It has haunted me most of my life and prevented me from seizing opportunities.
It spoke to me using words like don’t, shouldn’t, conform, fit in and can’t. It used phrases like: ‘you’ll be sorry, you’ll be judged, they won’t like it, you’re going to fail, stay comfortable and don’t be different.’
It was a voice that has kept me company for most of my life. It was the voice of “I am not good enough.”
I created that voice somewhere in my childhood to protect myself.
I created that voice somewhere in my childhood to protect myself. Some how I must have experienced a sense of failure and felt judged as not being good enough. And in that I experienced pain and hurt of not being capable and worthy, either with myself or witnessed it in others.
Did I create this voice or did someone else and/or a set of circumstances create it for me? It doesn’t matter. What matters now is that I recognize it when it starts talking. The beliefs it speaks of have kept me from taking risks and stepping out of my comfort zone.
The beliefs it speaks of have kept me from taking risks and stepping out of my comfort zone.
I have lived “small” most of my life because of my concern of not being good enough. No risk, no chance of failure.
A few years ago that changed, somewhat, when I choose to recover from a number of addictive behaviours and drastically change my lifestyle. I thought that by taking those aggressive and non-conformist actions that the voice of “not being good enough” would have been silenced.
It wasn’t silenced. It was still there, hanging around waiting for it’s next opportunity.
It found its voice again with my intention to publish a book. It spoke clearly to me – ‘no one will read it, you will be criticized, you’re not really a writer.’
When I was scared for my life, up to my neck in addictions, it was much easier to override that voice. Survival mode kicked in. But writing and publishing a book is not about survival. It is simply a taking a perceived risk outside of my comfort zone and putting myself out there to a world of potential critics.
It would be much easier, and safer, to write a book and leave it unpublished. No critics, no need to learn from it, no watching sales.
I had to want it bad – for me.
I wrote with an audience in mind but the experience of writing and endless editing was mine to cherish and suffer through. I wrote for me, being my own critic.
I felt good when it was complete because I had put in my best effort. I could take pride in it – regardless of what others might say. It helped knowing that even best selling authors and artists have critics. It has been a great lesson for me to accept that I cannot please everyone.
Writing and self-publishing a book helped me realize how much of a people pleaser I used to be and no longer wish to be.
In November 2016 I self-published my book – a medley of short stories. It felt surreal. It all happened in the span of only six weeks. I had accomplished something that I had dreamt about for years.
I did it.
Do I find myself concerned with what others might think about the book? A little, but I refuse to allow those thoughts to stop me from writing.
This experience has brought me an unexpected sense of joy and freedom and increased my self-confidence as a man.
…a sense of joy and freedom and increased my self-confidence as a man
What is your inner voice asking you to do, that thing you are yearning for? Are you stopping yourself because of a fear of not being good enough or of failure?
Ask yourself what is the worst thing that could happen? Perhaps your ego will be damaged or maybe your life will take an undesirable turn. But alternatively ask yourself what good things could happen. Perhaps you’ll realize a life-long dream or maybe you’ll attain a sense of fulfillment that you have always wanted.
You get to choose which voice you’ll listen to: the one of potential danger and misfortune, or the one that speaks of possible positive outcomes and success. You need to decide if you’ll stay in the safety and comfort of the known, or venture into risk and reward of the uncomfortable and unknown.
Your decision will be made based on which choice is more important to you.
I know which one I’m choosing.
I write to inspire men to greater self-awareness, to make better choices and create a better life.
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