You’re Good at a Lot of Things, Just not This

Don’t ever let somebody tell you can’t do something, not even me.
You got a dream, you gotta protect it.
People can’t do something themselves, they wanna tell you YOU can’t do it.
You want something, go get it. Period.

- Will Smith as Chris Gardner in The Pursuit of Happyness

Have you ever been told you can’t do something? Ever had someone laugh at your dreams? Or tell you they believe in you but you knew they didn’t really mean it?  I have.

For the most part though, you intentionally surround yourself with people who believe in you and tell you that you can do anything.

But there’s a secret you keep hidden from us all, don’t you.

You mask the fact that no matter how much someone believes in you, sometimes, it’s all you can do to believe in yourself.

Here’s a confession .. many people believe in me very strongly, perhaps even you. But there are times I don’t.

And that really sucks. After all these years, all the self actualisation work I’ve done, all the growth and experiences I’ve had, the things I’ve learned, the vulnerability I’ve unleashed on the world, sometimes I don’t believe in myself.

I’ve woken up with a knot in my stomach on numerous occasions, worried that I don’t have what it takes.

It scares the bejeebus out of me.

Sure, I can tell myself that “fear is excitement without the breath” and “fear is = false evidence appearing real” and “fear is evidence that I’m dreaming big and it’s a cause for celebration, woohoo” and try deep breathing, going for a walk, feeling the emotion or a bunch of other techniques that may or may not work to dispel it.

Thing is, in the moment, it’s real.

I know you feel this way too. You’ve told me.

If you’ve struck out on your own and started your own business, you’ve probably lost count of the number of times you’ve wanted to throw things around or felt like no matter what you did, nothing seemed to work the way you wanted.

There’s no one to hand you a steady paycheck at the end of the month. No one to watch as you curl up and cry into your knees out of frustration and overwhelm. It’s not a pretty sight.

You wonder when it’s going to happen for you, this success you’re working towards. Then it does and you’re over the moon. Then it goes away again and you wish someone would just come and wave a magic wand to make everything awesome again.

Thing is, there is no awesome all the time when you’re out there in a big way.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m the girl who never did anything unless it was easy and I still believe in flow over struggle. AND over the past year I’ve also realised that this ebb and flow is an integral part of life.

So where does this not being good enough come from?

Comparison.

Think about it. If there was no yardstick to measure your success by, if the Joneses moved to the bottom of the sea and you never knew they had the latest iPhone4 or a ticket to the moon on Richard Branson’s Virgin Galatic, would you really care so much about ‘success’ as defined by you in comparison to those around you?

Alas, no such luck. The Joneses are alive and kicking all around us. Heck, YOU may be somebody’s Mr or Mrs Jones and people are likely envious of your good looks, charm, wit and unabridged collection of Douglas Adams, just as you envy my Batmobile collection.

"Mike Johnson - TheBusyBrain.com"

If you think there’ll come a day you’ll stop comparing yourself to someone else, or if you claim to be there already, I call bullshit. Unless you’re Buddha, as long as you’re alive you’ll compare.

But there’s a silver lining – you’re not alone! That big guru or coach or blogger you admire, he does it too. The young actress in her glory days, she does it too. Your boss and his boss and her boss, they all do it. Wait, you still have a boss? See what I mean..

Don’t know about you, but it’s kind of a relief to know that “the not good enough” bug lives in us all. And at the same time, it’s bloody sad. If it’s not going to stop overnight or untill you attain Nirvana, what can you do to lessen its grip on you?

One, know that it’s a law of human nature . Ok, I just made that up but think about it – from the time you were born it was “he’s the CUTEST baby” or “she’s the smartest kid in her class” or “he’s the best singer” or “at least I don’t suck at sports like Tia”.  Oops, did I say that out loud?

Truth or not, even BEFORE you were born you were being labelled and compared.

Set up from in the womb! What a dirty, dirty trick.

No wonder it’s so hard for most of us to ‘believe’ in ourselves at an instrinsic level (not talking to the saints out there, go ‘way, this-is-for-us-real-peoples). Sure, you can affirm and afform and tap and muscle test and do everything you can to change your self limiting beliefs, and you’d better believe I’ve tried them all.

Soon, you realise that there ain’t no quick fix and believing in yourself is a daily practice.

It’s not something that changes overnight or ever goes away and that’s ok! Start by being honest with yourself and then the people around you, that you’re as scared as them, you have the same intrinsic fears of failure, rejection and loss and desire to be happy, successful, loved.

Next, realise there isn’t anyone coming to rescue you. I know, bummer! This one almost broke me, ha. Like Seth Godin says:

I think your work is too important for you to depend on a lottery ticket.

There’s nothing wrong with leverage, no problem at all with an unexpected lift that changes everything. But why would you build that as the foundation of your plan?

The magic of the tribe is that you can build it incrementally, that day by day you can earn the asset that will allow you to bring your work to people who want it.

Getting picked is great. Building a tribe is reliable, it’s hard work and it’s worth doing.

Read that last one again. Getting picked is great, but doing your thing day by day, that’s where magic happens.

To everyone who’s wishing things were different and waiting for that moment when everything changes, stop. If you can do that, you’ll manage the gremlins (icky brain eating buggers) better.

Another way to handle the comparison monster? Go ALL the way.

I learned this from Nancy who says, if you’re going to compare one thing about someone, compare EVERYTHING, not just the thing you’re envious of. If you’re comparing yourself with a colleague, compare not just the success they’re having but also their failures.

  • Comparing yourself to an entrepreneur making 6 figures? Then compare that they travel 10X times more than you, leaving behind family who misses them while they’re out promoting their work.
  • Comparing yourself with someone who created a product before you even though you’ve planned on doing so for ages? Then compare that they stayed up late into the night and had a zillion meltdowns balancing work, spouse and babies while you were taking it easy and going on trips.

When you do that you realise that you’re a work in progress and always will be. For Pete’s sake, stop resisting it. Stop this pursuit of perfection & tying things up in pretty little bows and trying to be the best, first, fastest, smartest, prettiest, richest, happiest, funniest, anything -EST!

It’s great to want more traffic to your site, more affiliate sales, more clients, a better newsletter, courses, products and what have yous ‘cos without desire, what would you create?

The trick is in doing it as an expression of your self and not as one of your self-worth.

I’ve said this before – You ARE good enough. You ARE being enough. You will NOT fall behind. There is NO race. You will NOT lose. You are doing ENOUGH with what you’ve got from where you’re at and if you could do any more right now, you’d be doing it. Don’t stress it, just know it.

Don’t MAKE me come smack this thought into you!

I’m taking a stand for us. For self worth. The kind that comes from within, the kind that is your God given birthright.

Let’s open this up. Where in your life do you tend to compare yourself with others? What would you do if you weren’t scared to fail? I can think of a few things I’d do already if I put those fears and comparisons away and yes, I’m going to do them. This here, is a start.

I’d love to hear from YOU what your start is.

Thanks for sharing and naw, I’m not reallyyy gonna smack you, that’s just something my favourite Ghetto Fabulous Life Coach Girl B says ;)

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    • says

      Thanks for reading & sharing Andi. How do you deal with the comparison gremlins when they show up for you? Appreciate you stopping by!

  1. Bella says

    Wow.. I must thank you for this amazing post. It really spoke to me strongly and the timing is perfect. I compare myself to others in business and although I know I should not, it can be hard when everyone else seems to be so much happier and more successful. This post made me realise that I don’t know the true story of what is really going on with others and that maybe on the inside things are different and they are trying to keep up appearances. Thank you again, I need to hear this. Bella

    • says

      Well Bella, I’d say 100% of the human population feels this way at some stage during their life. It’s a matter of keeping perspective and coming back to what’s really important at the end of the day – whatever that is for you. We’re all doing our best :) Thanks for chipping in.

  2. says

    Oh, Tia, you hit this one out of the ballpark! So much good stuff here, it’s like a spirit binge. :)

    I’ve been through all of this. And you know, I do try anything I want, even if I am afraid it might not be enough. I put it out there anyway, but much of what I’ve put out has failed, even though I did it with great enthusiasm and passion. I think the doubt of “not enough” is a vibration that tinges the gift with a hesitation that the universe hears and responds to.

    Reading this post, I was reminded of an experience from 25 years ago: I was working on the WA state court of appeals as an judicial clerk. It was my first job out of law school. My job was to write memoranda for the judges that analyzed the cases and made recommendations for whether to affirm or reverse the lower court’s decision. What a responsibility. It terrified me. And on top of that, the memos were circulated to the whole court, all the other clerks and staff, 30 people or so.

    I wrote my memos about 5 times faster than anyone else. I was always way ahead of all the other clerks. Instead of this making me feel good, it made me wonder if I wasn’t doing a good enough job. I must be cutting corners, missing things, I thought. I kept comparing my timing with others and got more and more nervous.

    I was in this mode for 2 years. And one day, the Chief Judge called me into his office. I was sure he was going to tell me what a lousy writer/researcher/judicial clerk/person ;) I was. Instead, he told me I was the best judicial clerk he’d ever seen on the court.

    That was such a big AHA moment for me. A perspective check that showed me how skewed my self assessments were.

    But as with many aha moments, I’d kind of forgotten about it until I read your post. So THANK YOU. Right now, with Up From Splat and my videos, I’m putting myself out there more than I have in awhile, and of course I have the feelings you talk about. So this post was like a wonderful fuzzy blanket that wrapped my creative temerity in a warm bundle and soothed away my doubt. :)

    You are awesome, Tia!!

  3. says

    Oh, Tia! I stopped comparing myself with others years ago… I guess that’s the difference between you and me :P

    Okay seriously… Yes, of course I compare. I’m comparing with you right now as a matter of fact, and how you’ve done something that I’m wanting to do.

    I try not to think of it though as comparing myself to another person. More like comparing the old version of myself or my life with how I want it to be. If you can find other people to be examples of what you’re wanting, then so much the better. It’s certainly not a ladder that we’re all climbing with some above and some below. Ultimately success comes down to happiness and fulfilment and not on any external yardstick you could name. They are all entirely arbitrary.

    Occasionally I catch myself in a moment of resentment thinking if only I didn’t this obstacle, or that obstacle and it seems like it was so much easier for so-and-so. But the better part of me knows that’s BS.

    I think fear and doubt just come down to your focus in the moment. I know that because they change just as quickly.

    This was a terrific article. Thanks :)

  4. says

    Hi Tia
    Nice little butt-kicking in here!

    I would add also that sometimes a comparison that winds you up serves you well – it points out what you are capable of – not just where you are lacking; it sends out a call to your spirit to soar. If you see it in another – you can see it in yourself. So it’s always the tipping point – do you despair, or do you surge forward?

    Nice article -t hanks for sharing :)

  5. says

    Hey Tia,
    I love your very approachable style of writing…loved this post and while a little contrary to my latest post, I think we are trying to achieve the same result. Your site is so vibrant and full of you-ness…fabulous! I always enjoy coming to visit!

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