Has something like this ever happened to you: You are competing for an opportunity. You are selling yourself, sharing why you should be selected, and they pick you. Yes! Then you immediately go to “oh crap – now I have to deliver.” You start to doubt yourself. Or, maybe you are sitting in a gathering with a room full of fabulous women. As you look around, you start to shrink in your chair as you think you don’t belong. You’re not feeling good enough.
This is not just some thoughts that pass through our heads. What we tell ourselves on an ongoing basis can affect how we feel and act. Our thoughts impact our perception of reality. This can lead to stress, anxiety, and depression.
Remember: when you are not feeling good enough, you are not alone.
I recently attended an event hosted by the local Chamber of Commerce. The event was titled “Life Lessons from Unstoppable Women”. These were legitimately unstoppable women! Very impressive! And then I heard it……. they started admitting that there are times when they doubt themselves, when they feel like maybe they are not good enough. Wait, what? THEY doubt themselves?
According to the National Science Foundation, the average person has about 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those, 80% are negative and 95% are exactly the same repetitive thoughts as the day before. That’s a lot of negativity to deal with.
Not feeling good enough is a habit.
When we act out of habit, we are not in the moment, not being thoughtful, and have removed options. We are in automatic mode. It takes little effort as it happens almost subconsciously. 43% of daily behaviors are performed out of habit.
We tell ourselves stories about being an imposter, how our lives don’t live up to the lives of others, we will never be successful, or we are unlovable. Lori Gottlieb, a psychotherapist and storyteller, asks – what happens when the stories we tell are misleading or incomplete or simply wrong? Well, instead of providing clarity, these stories keep us stuck. And the thought of change, starting over, or having to face undesirable realities can be scary. We have a hard time stopping the negative self-talk because deep down we wonder if it could be true.
She recommends that you find someone who can offer “wise compassion”. Instead of going along with our stories, they deliver truth bombs that help us see what we are leaving out of the stories we are telling ourselves. They help us shift from “I’m such a loser” to revising our story to move us to action. What do you want your story to be?
This article is sponsored by Neely Coaching & Training
The Crisis Fatigue Factor
As I write this, after months of the pandemic, unrest, economic distress, and murder hornets, there is a hurricane named Nana forming. The thought that someone will have to deal with the reality that Nana destroyed their home just seems to sum up 2020. After months of facing one crisis after another, our stress has become chronic and persistent. This can show up as sadness, fear, anxiety, or simply feeling numb and tired. We are being asked to deal with so much now and we feel like we are not good enough at any of it.
Leaders that I coach have noticed that these feelings of not being good enough have increased since things have changed. The office conversations where you can bounce ideas off others, gather quick information or get that “job well done” pat on the back takes more effort and therefore are not happening in many cases. It’s having an impact.
If you are like me, your mind feels heavy. Some days it’s hard to think and make decisions. You’ve heard that things like self-care, connecting with others, and identifying those things that bring you joy and hope can help. They can. You can also start by acknowledging what you are feeling. Spend more time in the moment – watch a sunset, breathe in the aroma of your coffee, pet your dog or cat. This will connect you to gratitude, comfort, and positivity.
Do something about it.
Break the habit and create new habits to stem the tides of feeling like you are not worthy.
- 90 Percent Rule – Scott Mautz, author of “Find the Fire” and “Make It Matter”, suggests that when the negative self-talk starts, remind yourself that 90 percent is unhelpful and self-destructive and 10 percent (and only 10 percent) might be worthy of thinking about for improvement.
- The Toughest Judge – We are our toughest judge. And we do not play fair. Ask yourself questions like – would you talk to someone else the way you talk to yourself? Or what’s one exception to what I am thinking about myself?
- Do it again – If you have identified areas of improvement, remember when you have overcome tough things in the past or when you have bettered yourself. You did it before and you can do it again. Take your power back and make a plan to move forward!
- Comparison is the thief of joy – I was taken aback when my beautiful and smart niece, Megan, shared that she used to struggle with feeling like she’s not good enough. This came from her comparing herself to others. I totally get this. I’ve always been surrounded by lovely and accomplished women. You can let that motivate you or mess with your head. You decide. Megan chose to let it motivate her and made “comparison is the thief of joy” her mantra. She put it on her mirror to remind her that we are all unique and on our own journey.
- Right thing string – Positivityblog.com suggests that you do something that you feel is the right thing: give someone a genuine compliment, declutter your space, help someone find information. Then do another thing: eat a banana instead of chips, resist adding a social media post judging someone else. Then do another. Spend 10-30 minutes building your string of right things. This will help you to feel good and put yourself into a better headspace.
- Celebrate – I often must remind leaders I coach to celebrate their wins. They are so busy that when they accomplish something, they simply check it off the list and move on to the next thing. Take a moment to acknowledge your accomplishments and the accomplishments of others. Celebrate that birthday. It is motivating and satisfying. While you are at it, keep a file of kudos from your boss and peers, thank you notes, and notes of praise to glance at when you need a boost.
Taming your gremlin is a constant battle.
The Real Girls, Real Pressure: National Report on the State of Self-Esteem declares that 7 in 10 girls believe they are not good enough or do not measure up in some way, including their looks, performance in school, and relationships with family and friends.
Statistics like this influenced me to create 2911 Group Inc, a non-profit for young women focused on self-confidence and self-esteem among other things. It is common to hear young women talk about feeling like they are not smart enough, pretty enough, or strong enough. The interesting thing is that I hear the same from the women who are volunteering. It seems the doubt lives on no matter how old you are.
When I first started my coach training, someone recommended the book “Taming Your Gremlin: A Surprisingly Simple Method for Getting Out of Your Own Way” by Rick Carson. One passage stuck with me:
“Your lifelong relationship with your gremlin is an ongoing, moment to moment process. There will be fabulous days, but they won’t last forever. There will be really rotten days, but they won’t last forever either. In every moment, you can find adventure and choose to be really aware and change if you want to.”
When you are having a gremlin moment, remember that everyone has these moments too, they will pass, and you are worthy of great things. You got this! Keep fighting the good fight!
Debby Neely is a Professional Certified Coach through the International Coach Federation who specializes in leadership coaching and facilitation. Her business, Neely Coaching & Training, supports both formal and informal leaders in realizing their potential and in getting results. Their mission is to help you be the best you can be.