Do you believe you’re not living up to your potential and you should be achieving more than you do presently?
Do you constantly have thoughts of improving your life, creating a new business, acquiring new clients, creating a new product or service, or just doing something different?
You have the most brilliant ideas and even the key strategies needed to execute them, but you can’t bring yourself to take action or start the process? Instead of putting in the required effort, do you prefer to remain safe by choosing not to go down the road of uncertainty?
You find yourself listening to your inner critic giving you a thousand reasons why you will not succeed, “no one is going to listen to you,” or “no one is going to buy that anyway.”
You procrastinate on making the relevant calls or sending the emails, and eventually, you end up not doing it. You may have taken the bold step and started your business.
Now, you want to acquire better clients or raise the prices for the services you offer, but you are not sure it is the right move. You begin having thoughts of not being good enough and not meeting your clients’ expectations.
You are wracked with the fear that clients will request more than you can deliver, your venture into entrepreneurship will fail, and you’ll end up not only disappointing your clients but your employees.
It’s no secret that journeying into entrepreneurship can feel quite overwhelming at some point. According to Udhay Shankar, who is an independent consultant to early-stage entrepreneurs as well as a former head of the startup accelerator program at Axilor Ventures, “it is well-known that seven out of 10 startups fail within the first 12-18 months. And everyone wants to be among the three that make it, right? It’s a lonely journey, it can be extremely hard on mental health, and in the past six-eight months, the trend has only accelerated.”
Jody Sherman was the CEO of Ecomom – a tech startup targeted to help new moms. Sherman was incredibly driven and had a knack for raising money and getting investors, as well as an enviable network. However, Sherman was bad at proper cash management – a crucial skill set for any startup. This led to a string of bad money decisions that ultimately culminated in him falling for a scam at a crucial time his company was in dire need of money. Desperate and depressed, Jody Sherman committed suicide by shooting himself in the head. His death sent shockwaves amongst his family, friends, and colleagues. It was the end of his company. Many refused to believe the forensics report that Sherman had committed suicide; however, the fact was that aside from being under tremendous financial and professional stress, Sherman battled with depression.
As a business owner, everyone looks up to you, both your staff and your clients. You are expected to bear everyone’s burdens without breaking a sweat. Expectations of the people who depend on you to deliver are high, and you can’t let them down. This can take a toll on the mental health of any entrepreneur. A study by Dr. Michael Freeman, a clinical professor at the University of California, determined that 1 in 3 entrepreneurs suffer from depression.
His research also unveiled higher cases of bipolar and Attention Deficiency Disorders in entrepreneurs than the regular population. Even amongst high-flying, high-achieving entrepreneurs, these statistics prevail. In the past decade, a lot of entrepreneurs have died by Suicide. Simply because they believe they aren’t good enough anymore.
Some of the most accomplished and successful people in the world have once been in your position. The difference is that they didn’t just sit there indulging in self-doubt and negative thoughts, but they chose to put in the gritty hard work. Tim Ferris is an angel investor and one of the most accomplished authors in the world with a successful podcast. But the backstory you may not know is that Ferris struggled with abuse, depression, suicidal thoughts, and 27 consistent rejections of his book. If he could suppress his limiting beliefs to become such a monumental success, you can do it too.
Pursuing our dreams in today’s fast-paced and internet-savvy world is difficult. So how do you get the initiative and motivation to pursue your dreams finally?
I have been an entrepreneur for three decades. Through this time, I have been through highs and lows.
I have had crashes and bankruptcies. However, I draw most of my inner strength from Buddhism, stoicism, scientific data from neurobiology, psychology, and many other sources.
Not many people dare to talk about shame or guilt in today’s positive thinking world. But as Brene Brown said in her Ted talk:
Vulnerability is the source of innovation and creativity.
With this blog post, I want to help you overcome the obstacle of seeing yourself as not good enough.
What Makes You Think You Aren’t Good Enough?
Knowing what holds you back and gives you the impression that you are not good enough requires a high level of introspection. Are you in toxic and unproductive relationships in the past and present that do nothing but dissipate your self-confidence and make you question who you are? Perhaps it could be guilt that still haunts you due to your past mistakes and regrets about them, which fosters more shame that you can’t put behind you.
Another reason could be that your endless hard work frustrates you. You work hard only to receive peanut-sized benefits, and you wonder the point of it all. You feel sad that life is treating you unfairly.
As long as you get stuck in these energy fields of guilt, shame and grief, you’re blocked from reaching higher states of achievement.
Combining these negative feelings and occurrences can cultivate a false perception of yourself, low self-esteem and encourage feelings of not being good enough.
Now the real question is, how can you get out of this rut and become good enough?
How to Fix “Not Being Good Enough”?
1. Rid Yourself of False Self Perceptions
Desire precedes accomplishments. But first, you need to believe that you have what it takes to bring that desire to life in the first place. Introspect deeply. Have a meeting with yourself and write it down. What’s eating away at your self-confidence? Your thoughts matter in the grand scheme of things because your mind is incredibly powerful. You must look beyond your limitations to see a version of you that can deliver excellence. That is your true self, and that is the image you must have in your head as you strive hard to succeed.
Our inner critic has high standards, and when we do not meet them we punish ourselves.
But we were not born with this belief system. It started from somewhere and it is crucial that you know and understand its origins. Did it start from your childhood? Did you form certain perceptions about yourself based on what someone else did or said to you? Was there someone among your family, friends, or an acquaintance who made you believe you are not good enough? Was there someone who punished you when you did something wrong?
Figure out the root of your false self-perceptions and understand that they are not real.
The next step is to take the power out of it, let it go, and transcend it.
If you think you’ll only be good enough when you’re a millionaire, when you own a luxury car, or when you live a luxurious lifestyle, then you’ll never be happy because there is no guarantee to achieve all that.
Beliefs such as, ‘if I just had this,’ or ‘the moment when… then’, are delusions of happiness and you should get rid of them.
It becomes an illusion when you believe you need to achieve something to live a happy life.
Success is not the key to happiness; happiness is the key to success.
You’re complete and perfect, so you do not need to achieve anything to become a complete human being.
Your aim is not to become superhuman, but to experience how super it is to be human.
2. Don’t Focus On The Outcome; Concentrate On The Input
Do you know what brings about hurt and doubt? Expectations. If you have expectations, your level of dopamine (the molecule of reward) peaks to a high level, which is the same level as if you’ve already achieved the goal. When you don’t meet those expectations, you experience the reward prediction error.
And you experience it like physical pain (As though someone punched you hard in the gut).
Not meeting your requirements is painful.
But you have to be more mindful of your bodily state next time you get frustrated because you didn’t achieve your goals.
Understand that you are responsible for the effort and not your goals.
Let go completely of the ideal of your goals and what they mean to you.
I know this concept is completely new to us, but you must put in the effort without any real expectations. Expectations can kill. The story of the late Jody Sherman proves that (more on him later).
Whenever you find yourself on a new path, do your possible best not to hold out expectations. For you to succeed at this, you must practice a heightened sense of mindfulness. Put in the work every day without having any great expectations. Understand, too, that real success takes time. I have read so many success stories, and the one thing they all had in common is that they were not overnight successes.
Cultivate a habit of patience.
What craft are you into? How much do you understand? Have you mastered the advanced techniques in that craft? Do you understand the modernized way of doing things? If you consistently put in your best and be open-minded, you will eventually find your breakthrough no matter how saturated the market is. It’s like Gary Vaynerchuk says: The market decides if you are good enough. In other words, provide quality content and top-notch service.
Also, understand the law of impermanence.
That way, you can be neutral and non-attached to outcomes.
3. Clean Up Your Relationships
Growing up, I had a brother who constantly put me down, and he made me believe that I wasn’t good enough. No matter what I did, I was never enough. I always felt “not right”. Before realizing how toxic this relationship was, I was an adult, and I finally summoned the inner courage to cut him off from my life. It was necessary because my relationship with him was a stumbling block to my well-being and success. I realized a painful truth:
Toxic relationships in the past or present are nothing but hindrances.
Don’t cage yourself with a lion. It will eat you.
Toxic people want to protect their ego and cover their pathetic diminished self-worth. They downplay and destroy the self-worth of others to feel good about themselves. It’s one of the most destructive worldviews you can ever come across.
Whether you like it or not, social relationships are a powerful influencing factor in your success story. You are the average of your five best friends. Take a cursory look at your friends and family.
Who truly supports you?
Ruthlessly get rid of everyone who doesn’t. Being a people-pleaser won’t get you anywhere.
Spend time with yourself instead. Practice, concentrate, meditate, and surround yourself with truly supportive human beings.
4. Know Your Worth And Stop With The Comparisons
Comparing your life with others is one of the easiest ways to plunge yourself into a sea of depression. In this time and age of social media, where everyone posts their successes, wins, and achievements, you may not see the grueling work it took to get to that stage. And then you begin to compare yourself to them when you are only just starting out. Doing this does nothing but diminish your self-worth.
How can you compare your chapter one to someone else’s chapter ten and expect to dwell in positivity?
It doesn’t matter if you never finished high school, college, or you have no vital experience in that field. There’s always somewhere to start from. What you need is to gain proper clarity on your true strengths as a human being and how you can leverage those strengths to help others.
There is nothing wrong with reaching out to a self-help or life coach to help you out with this.
5. Unlock Your Potential
Anthony Robbins is a powerhouse in the world of self-help, motivation, and positive thinking. But growing up, he struggled with chaotic home life, and he was determined to escape. He did just that and never returned. You need to be desperate enough to free yourself from a low energy state that doesn’t serve your purpose and transcend into a higher one. This implies that you need the courage to change yourself.
The journey to being a better person never truly ends.
To accomplish your goals, you need effective strategies. And one of them is the acceptance of impermanence.
Nothing ever truly lasts forever.
And your current state won’t.
Channel your energies away from guilt, grief, anger, hate, or fear, and harness inner optimism and more productive intentions because as long as you are stuck in these bad energy fields consisting of guilt, shame, and grief, you will be blocked from reaching higher levels of achievements.
- Find the courage to take responsibility for your life by dealing with internal issues keeping you from achieving your full potential.
- Be open-minded, see things more objectively, and how they really are.
- Have the willingness to serve others and become genuinely friendly to people.
- Be helpful to others and contribute to the good of society.
- Be eager to learn, and approach situations with the mind of a beginner.
- Accept that you are the source and the creator of your experiences.
- Live life on your own terms.
- Let your thinking pattern be logical, and not emotional.
- Let the passion for what you do be the major motivation for your ventures.
- Work like an innocent child and instead of hard work you feel joy and ecstasy every day.
- Be in the moment when creating something new. The past is gone, the future hasn’t happened yet. The only thing within your control is what’s happening in the present moment.
Own your shadow (your dark side) before it owns you
I am an entrepreneur and my business is to fail. Every day, I fail. So what?
6. Ask For Help
There’s no goal you want to achieve that someone hasn’t achieved before. There’s no voyage you want to begin that someone else hasn’t embarked upon. Therefore, learn to ask for help so you do not make mistakes that you could easily avoid.
Bring mentors and role models into your inner circle so that you can tap from the fountain of knowledge and experience they carry.
Spending valuable time with people in the same situation will not be beneficial to you in any way. Ask intelligent questions from mentors.
Prove that you are worth their time, and you possess the drive and single-mindedness that accompanies purpose.
7. Do It
Sometimes you need to learn how to bravely transcend your doubt and fears and forge ahead with your plans. Courage is moving forward despite being afraid.
Take that bold step you know you need to kickstart your business or career. Call that highly important client and pitch your business idea. Ask for help when you need it. Package your ideas to potential investors.
When it comes to doubt, there’s nothing like trying. You either face it head-on, or you don’t. What’s the worst that could happen anyway? Rejection? You’ll dust yourself up and start again. There is no other way to go about it. You must face your doubts through positive thinking. You feel you aren’t worth it. But what if they see that you are? Face your doubts.
Remember: I am an entrepreneur, my business is to fail. Every day. So what?
8. Put in the Right Effort and Don’t Fall Into the Delusion Trap!
The dictionary defines delusion as “a false belief resistant to confrontation with facts.” There are no overnight successes or get-rich-quick schemes that can make you successful. Along the line, you will meet people who will want to sell you shortcuts but they are never real.
They are delusions playing tricks on your impatience.
Put in the right kind of effort, resources, and investments to grow your business.
You will either be successful or you’ll learn.
Whenever someone wants to sell you these lies, they may call it the method, or the program to get rich quickly; stop and have a rethink. If possible, sleep on it and think it through. The only way they actually make any money is to sell deceptive delusional stories. Don’t be a victim of pure delusions.
Stay clear-headed and focused. Do your homework by planning effective strategies. For instance, if you are starting in business, get your hands on everything that can polish your level of business intelligence. This way, when you meet potential investors, they know you are worth it.
The world is really in need of value. When you can bring forth value, you become needed. Need turns you into a powerful person. Once a service is needed, it attracts others who need their products or services effortlessly.
Your efforts begin to pay off and this increases your self-esteem, but first of all, you need to put in that effort.
No effort amounts to failure.
That’s the truth.
What’s the right effort?
The right effort is working smart while still being able to create time for important parts of your life like leisure, family time, emotional life, peace of mind, and your overall body health. You need to be able to thrive all-round, in all aspects of your life.
Suppressing or repressing other aspects of your life will end up breaking you down, along with your business.
I work every day for six hours, concentrating without any breaks. Then I have a break, go with the dog, and read something nonbusiness-related. After that, I have a quick lunch and do another round of 2-3 hours of concentrated work. During these working hours, I don’t get distracted by social media. My mobile is fully muted, and I do not spare a minute for anything that contributes nothing to my business.
So sharpen your patience. Develop unparalleled focus and concentration. Have smart, time-bound, and realistic goals. Dream massively but begin small and put in the effort. Stop wasting valuable time on Netflix, WhatsApp, Tinder, Grindr, or Tiktok.
Balance your energies, create a core work ethic and stay disciplined and consistent. It’s only a matter of time before payday comes.
9. Don’t give up to chase your dreams – never
It might not work out with the first prospect, partner, the first client, or the first project. And you have to be okay with that. 9 out of 10 startups are projected to fail. I went through 2 bankruptcies, and I had a string of failures that descended upon me until my breakthrough came, and I made up to 1.4 million per year with my small business and small but formidable team of two.
The pressures of a startup are astronomical. If you are an entrepreneur reading this, my heart goes out to you. Hang in there. In the last decade, too many depressions and suicides have occurred amongst business founders because the overwhelming weight of pressure crushed them.
You see, business is also a game of numbers. You have to be okay with trying several times before making it. Frequently it’s not even about you not being good enough. You just don’t find the right connections that appreciate who you are and what you have to offer.
Reach out more and build connections. Don’t have an air of hard desperation. Just start with compliments on their achievements. Do not focus on the business side of things first. Cultivate a truly personal relationship first, and the business side will automatically flow in. At this point, you then focus on providing valuable service.
10. Learn, Forgive, And Accept
This is perhaps one of the hardest things to do; nevertheless, you must do it. Learn to forgive yourself for the plan that didn’t go according to plan, for the mistakes that you made, and for the betrayal you faced. If you keep harboring hard feelings, progress will be difficult.
For the sake of your health and your business, let go.
Letting go doesn’t mean giving up. Sometimes we need to let go of stumbling blocks that hinder us from achieving what we really want. Giving up means stopping something because it is challenging or difficult to achieve even though it’s something that we want. Letting go means ending something because you do not need or want it anymore.
Dan Pena was ousted as the president of Great Western Resources – a Houston-based oil company. It was a move backed up by shareholders. Yet, today Pena is one of the most successful and formidable businessmen in the world. He also had an employee who committed fraud of about £130,000. Yet he forgave the employee and covered the funds. Forgiveness is the key to progress. Dark feelings like bitterness and resentment will hinder you from moving forward.
Personally, I have a mental exercise I execute every day. Every morning I do a daily forgiveness exercise and meditation. I document what I need to forgive myself for and permit myself to be free.
This way, I’m able to start the day without the emotional baggage of yesterday.
Yesterday’s mistakes are done, and there is no need to keep being attached to them.
Understand that you cannot control everything. Life and business are always entangled with complexities beyond our control.
You can only control your inner world, how you perceive things, and how you react towards them. Do what you can and leave the rest.
success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm –
Learn to accept, forgive, and move on.
I have described above how the reward prediction error is a causal factor of pain. If you develop self-compassion, your body releases endorphins, a natural painkiller. (Kristin Neff Ph.D.). Self-compassion, and showing kindness to yourself releases you from pain and unleashes energies that are suppressed by pain and resentment.
Putting in the effort required to achieve the desired result is a sure way to achieve success.
Detach from your outcomes and purely concentrate on the effort.
You can start where you presently are. There’s nothing too little or small to start with.
Make a conscious effort to create healthy boundaries.
You are right, you are perfect. You are a human being with infinite potential. You are exactly where you need to be on your own personal journey.
Stop self-criticism and punishments. You gain nothing by constantly criticizing yourself. Instead, know your strengths and your worth. Gain experience by giving yourself the time and space to learn and grow.
Do what you love and share it with the world, after all, you don’t need to be good enough to do something you love and enjoy.
It’s time to take action. Get to work; put in the effort; the best moment to start reaching higher levels of achievements is NOW.