How to Believe You Are Good Enough

love mindset May 02, 2017

Last weekend, I went to a four-day certification course from Z Health about the neurology of fitness. Based on the topic, you’d think it was my cup of tea, right? I thought it would be, too – which is why I was so disappointed and frustrated when after the first day, I just wasn’t getting it.

I felt so dumb. I sat there throughout the presentations, listening, taking notes, trying to take it all in. But they might as well have been speaking ancient Greek. None of it landed for me. It was like everything went right over my head.

The same thing happened on Day 2. I can’t make it through two more days of this, I thought. Maybe I just shouldn’t come tomorrow.

Saturday morning, I woke up feeling grumpy and mean. My poor kids knew something was wrong as soon as I stumbled into the kitchen, and they scattered like mice to avoid me. Looking ahead to the next two days, all I felt was that awful sense of I’m not good enough for this. I’m not smart enough. I don’t know enough. I didn’t prepare enough.

That’s where I caught myself. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about this plague of “not enough.” It came up a few weeks ago, when I was reading Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly. There’s a passage where she quotes Lynne Twist, author of The Soul of Money:

“For me, and for many of us, our first waking thought of the day is ‘I didn’t get enough sleep.’ The next one is ‘I don’t have enough time.’…We spend most of the hours and the days of our lives hearing, explaining, complaining, or worrying about what we don’t have enough of.”

Now, when I encounter a mindset issue like that, it just calls out to me. Like blank paper calls out to an artist, or a track calls out to a runner. I just gravitate toward those, especially the ones that I wrestle with. I love trying to come up with a mindset tool to work around it. How can I flip it around, and help other people do it, too? How can we shift our perspective into a more positive, useful one?

Since reading that book, I’d come up with a few theories around this “not good enough” mindset. So Saturday morning, I decided to put one to the test.

On a scale of one to ten, I asked myself over a cup of coffee, how much do I feel like going to the conference today?

Two, I answered.

Why not a zero? my coach-self asked.

Well, it’s about the brain and fitness, so I wish I could get something out of it. It’s not like I’m not interested. It’s just that I’m not smart enough.

Okay, let’s work with that. What are you smart enough for, today?

I don’t know, I thought glumly. Maybe if I can just get one thing out of it, then it’ll be worth it. I would hope I’m smart enough to understand one measly thing.

Great. Let’s do that, said my perky inner coach. (Somehow the coffee had had its effect on her, but not on my grumpy side).

So I went. As I walked in and sat down, I made a conscious effort not to give in to the gremlins of “not good enough.” And throughout the day, I looked for that one single thing that I could take home, that would really make today worthwhile.

And I found it. (It has to do with experiencing movement and the need for safety…I’ll go into that another time.)

I found something else, too. Once I let myself off the hook from trying to take everything in, I was able to appreciate more of what they were saying. My mindset was more receptive and open. Sure, not every single piece of information landed for me. But some of it did, and that’s what I’d needed. And the things that did were extremely powerful.

It was a breakthrough day. It wasn’t just a little better than Friday. It was a great day, by any standards. I left feeling hopeful, energized, and, well, smart.

‘Until you stop breathing there’s more right with you than wrong with you.’

– Jon Kabat-Zinn

Try these questions next time you need to work around that horrible feeling of “not good enough.” Ask yourself, on a scale of one to ten, how ready or willing do you feel to take on the challenge you’re facing? (That challenge might be a day, it might be a particular event; it might be a speech or a presentation or an interview.)

Why isn’t it a zero? Or, if it is a zero, why isn’t a negative two?

What do you feel good enough for, today? Or smart enough? What do you have enough time for today?

Usually, something comes up. Keep asking until you get it. Once you open up even the slightest crack in your negative mindset, you’re letting in the possibility for a positive one. Even a tiny step can lead to a whole paradigm shift.

You can use these questions together or separately. For me, they happened to work really well as a process, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

What’s something you’re facing now, that you don’t feel good enough for? How have you dealt with it in the past?

What’s possible when you acknowledge that you actually are good enough?

Tell me about it below!

And then, go out and shine.

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