self-expression, and self-actualization. It’s an opportunity to step up and take control of your life, your relationships, and your future. So if you’re ready to become a behavioral ninja in today’s combative workplace, enroll in The 5 Chairs Intro Course today.

Leave a Reply