We all sometimes lack confidence. However, if that becomes the norm it can be a damaging limiting belief in this “black and white”, “right or wrong” world we now live in. You are not alone!
Have you ever been surprised by a colleague, maybe the office “superstar”, when they struggled to do something you would take for granted? We all have strengths and weaknesses.
Sometime in your life, you will have come to the conclusion that you are “not good enough.” It could have been after exam results, you may have been turned down by a potential date or you had a bad interview… the number of instances that may cause this are innumerable.
Here are some things that you may like to consider:-
- You don’t have to listen to your inner critic (you can shut it down) – Your inner critic developed to help you when you needed the motivation to work smarter and do better. It’s a defence mechanism that carries on regardless…if you let it. You can actually talk back to that inner critic in your head so when it pipes up unnecessarily, you can shut it down!
- Find the exception to open up your mind again – When you’re lost in a snowball of thoughts of how you’re not good enough then it can be tough to change your headspace back to a more positive one again. You may think to yourself you’re not doing a good job at work or that your private life is unsatisfactory. That won’t be totally true, will it? You can remember a time when you were successful in and out of work and that small exception should open up your mind to more rays of optimistic light.
- Make a list and then take a few minutes to soak in your positive memories – Take out a pen and a piece of paper or a blank memo note on your smartphone and simply think back to times and situations when you felt good enough. Alternatively, think of times when you may not have felt quite good enough at first but still took action and did well or even better than you had expected. Write a few such memories down and then when you feel uncertain or your confidence drops in some situation then pull out that note and soak in those memories for a few minutes to change your outlook.
- Stop getting stuck in the comparison trap – This is a destructive habit and tends to feed your inner critic telling you that you are not good enough. In any case, this habitual comparing is not a game you can win. There will always be someone that’s better than you or that has more or has achieved more. The old Wild West gunslingers had an adage that no matter how quick you were “there was always somebody quicker”. A much better alternative is to compare you to yourself and no one else. To see how far you’ve come and what you’ve had to overcome along the way. You need to become the fastest gun you can be, worrying about other people will only slow you down. Making that a habit and only occasionally checking out what other people are doing also makes it easier to not be envious but to be happy for their successes.
- What people share online is usually a highlight reel – In the past, you had to sit down and think about what friends and acquaintances may have had or perhaps turn on the TV to see how someone famous lived. Nowadays, what people are sharing is a highlight reel of their lives on social media. There’s nothing wrong with that but if you think that’s how their lives look all the time then you’re likely fooling yourself and making yourself feel worse without any real reason because they usually share just the happiest, most fun and exciting moments of their lives. No matter who they are, everyone will still have bad days, get ill, eat some food they shouldn’t have and they’ll have their own worries.
- Celebrate all wins – Not only the big ones because then you’ll wait a long time between celebrations and run the risk of only feeling good about yourself when you’ve reached such a peak in life. I’ve learned that it tends to work better to keep the motivation and self-confidence up if I celebrate all wins, no matter how small. One small step forward is still one small step forward and you need to take such steps no matter what lofty goal you want to reach.
- It really helps to let it out – Keeping these thoughts bottled up can make them spiral out of control. Letting them out can help you to look at things from a more grounded and constructive perspective. Talk it over with a trusted friend or dare I say (ahem, cough) a coach.
- Don’t beat yourself up – There are much better ways to motivate yourself; beating yourself up can renew your motivation to do better the next time but it will most likely cause more hurt in the long run as it drags you down mentally and may often extinguish your motivation instead of renewing it. So, find another way to motivate yourself that won’t push your respect and love for yourself down; be kinder and more constructive when you talk to yourself.
- Focus on and take responsibility for the process – If you focus on the process instead of always hoping for a certain result then you’ll be a lot more relaxed, the pressure you put on yourself will be greatly reduced and the feeling of not being good enough will diminish too. When you focus on the process then you just take responsibility for showing up and taking action.
- What someone has said or done to you may not be about you – The criticism or verbal attacks you may have received this morning or during the past year might not have been about you at all so don’t make the common mistake of thinking it’s all about you. Someone could simply have had a bad week, month or year. Remind yourself of this when you don’t feel good enough because of what someone else may have said or done and realise that you don’t have to carry their baggage and negativity.
If you deconstruct the statement “It’s true, I’m not good enough”, it is absolute rubbish and makes no sense. As a wise man once said, “Saying not good enough is like saying I am not Monday, or I am not transport – it has no logical meaning.” TRUE! Not good enough for what? Not good enough compared to whom? And the ‘good’ is as per what and whose frame of reference? Yours? But, apparently you’re not good enough, so how can you trust your opinion? Not good enough is a lie that you tell yourself.
Ultimately, it’s okay to not feel your best…you can’t be expected to be on top form 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. So the next time you feel like you are lacking confidence try some or all of the above and remember that you can only do your best and no more.