I spent most of my young life thinking I wasn’t good enough. In fact, I’ve spent a fair chunk of my adult life feeling the same way. Wherever I was in my life and career, I would question, do I deserve to be here? Sorry, we’ve started our session early. Do you mind if I lay on your couch, while I tell you about my troubles?
Okay, great. So, where does this fear, “I’m not good enough”, come from? Certainly not from my wife, who is nothing but loving and supportive. My parents… let’s just say I couldn’t wish for better parents. Nor a better childhood. In fact, as the years went on, I noticed everyone around me had those feelings of self doubt creep in too.
As a young bloke, I wasn’t sure which path to take. My Mother valued formal education first because she earned higher degrees later in life. My brother encouraged me to study but he was always looking for the next thing I should do. Often, before I finished the last thing I worked my butt off for. My Father encouraged me but always gave me a way out, in case I felt I could not make it. My friends at the time were in high paying jobs, without an education. So, for them, going to uni was a waste of time.
Don’t get me wrong. Every one of these people thought they had my best interests at heart. Only I would truly ever know what it meant to be fulfilled. In the words of Cat Stevens, “If they were right, I’d agree but it’s them they know, not me…”
So, you can probably see, I was going to disappoint someone important in my life. Pleasing everyone was just not realistic. It took me a long time to learn that living up to other people’s expectations would always make me feel empty. I would never feel like I was enough. One day, after many years, I learned to focus on my own values.
Back when I was trying to prove myself and live up to other people’s expectations, I worked damn hard. I’ve tried my hand at a lot of things, from flipping burgers and worked all the way up the food chain (see what I did there!). I’ve studied and earned 3 degrees, including my Master of Business and Commerce degree.
Then, after 20 years of pretty solid work experience, someone else crushed my confidence.
Have you ever seen the movie horrible bosses? Well, I had 2 of them, at the same time. I know, I know. You’ve had them too. We all have. If I had to describe their leadership styles, I would say soul crushing. Every day, they had something negative to say about one of my colleagues. Of course, they would bad mouth my colleagues to me and me to my colleagues.
Did I really give a shit what they had to say, when they were belittling me every day? Unfortunately yes. After a career where I had earned my stripes, their doubt in my abilities caused me to question myself again. Somehow, those deep seated feelings I had when I was younger, came flooding back.
What Tony Robbins taught me
2 weeks ago, I attended Unleash The Power Within (UPW), with Tony Robbins. During the event, Tony explained people’s fears about themselves boil down to 2 things. Either, “I am not enough” or “I won’t be loved”. Most people make decisions trying to prove they are enough and they deserve to be loved. They deserve to love themselves. Sadly, they never really believe that, deep down.
False, limiting beliefs
Wow. What a moment! When Tony taught me that simple lesson, I had an epiphany. I thought to myself, “If I am not enough now, then when?” Like most of you, I’m waiting for that big moment when I prove myself to the world. That moment that may never arrive or if it does, will simply set new goal posts. There’s nothing wrong with new goal posts, except, you should learn to celebrate your accomplishments before you move on to the next.
My new, empowering belief
As I sit here today, I’m living in my dream house. Married to a gorgeous wife. have my own business and I’ve worked in 3 of my dream jobs. Some people never find their first.
Attending UPW made me realise my feelings of inadequacy are quite common. In fact, my internal dialogue over the years has forced me to repeat my false belief that, “I am not enough”. I realised I have done a lot in my life. My hard work and dedication means I deserve to be here. I believe luck plays a part. Still, everything I own, everything I have and everything I am -I have earned.
My new belief is that, “I am accomplished”. I am educated, I have achieved big goals, I have worked hard. Most of all, I am enough and I deserve to be here. I will never let anyone else tell me I do not.
What I have learned
Never let someone else decide your worth. Looking back, my negative feelings were because of that false belief I would repeat to myself, over and over. What I didn’t realise, is that by repeating that, I was never the one to set standards for myself. I allowed the way others treated me, or what they said to me, decide my worth. I let them tell me I wasn’t good enough.
I realised something else, as I reflected back on my recent experience with horrible bosses. They treated me terrible because of how they felt about themsleves. Somehow, despite all they had done, they felt like they were not enough. They had something to prove and they needed to bring others down to do it. In Australia, we call that tall poppy syndrome. Some people feel threatened by others’ success.
No matter what you do or how hard you work, it will always be there.
I don’t need anyone else’s vaildation. Neither do you.
After all, I am accomplished. I am enough.