This is the flavor of my low self-esteem. I automatically assume I’m wrong. Someone else is better, they should be the one in front and in charge. This thinking has led me to avoid leadership positions and underachieve. I don’t want to be responsible for failure.
But now as a wise woman who cares less about what people think of me I’m examining this belief and waving it as a banner. No more pain caused by the mistaken belief that we are wrong. No more time wasted being other than ourselves when we try to do it the “right” way. No more cringing humiliation when we beat ourselves up for our “mistakes.”
Sure there are certain best practices in any field, and we can learn from experts and improve our skills. But I’m talking about carrying an unspoken conviction that we’re not good enough and that others are better simply because they aren’t me.
I realize now that success comes when we interpret the expert advice through our own lens. We incorporate the ideas that fit and discard the rest. We value and trust ourselves enough to know what to accept as worthwhile.
Here’s an example from my experience. Some online marketers teach that you must do three free webinars to launch your high-end coaching package, and there’s a certain style of video and PDF that goes along with it. Their secret formula will reveal the right way to attract clients and overcome their objections. I used to consume these trainings (the free bits) hoping that I’d find the magic way to build my practice and be successful.
Most of their advice felt inauthentic or inappropriate for me. I knew myself well enough not to even try it. I am not a guru in a cult of celebrity, but still I compared myself to these “experts,” and for a long time I felt inadequate.
Fast forward to the other day when I watched a video from Karen Curry Parker, a teacher I admire, about changing your narrative. The homework she gave was to think of a recurring pattern of doubt and fear in your life, and heal it with story. I had a wonderful realization with this process. I discovered that if I separate the fear of “doing it wrong” from the consequence of “people won’t like me” then I open up an enormous set of options that free me from the fear. Here’s how I described it in my journal:
You cannot fail. You are here to learn, to have new experiences and how to navigate them, What may look like a mistake could be a new improvement, an alternative that gives a new opening. Experimenting, seeking out the negative results as well as the positive is necessary for the advancement of knowledge.
I love that reframe. It makes me want to go out and make a bunch of mistakes just to see what I learn.
Do you live with a vague sense of doubt and question whether you’re doing it wrong (whatever IT is)? Does it keep you from living full out or going after something you desire? We must stop this insidious affliction!
This is my soap box, my crusade. I’m probably doing it all wrong, but I believe in it so strongly that I’m willing to make mistakes. Reject these limiting beliefs. Don’t accept the mistaken idea that there is only one right way to be successful. Your way is the perfect way and you’re doing it exactly right.