Not Good Enough?
Not good enough is a phrase that has recurred in many people’s lives, including my own. I had just read the phrase again several weeks ago in the book Mass Influence – the habits of the highly influential by Teresa DeGrosbois . I was hit hard between the eyeballs with the realization there are still times I have those feelings that I’m not good enough. I realized I try to prove myself in so many ways to be enough. I know I’m not alone.
Every time you enter a competition, whether it is for music, for art, for sports or any other area, it is easy to think you’re not good enough. You take a deep breath, summon up the confidence to play, run, draw or speak but the feeling doesn’t ever completely go away. This may be why more participant ribbons are given out today than ever before to make kids feel they’re good enough. However, that doesn’t solve the root problem. In fact, all those ribbons may do the opposite than intended.
Not Good Enough Feelings
Life is full of times where you feel you’re not good enough. In my life, I can constantly find someone who is better skilled at music, writing, negotiating or speaking. If not careful, I can nurture the feeling that I’m not good enough. And how about relationships? I’m sure most reading this have had someone make them feel they’re not good enough. In fact, when faced with rejection from a mate or friend, it’s a very painful process to work through those not good enough feelings.
In college I was put up for Homecoming Queen–I actually ended up being on the princess court. However, in the back of my mind I justified I was only nominated because I was a star soloist in the choir. I was fairly shy and assumed I was not good enough in other areas. In fact, back then you should have seen my out of control eyebrows! (They’d be popular now, by the way!)
I have known many successful business people start their businesses with smoke and mirrors. They walked into a situation where they were really not good enough, at least at that point. However, they became good enough very quickly. How? By taking risks, learning quickly and growing in the process. Outwardly, they were now good enough, but inwardly? To meet the inward demands of being good enough, you need to understand your strengths and be comfortable with who you are.
Understand Your Strengths
I look at my studio wall full of projects and wonder why I still have those thoughts and feelings that I’m not good enough. Dozens of projects I completed while raising three active sons who are now successfully launched. World premieres of musicals realized with good reviews. Still questioning why I have the not good enough phrase affect me, my thoughts went back to some years ago entering a room with three judges in a competition, ready to tear apart a classical piece I had prepared. I was ready, yet still wondered if I was good enough.
There are times we are all those competitors entering that room, trying to balance life in front of straw judges who write comments that may or may not be helpful, earn a living and show the world what we’ve done. We look calm, like ducks floating on the water. But underneath, we’re paddling hard as we can to be enough. As we go through the decades of our lives, I’m not sure we ever really quit paddling, but we can be enough if we decide to be enough and realize our personal strengths.
Decide to Be Enough
Deciding to be enough is a constant choice because life holds plenty of twists and turns, making us compare, judge and compete. Diversions can be a person, a job, an organization or a project. Our feet start paddling faster and faster, as we are breathlessly figuring out how to float calmly on the water again. If it takes too long, the negative self talk and bad mental code moves into our thoughts, spreading like ink bleeding on absorbent paper.
Just as a website can be hacked with malware, your mind can be hacked with the malware of a not good enough virus. That virus will repeat the same negative message over and over again. The only way to defeat it is to identify it and overwrite it with a positive good enough message. I wrote the book Bad Code: Overcoming Bad Mental Code That Sabotages Your Life to identify some of the tools to overwrite bad mental code with mindsets you can apply immediately.
Overwriting bad mental code doesn’t mean you award yourself with a participant ribbon, then quit learning and growing. Actually, overwriting the not good enough thoughts should inspire you to reach even higher with positive goals. I began working through my not enough feelings through journaling to understand where my negative thoughts were coming from. It helped me to identify the problem and meet it head on. Then I re-identified my strengths to build a true sense of confidence.
You Are Enough!
What do you need to identify in your life? If you’re honest, you have been in the same place I was. However, unless you decide to meet your thoughts head-on with positive tools to overwrite negative mental code, you won’t develop positive change. I believe you really can change bad mental code. Don't hesitate to find a guide to help you through your journey--it will be one of the best decisions you ever make. Remember, I know you can do this because you are enough!