Have you ever felt like you aren’t enough? I definitely have. Like at work when I felt that my accomplishments don’t come close to my peers. Or in my finances when I realized I haven’t saved nearly enough money as experts tell me I am supposed to have tucked away. Or even among friends when I get called out for not doing enough.
Daily I fought that impeccable urge to “do” something more to replace “being” more. Often times, especially in our careers, we feel the more things we accomplish will compensate for the lack of value we believe we have. I became tired of that internal conflict. What originally started out as small insecurities became all out war inside of me. Through this, I learned one valuable secret to overcoming any insecurity: exposure.
Insecurities thrive most when they are in the dark. The less others know about them, the more they multiply in your mind and emotions. Like viruses, they transform the most positive perspectives of yourself into a identity crisis. Realizing this, I decided a few years ago to finally expose my insecurities. I listed each of them with the struggles I faced. From the pain of rejection I felt from a girl in elementary school who didn’t like me to the frustration I felt from not being further in my career. I listed the insignificance I felt from not having a father around growing up to the frustration I felt from not being the kind of man I believed I could become. Once I wrote them down, I did something I never thought I could: I shared them. I found two mentors whom I greatly respected and shared every insecurity that I have ever struggled with. Going through this exercise lifted a huge burden from me and taught me three valuable lessons.
Success isn’t measured in accomplishments, but in authenticity.
I have now reframed my mind to see success in a totally different way. I now try to focus less on what more I can do and instead focus on how much more I can be. The more honest I am with my own strengths and weaknesses, the more successful I become. What I do may earn me money, but who I become will leave a legacy. My goal is to become a better person today than I was yesterday by being more authentic with my values, goals and commitments.
Comparison breeds fear. Community cultivates confidence.
Anytime I have EVER compared myself to someone else, it makes me that much more fearful about where I am. Comparison always forces you to use someone else’s life as a measuring stick of your own potential. True community will help you cultivate your potential. True friends will allow you to be vulnerable and victorious, flawed and fruitful all at the same time. When everyone is pushing towards the same goal, no one ever feels the need to compete.
Your greatest enemy is the perfect you.
The perfect person you always strive to become doesn’t exist. And they never will. For some reason, we are tempted to strive to be a imaginary perfect version of ourselves. And despite how many times we have been told “no one is perfect,” we still strive towards it. Destroy perfection. Embrace process. You wouldn’t be the amazing person you are today if it wasn’t for the good things AND not so good things about you. Understanding that fact will make each day that much more freeing.