You (Yes, You) Are Enough
I learned the hard way that self-doubt, fear, and not feeling like I was worthy of what I wanted were as alive as my desire to serve others. I've compiled a list of myths, five to be exact, that I hope can help you.
Encouraging women to simply "play big" or to "stop getting in your own way" isn't helpful. Advice like this means well, but we can't effort our way out of not feeling good enough. No amount of reaching will help us to feel inherently worthy.
If you're like me and you have something big to share with the world and the call to give in some way, then feeling solid in your value is key. Let's be honest... putting your ideas out there in any way is scary! It's vulnerable, raw, and uncertain. It's hard enough as it is without questioning your value on top of it.
What if it's a sign that what you're about to embark on is important and comes from a part of you that is meant to give unconditionally? What if it's an indication that you're on the right path?
Let's consider the following myths around worthiness.
Myth #1: If I grow thicker skin, I will feel good enough to do my big work in the world.
How many times have you been told to just stop being so sensitive and grow some thicker skin? I don't even know what this means, and it implies that there is something wrong with who I am. (Which is a super sensitive person! And to be honest, it's one of my favorite things about myself.)
In business, leadership, entrepreneurship, or simply in sharing your desire to do good in the world, it can appear as though you have to "cover up" and "protect" yourself if you want to feel worthy of your ideas finding their way out there. As if in order to succeed we have to tuck our heart away.
The truth is:
In addition to not feeling good enough, most of the women who come my way are also empathic and highly sensitive people. They feel their world and often tell me that they hold generosity, giving, and humility in their values. The last thing I want for you is to "toughen" up and in doing so shield yourself from giving from a place of radical empathy. The truth is, the traditional business world isn't built for people like me and you. AND it could sure use a dose of us, don't you think?
Myth #2: If I had a "normal" childhood I would feel like I am enough.
I hear plenty of "enoughness" stories prefaced with how someone grew up. And while it would be easier to categorize not feeling good enough as a byproduct of a crappy childhood, it isn't a prerequisite to not feeling good enough.
The truth is:
It doesn't matter where you come from or how you grew up. I've coached women whose stories are filled with trauma and abandonment, and I've coached women whose childhood was made of fairytales—and still, no matter where someone fell on this spectrum, they didn't feel good enough. It doesn't matter how many women I coach who are starting a new incredibly personal and meaningful venture; the first thing 100% of them tell me is how plagued with doubt they feel. I went through it too.
Myth #3: If I make more money or learn more I will feel like I am enough.
Quite simply, "If I take that next course, read those books, finally make enough money, THEN I will feel like I am enough." Sound familiar? How many times have you not only thought this but acted on it? I remember just two years into coaching I was about to spend $50,000 and travel out of state monthly so I could complete another master's degree and finally deem myself "worthy" of the work I was already doing.
The truth is:
The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know. It's humbling to accept this truth—but then where and how does self-improvement fit in? I think growth is imperative to our personal success, but it shouldn't be the thing we use to prove how good we are. It should drive your desire to know more and constantly be in awe of what more there is to understand about life. Knowledge is a gift, but the truth is, it can't make you worthy.
Myth #4: When I'm successful I will finally feel worthy.
I thought that when I accomplished my goals, I would feel like I had "arrived" and all my self-doubt could finally melt away. For three years I had been climbing my own success ladder, and in some ways, the ladder others left for me without my questioning it. Early in 2017 I chose to stop climbing, to look up and down and see that there was no top in sight. And no matter how fast or swiftly I climbed it I could still see the bottom.
The truth is:
I realized that there is no end to the success ladder. Not only this, no matter how "successful" you become, you will always feel like you aren't worthy of where you're headed, because your goals will always be in front of you somewhere. There's distance between where you are and where you want to be; this never fades. What if we stopped thinking that in the "getting someplace else" we'll find more of us? What if growth didn't create us, but simply gave us more to love? More to explore? More to enjoy? What then?
Myth #5: Successful people naturally feel worthy and like they're enough.
It's easy to look at people who have "made it" and assume that they either got there because they felt worthy of what they are doing all along, or that success took that doubt away from them. But we don't actually know this. Oprah Winfrey interviewed guests for over 25 years and conducted more than 4,500 interviews by the time her show wrapped in 2011. She said once that no matter the guest or how famous they were, they asked the same question when filming would wrap. The question? "How did I do?"
The truth is:
You become successful because you act in spite of your fear. Putting yourself out there, risking messing up, looking dumb, or getting it wrong is all a practice. You have to find why you're doing this and know that it is so much bigger than you.
What called you to this work? Why do you feel compelled to move forward in spite of the fear or doubt? If you never feel good enough, will you allow that to keep you from giving your gifts to the people who are waiting for them? Only you can decide this. I've come to believe that worthiness is a personal choice.