Am I good enough?
3 Ways to Answer the Question “Am I Good Enough…?”
On Friday I was listening to a video from my colleague, Carl Brouillette, an occupational therapist specializing in mental health at work. He was talking about how we experience stress when we lack competence. It made me think of all the times I ask myself, “Am I good enough?”
Questioning our own skills or feeling anxious about making mistakes limits us greatly. Often we have thoughts like, “I don’t know if I have what it takes to …”; “Who am I to…”; “She has a university degree and I don’t…”; “Frankly, everyone here has more experience than I do.” These thoughts become intrusive and slow down our progress; they can even prevent us from following our dreams.
Have you ever been in a meeting and had something to say but thought: “I’m not sure it will interest others,” to finally realize that others around the table were thinking the same thing? It happens often.
If you find yourself in a new work position, or get promoted, or land a challenging contract, you can easily ask yourself questions which cause you stress as you wonder if your skills are at the right level.
At which level? At the level of your expectations or the expectations of others? Looking more closely, you will realize that it is usually your own expectations that are high. We tend to underestimate our skills and abilities and overestimate the importance others place on them. In general, people are more concerned about their own performance than yours.
To overcome this defeating questioning, let’s look at three ways you can increase your confidence and reduce your feeling of doubt.
Reflection / Exercise # 1 – Make a list of your achievements
Take out your Self Leadership Journal and think about the last 12 months of your personal and professional life. List everything that you have done for example: “I made my first presentation to the management committee; I learned English; I learned to dance; I learned a new software; I managed a conflict between … “. There are dozens and dozens of things that you have accomplished. Make a list, use color, and appreciate what you have accomplished. You will be more energized by looking at your own progress than comparing yourself to others.
Reflection / Exercise #2 – Stop comparing yourself to others
Did you know that the people you compare yourself to also compare themselves to others? Indeed, 60-70% of the population experience this feeling of not being good or competent enough on occasion. Stop this devastating habit and compare yourself only to yourself; think about the progress you have made.
For a long time, I compared myself to other facilitators and felt a great stress especially in front of my peers. Today I sometimes compare myself to others in dance competitions when I watch dancers with 20 years’ experience; instead, I need to realize how far I’ve come since I started dancing five years ago. When I start to doubt my competence I need to call up my little “Mrs. Judge” and send her on vacation. When you start to doubt yourself, give “your little inner judge” some time off. It will give you wings!
Reflection / Exercise #3 – Create your “Confidence Chest”
Do you sometimes receive words of appreciation by email, read them, and then delete them? Why not create your own Confidence Chest? For example, create your own directory for these words of appreciation, then when doubts recur, open the Chest and re-read the messages. And pat yourself on the back!
In 2005 I created a directory named “Emails from the heart” where I file those messages I want to keep. Today they number 500 treasures that I can read when I need a little push. Be creative; your Confidence Chest can be a virtual journal in which you add comments, photos, quotes, etc. Personalize it.
Finally, tell yourself you have way more reasons to be proud than to be doubtful. When you focus on every quality, every good side of you, you continue building your self-confidence and your sense of competence.
Remember, most of the time people want you to succeed. And if they realize you have a little difficulty with something, chances are they will be happy to help you. Stay open to receiving support from others and avoid thinking that you must know everything, be able to do everything, or be the one who excels everywhere. Be good to yourself and the rest will be easier.
Let your talents shine!