Embracing My Inner Samwise

Embracing My Inner Samwise


Sometimes we so admire the beauty we see in others that we don’t see what’s beautiful about ourselves. I’m not talking about physical attributes here {although that happens too}… I mean our innate strengths and personality traits. As a fairly analytical person in a creative field this is something I constantly struggle with… like a hobbit wishing to be an elf.

This week I was planning to blog about Reframing Adventure, but after listening to the She Percolates podcast about self doubt I decided to write this post first.

Earlier last year I had an especially strong wave of this type of self doubt when I took Sally Hogshead’s Fascinate test. I’d seen her on Marie Forleo and loved the idea that we all have our own secret sauce that fascinates others.


I was The Ace. Tireless, Decisive and Goal Oriented.

Perfect traits for my previous role as a Stage Manager in professional theatre, but decidedly less wondersome for pursing my own creativity as a storyteller, photographer & filmmaker. It made me question the move from organizing other creatives to creating work of my own.

Eyeries, Ireland | www.lovelettertoadventure.com

It happened all over again doing homework for April Bowles-Olin’s Build a Successful Creative Blog class. Asking my friends about my strengths I was similarly disenchanted with the results… Organization, Self Motivation, Dependability, Focus, Attention to Detail, Patience, Loyalty, Creativity & Kindness. {Sure, one person threw Creativity in there, but it almost felt like I was being tossed a bone.}

Fastforward several months… I’d continued shoving these feelings of inadequacy down determined to pursue my creative path in spite of them and found myself flying cross country for Belle Live. {P.S. Turns out one of my other traits as The Ace is “a relentless pursuit of what you believe in.”} Serendipitously I ended up with Kris with a K as my roomie.

Anne Hathaway's Cottage, Stratford Upon Avon, UK | www.lovelettertoadventure.com

One evening I confided to Kris that I was disappointed with my interview results. After all, who wants to read an adventure blog by someone who is dependable?

And then {cause Kris with a K is magic like that} she reframed what I was secretly ashamed of into something I could see value and potential in.

She said I was Samwise Gamgee.

Kris spoke directly into to my little geeky heart.

Now, to be honest, I prefer Gandalf with his mystique and gnarled magical staff. I always choose to play a wizard in fantasy games {Yep, I play Dungeons & Dragons… you got a problem with that?}. And I see now that I wanted to be the wizard in real life too… someone mysterious and alluring. But I’m much more straightforward than than. More hobbit-like.

"If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold it would be a merrier world." | www.lovelettertoadventure.com {Click to Tweet}

So while I wouldn’t have chosen to be Samwise, neither can I dismiss him. I can see his worth.  Without Sam, Frodo never would have made it to Mordor. {Even Dean Winchester gives him a pass.}

I’d be lying if I said I’d immediately fallen in love with all of my dependable qualities, but I’m making a real effort to embrace my inner Samwise. So you might notice a few more hobbit holes around these parts.

Anne Hathaway's Cottage, Stratford Upon Avon, UK | www.lovelettertoadventure.com

Because I know there’s a strength to being dedicated and organized and hard working. And I never wanted to be the adventurer jumping out of airplanes and visiting every country in the world. I want to help you see the beauty in the ordinary and the adventure in the everyday. And I believe that’s very Samwise of me. He was a gardener after all.

Halkidiki, Greece | www.lovelettertoadventure.com

And when I went back and looked at my homework assignment with fresh eyes I saw that my friend had actually said I was wonderfully creative. And another described me as quietly adventurous during our time in Greece. It’s all in how we frame it, and the compliments we allow ourselves to see and accept.

This week I dug back into my Tolkein books and films to “research”. And I fell in love with this quote {from this scene} in the Fellowship of the Ring film.

"It's no bad thing to celebrate a simple life." | www.lovelettertoadventure.com {Click to Tweet}

I love that sentiment. Because you don’t need to go mountain climbing to have adventure in your life. There’s so much to celebrate in the simple beauty of the everyday and viewing each new morning as the start of a fresh adventure.

If you’re feeling self doubt about your own strengths I encourage you to seek out a friend who can help you see them as a superpower.

[Tweet “Reframe what you are secretly ashamed of into something you see value in.”]


LOTR Quote | www.lovelettertoadventure.com

Let’s muddle through this together and jump in even if we’re feeling doubtfulBecause we don’t give up.

What are your struggles with self doubt? Let’s open up a real dialogue in comments. {And if anyone comes along and tries to judge you I’ll drub them across the head with my garden shovel.} 😉





Union Jack Bunting | www.lovelettertoadventure.com

P. S. If you weren’t here last week you missed my blog and illustrated printable Geek’s Guide to London. Click here to check it out and be sure to share it with your geeky friends.

  • YESSSSS!!!

    1: I love that you feel this way now 🙂 Embracing and seeing the value in our own strengths is tough, because we HAVE them, so they don’t seem so exciting. Trust me! People without your steadfastness think it’s just as mysterious and magical as Gandalf’s hat.

    2: Permission to GEEK RIGHT OUT:

    Everyone who has studied Tolkien at all knows that story is REALLY about Samwise: the truest of friends and most dependable and trustworthy of hobbits. Gandalf is there to suggest the task; Frodo is there to need the help, and Samwise is there to show us that helping, carefully and with love, is the MOST valiant of heroic acts.

    Without him, it would never have been an adventure – but rather a short and tragic story of failure in vanity.

    3: There is no question in my mind that if I was tasked with a Gandalf adventure, I’d go looking for you to come with me – though I’ve often been referred to as Merry (of the comic relief Merry and Pippin duo) as I tend to end up bumbling into adventures and happily and somewhat foolishly seat-of-the-pantsing my way through them.


    • YES! I’d love to be the Samwise to your Merry on some adventure. I promise to keep you from blowing yourself up with fireworks. 😉 We MUST make this happen.

  • Yay Sarah! Whenever I take left brain/right brain tests, my results are always split down the middle. So i understand the battle between creative & analytical.

    I just attended a webinar about the Fascination Advantage and the the results are meant to show how the world sees you, not how you operate in the world. So being though of as “The Ace” is a great thing!

    I agree with Kris, if you’re going on a quest, you need an Ace to make sure your adventure is dialed in before you start.

    You be you, Doll!!


    • Thanks Richelle! I’ve always felt that split between right and left brain. Sometimes it makes me feel like I don’t fit into either group, but I’m starting to get past that. As a recovering perfectionist it’s a big lesson for me to let go of fitting into expectations and just be 100% me. Traveling down that path now with the encouragement from you Supers. Y’all rock! 🙂

  • Oh Sarah I have been having SO much self doubt lately.

    But first…Kris with a K’s suggestion that you’re like Samwise was a complete lightbulb moment. When I read that, the geek inside me was laughing, but nodding at the same time. Samwise was always my favorite, and I’m not just saying that.

    I struggle with doubting my ideas and concepts for my photography projects are worthwhile, or that I can even ACCOMPLISH them. I’m still doing my day job and constantly doubt I’ll ever be able to leave it. I know in my heart of hearts that I have a choice, ‘try it’, or ‘always wonder what if.’

    Great post!

    • Thanks for stopping by Denise! I looked at your website and I think your pet photography concept is great, and so unique. Lots of people are passionate about their pets and I’m sure would love this! Go for it! 😀

  • Oh so good, so sooo good! Love every word. And it’s not just our mutual love of all things geeky that drew me to you, but also those very traits that you were disenchanted by 😀

  • Thanks for this reminder! So many times we don’t find value in the things that define us because we consider them “boring”–we don’t find the adventure in ourselves.

    • Thanks for commenting Georgeanne. “We don’t find the adventure in ourselves.” So true! Sounds like the makings of another whole blog post. 🙂

  • Love this!!!!!! I need to pull my results from that test. I got something reliable too. I always dream of bring a Gandalf, BUT he disappears a lot! Samwise is there through thick & thin!!!! Awesome post, awesome, awesome, awesome!!!!

    • You’re right! Gandalf isn’t always there when you need him. We need to own our stability. The Frodos of the world need us. 🙂

  • Nancy Gaines

    Sarah, you are such an impressive woman that it blows me away. That you are able to speak about this stuff in the first place and then to put it so eloquently and with just the right amount of humor. You make me so proud. Your words could inspire many women. Have you considered offering an adventure “course” that could take women on a similar journey of getting a grip on self-doubt and all the crap that goes with it? Thanks for sharing, Sarah. That takes guts.

    • Nancy your comments always warm my heart! You are such an encourager. I’m actually cooking something up a program for this summer… (not specifically for self doubt, but it might be one element we could cover) an Adventure Camp for creatives. To refuel tanks and connect with each other. What do you think?

  • Angie

    I totally love this post, so many great quotes to tweet!

    I too struggle with self-doubt, it lately comes in the form of “as I good enough?”.

    • Thanks so much for sharing & commenting Angie! I struggle with that as well so my one word for this year is “enough” as in “I am enough.” and “I am doing enough.” I have “I am enough” on a little sticky note by my computer to try and be kinder to myself. Sometimes we need a little reminder that we don’t have to be Wonder Woman. (Or Batman as Mayi always says.) Hahaha… 🙂

  • Sarah, I can SO relate, and your post came at exactly the right time. I wrote a post on my lunch break yesterday, but by the time I got home from work I had second thoughts about publishing it. It sits, waiting for me to tweak it, or the “right time” to post it. Now that I’ve read your thoughts (so well expressed), there will be no “tweaking” or “editing” – there will be a total rewrite.

    And, richelle, I recently read something to the effect of “there’s no such thing as right brain/left brain.” As a former left-brainer, it intrigued me and was actually quite freeing. If I can find it, I’ll post a link.

    UPDATE: Just Google “right brain left brain.” Apparently I was late getting the news: This has been debated and “debunked” for a few years now. 🙂

    • Suzy, it’s so nice to hear that the post resonated with you. Thanks for including me in your Weekly Wrap Up and I hope you find grace for yourself rewriting that post. Be sure to let me know when it’s up.

      I’d not heard that left brain/right brain has been debunked. That’s really interesting.

  • Regardless of the test results, I think you send off lots of creative charm. Love your posts and your pics, etc.

  • I can definitely relate to this one. My introverted self says NO! Don’t let out so much, but my desire to connect with other creatives says YES! And I always feel ‘boring’ and ‘uninteresting’. Still struggling with these self doubts.

    • It’s a dance for sure! I was pretty scared to share this post because it was so personal, but I’ve been blown away by the response it’s gotten. And I’d never describe you as boring or uninteresting Beth. Love the whimsical style of your creations! As my friend Richelle said below, “You be you, doll.”

  • Sarah such an ingenious and intriguing post. Sounds as if your journey is inspiring to many. I will have to check out some of these tests you take – looks like they lead to wonderful self-discovery.

    • Thanks! The questions April told us to ask our friends were… 1.) What do I do better than most other people. 2.) What are my strengths? 3.) If you were telling someone about me who had never met me and you could only tell one story that sums up who I am, what story would you tell?

  • Talya Tate Boerner

    I love your honesty. We are so alike in many ways. Although I’m not geeky, I strive to see the beauty in the ordinary. Sometimes that’s all I can depend on to get through the day.

    • Thanks Talya. One of my favorite things about reading fantasy books are those tiny meta moments when the character (who is obviously living a very unique life) tells themselves it would never happen in a storybook or real heroes don’t have to do such-and-such. You just want to reach through the page and shake them and tell them to enjoy the adventure! So I like to imagine we’re all in our own stories and it’s our responsibility not to let them pass by unappreciated.

  • gknupp

    Wow. My experience with self doubt? Only have thought about it every second of every day for the past few weeks. It’s probably why I’ve been so down on blogging and bloggers lately (seen my most recent post?) and why I’ve been in such a bad mood. My problem is I don’t have anyone to talk about it to. I mean, there’s Thom. But he can’t be objective, can he? He’s my fiance. Of course he thinks I’m awesome, interesting, and all those other “things” I want to be. I just can’t see them in myself at the moment. I’m so glad I clicked over. Thanks!

    • I think that’s one of the hardest things about self doubt. It’s so hard to talk about them and they gnaw away at us from the inside. We feel like our friends and family are just being nice and then cut ourselves down even more. Glad this could help while you were feeling down! Embrace your inner strengths too Gina! I love your creativity and kindness. 🙂

  • Loved this and I’m not going to lie I totally geeked out

    • Thanks for stopping by Rachel! I geek out mercilessly over here. 🙂 I’m off to check out your blog. Love the watercolor header.

  • Aww Samwise is one of my favorites! This is such a great post! A great reminder that all you need to do is adjust your mindset to allow happiness and adventure into your life 🙂

    • Thanks so much Caitlin! I’ve definitely been exploring the power of reframing this year. It can make a huge impact! So glad we could connect through #createlounge and #OWSChat. Twitter parties are just the best, aren’t they?

  • I’ve been thinking (=having long monologues with myself) about the same subject this week! I came to some “deep” conclusions. 😉 Actually, just as you were inspired by the podcast, you inspired me to write about it too. I was intending to write about a different topic, but this one makes much more sense for me at the moment.
    I love Ace’s qualities! I sure wish I had some. 😉 We are so silly not appreciating the qualities we already have and others admire about us… I’m the Beloved – nurturing, loyal, sincere. Now I’m not a huge fan of LOTR (I’m more the GOT type), so I don’t know the characters that well, but I couldn’t resist a couple of personality tests for fun and always resulted in one of the elves. Maybe that’s why I was attracted to somehow elvish-looking game I played for your adventure generator. 🙂

    • Thanks so much Maša! It’s tough to see what’s beautiful in ourselves. I love your nurturing beloved qualities. I can see them in your Instagram feed from your warm yarn to the lists of good things. And you’re definitely an elf. 🙂

      • Awww, it feels so nice to hear that from you! 🙂

    • Oh, and if you write about it on your blog be sure to come back and share the link!

  • Christin Stoufflet

    I have a terrible time with self dout. It has been holding me back for years. When I look around at other creatives I think two things: wow that person is so much better than me or that person is so much worse than me but LOOK they are doing my dream. If they are going for it, then what is my problem? I am continually annoyed with my inability to step out of my bubble. Sigh.

    • You’re doing great things Christin! I’ve seen your pottery and paper marbleizing! Define that big dream and start making small actionable steps. Like Mayi Carles says, taking action mutes self doubt. You are awesome and you will rock it!

  • Caity Hummel

    i love this! i recently did enneagram and took it so many times because i hated my result. The Reformer. AKA the hard laced perfectionist – how does that fit with being a creative writer?! ha! I love that you were able to reframe your traits to see the goodness in them 🙂

    • Thank you Caity! I only recently heard of enneagram myself from Tsh Oxenrider’s podcast. Where did you discover your results? I can definitely relate, as perfectionism is a big part of my personality as well, I think it’s a blessing and a curse. It gives us the focus to do the work, but we have to work not to be too hard on ourselves and allow ourselves to get messy and color outside the lines sometimes… so to speak. Thanks for dropping by.

      • Caity Hummel

        I just found a couple different sites with tests and I kept receiving the same results. I think liked the quiz on the eclectic energies website best though. You should check it out! 🙂

        • I got Reformer too by a landslide on two different tests. That means we grow to Enthusiast, right? I need to do some more research. I only really heard that one podcast about how it works.

  • beachmama

    Excellent post! Yep, welcome to life . . . we all are plagued with self-doubt to some degree and I don’t see it as negative. Self-doubt keeps me in check, keeps me grounded and considerate. I like who I am but not 100% of the time but even after 60 years on this planet I still have LOTS more to learn and LOTS more to improve upon. LOVE your writing lady!

    • Thanks so much for dropping by and for commenting! And YES always, always more to learn. I wouldn’t have it any other way. 🙂

  • Thanks so much for sharing this post with me! Self-doubt can eat me alive; in fact, I’m going through it right this second.

    I love how determined and hardworking you are. That’s exactly what separates the successful creatives from the ones who stay paralyzed with fear. ‘Determination’ and ‘hardworking’ sound mighty adventurous to me. 🙂