Life Beyond Trying to Be Good Enough

Stop picking on yourself! And then moving on, every time, determined to be different, better, more enlightened, wiser . . . or whatever you’re criticizing yourself for at the moment. The old uphill battle!  When are you ever going to be good enough?

young woman pondering life pursuitsThe answer in a minute, but first — how long have you been trying to be good enough? My guess is that it’s been since you were about 10 years old!  Of course, it’s not your fault – parents, teachers, friends, family and bosses have been doing their best to ‘set you straight’ and help you to ‘make the most of your potential’.

But these good folks have long since stopped being to blame for how much you pick on yourself.  It’s you that translated their well-meaning remarks into a lifetime of trying to prove yourself.

What’s the problem?

The problem is your underlying assumption is that there’s something wrong with you.  Of course we all make mistakes, but that’s not the point.  It’s not about being perfect or blameless.  The answer is to forget about trying to be good enough.  That’s a complete waste of your time!

Imagine a gorgeous car, just off the assembly line, sitting on the lot and picking on itself:

  • I hope no one buys me – I’m just not ready.
  • I wish I were more like that Lexus over there.
  • I ought to be red instead of black.
  • I’m just not good enough.

Ridiculous isn’t it?  But your trying to be good enough is just as stupid!

So, back to the question – are you ever going to be good enough? The answer is YES — you already are!

What can you do?

Take responsibility for your greatness so that your life isn’t about becoming good enough – it’s about finding ways to use your special gifts to make a difference. Appreciating yourself is the first step toward giving you permission to be who you are and making the contribution you’re here to make.

Way beneath your habitual self-doubt, you really want to make a difference with your life by making things better for your family, your friends, your community, your workplace – and beyond.   In the past 30 years I’ve coached thousands of people from high-powered CEO’s to independent professionals to mothers ready to return to work — and many more.  I have yet to meet a single person who doesn’t want their life to count. Although you may not be conscious of this basic motivation as you live day to day, these hidden drives are the strongest in your life.

The more conscious we are of this deep desire, the more we empower ourselves to make the necessary changes in our lives.  That’s why it means so much for you to stop picking on yourself – you’re wasting at least half your energy — energy that could be much better used by doing what really matters to you. You are ALREADY more than good enough to make your contribution!

I’ve seen CEO’s and top executives in large companies who think and act as if they were still waiting to be given permission to take the ball and run with it.  Instead of making the changes they’ve been longing to make once they rose to a position of leadership and influence, they still hold back, afraid to take the lead they’ve earned.

What’s your life pursuit?

Use the model below to consider your own life pursuit.  Is it characterized by the circle on the left or the one on the right?  How are you investing your intelligence and your life force?  If you see that you’re engaged in Life Pursuit I, your awareness and your commitment to shift to Life Pursuit II are sufficient to make a fundamental transformation in your life.
What is your life pursuit
Sometimes it takes a bit of time to figure out what we’re doing and which pursuit we’re engaged in.  When Tim and I were first married, we would sit at the dinner table in the evening having our meal and talking over how the day went.  He was starting a company and found himself in a position of leadership and total corporate responsibility for the first time in his life.  Although it was what he’d always wanted, it was frightening and scary now that the time had come to make it happen.

Every time he faced another new challenge  — making his first cash flow, getting in more sales, training new staff — he’d have another attack of self-doubt.  He was open with me and let me know how he was feeling.  Night after night I reassured him, reminding him of his strengths.

After months I noticed a similarity in our conversations — they didn’t seem to be making him feel any better.  I realized I’d become part of the problem and was feeding into his paradigm of Life Pursuit I.  We had to stop playing this game in order to help him empower himself.  One night when he was sharing his doubts about himself, I said You know, maybe you’re right.  You might not have what it takes! That was the end of that game for both of us!

Spending time in Life Pursuit I is not only a time waster – it’s a Comfort Zone you must leave in order to be the person you’re meant to be.

Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate, but that we are powerful beyond measure.  It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us.  We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, handsome, talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

~Marianne Williamson