Am I good enough?
We all go through moments of self doubt and gnawing fear in our lives. Situations can become very demanding at times, and we may not be that sure if we can turn the corner soon enough. Maybe it is a career setback, or a relationship gone kaput. It could be certain financial setbacks, or even a fitness goal that’s tiring you out with zero results.
Well, the trouble is when we allow these feelings to linger on for too long, when "Am I good enough” and its variants get repeated in a non-stop loop in our heads. Even folks who are otherwise reasonably confident and self-driven may experience this. You're constantly looking over your shoulders and wondering how long it'd take before you can get your act together. Is the slip showing, seems to be a constant worry, as the perfect picture isn't looking that great anymore with these cracks. You certainly don't want to come across as an "impostor".
When things aren't going great, at times it is natural for us to look around and compare our situation with that of others. We may also look at our own past, and discover how things have gone sour long after those good ol’ times! This may immobilize you as your vital energy is sapped by a flood of negative emotions. Comparing yourself to a previous version of you, may lead to embarrassment, frustrations, regret and a host of other negative emotions. It could trigger an intense desire for change, but aren't there better ways to do that? Without allowing these emotions to chip away at your confidence and self efficacy, that is.
Sure, make your comparison with yourself if you must. Can we make it forward oriented? When you think about a future version of you, long after this crisis is done with, what would you like to see there? What would like to be, do or have? Compare your present state with this future image. Maybe that’s better?
At difficult times like these, where do you choose to direct your focus? No doubt, your immediate attention obviously gets drawn to getting over the present crisis. Short term stability is important and good to have. But, are you stretching this “stability-orientation” into the far future also? The latter often comes with a huge cost. You may get your “peace” in the short run, but before long, frequent relapses will spoil the party for you!
How can you navigate this journey by balancing the short-term imperatives with the need for at times drastic and disruptive long term changes? Is there a way to keep the focus intact, so you don’t keep hopping on and off the crisis bandwagon too frequently?
That’s where your personal SMART-BUZZ pack can play a big role.
Your SMART-BUZZ pack is a one-stop storehouse of talents, strengths and activities that add zing and momentum to your life. They create a SMART buzz about you to yourself, first, and then maybe to others too! While defining your SMART BUZZ pack, there maybe some pleasant surprises in store. Much of it is something you already know, hopefully. The idea is to have all of them organized for quick recall and deployment. Just like a Mobile rate-plan that includes multiple benefits bundled together.
Before we explore the smart buzz pack further, let’s put in place a quick response protocol that can be used in the immediate aftermath of any such situation. Wherein you feel ambushed by these unresourceful feelings of fear and self doubt, this quick response protocol can help.
QUICK Response PROTOCOL
The Acceptance Pill:
Acceptance of the situation is the first step to making any change, to come to terms with the bare facts and nothing more. Not in a confused, fuzzy and self-flagellating manner, but in a matter-of-fact way, so that you aren't left denying reality. It may help to write it down in a bullet pointed manner, so that you can unload it from your brain. When you have it on paper, it maybe a bit easier to look at it objectively. Definitely better than wrestling with the facts and fact-look-alikes inside your brain.
Acknowledge the thoughts & fears:
When you look at the written version, what’s going on in your mind? What kind of thoughts and emotions are bubbling up? Without getting into analyzing them, make a note of your top 5 to 7 thoughts that are occupying your mindspace at the moment. Again, it is an opportunity to free up precious RAM in your brain. Some of the thoughts maybe valid, many others aren't.
What you have done is to draw a boundary around the situation, and to see and know it for what it is. These steps are too simple that it is easy to ignore their importance. You'll only need to look at events in your own life (personal or professional) to see how true this is. It doesn't take too long for people to get carried away with their emotions and allow problems to get magnified out of proportion.
Coming back to the SMART-BUZZ pack
Take a few blank sheets of paper, and spend some time on the following points.
- What are your special and maybe even unique talents?
- What kind of outcomes and experiences in life make you feel like you're on "cloud number nine”? Career, finances, relationships, wellness, health, hobbies… Look for outcomes that will excite you across all these areas of life. Highlight the outcomes you want more than anything else!
- Make an exhaustive list of things you do very well. And even those that may not be going too well now, but you’re confident of acing with the right focus.
- Quickly scan the list, and highlight the ones that you do better than most people you personally know.
- Reflect on your cherished special interests that make you tremendously proud; You know that time flies when you're onto these. Mark them with a special STAR (*)
- Take a look at others who seem to have full-on-fun non-stop, and are doing very well for themselves.
- Is there something you can do better than them, or even as good?
Jot down all your answers, ideas and thoughts. The plan is to bring it all under one roof, and to keep it for quick reference whenever you’re hit by that down in the dumps feeling.
Any time you’re left wondering how to pick up the broken pieces and move forward, keep coming back to your SMART-BUZZ pack notes. This is like a high level product description. You may certainly make it more exciting with some bright, vivid pictures, drawings and slogans too! Like you see on those exciting vision boards that so many successful people seem to swear by.
Make it exciting enough so that you can almost instantly change your mood from one of despondence to hope and self-belief. It’ll let you cut through limiting beliefs and patterns, and liberate you from the worries of the past and future (real & imaginary).
The SMART BUZZ pack lets you practice working out with greater internal locus of control. You can leverage the power of neuroplasticity, and summon up the internal resources to change life’s narrative for the better.
Very soon, you’ll gather the stamina to start taking actions that will help you go excitedly after that long term disruptive and potentially transformational change. Even when the crisis of the moment plays itself out, you know that the SMART-BUZZ pack is your one chance that matters.
The GOLDEN RULE — Your MINI-RITUALS
The GOLDEN RULE here is to go for MINI-RITUALS that’ll help you keep the SMART-BUZZ alive. What two or three actions can you take today that will be inline with this spirit? Pick at least two. That’ll be thirty by the end of the fortnight! This is how you shift the energy, and build the willpower muscle for the long term changes of the drastic kind. The idea is to own the excitement bit by bit, trial by trial, and action by action.
There will be certain risks to be taken. Make sure you think through your mitigation and contingency options.
Now is the time to watch out for certain self-sabotaging habits. At vulnerable moments like these, it is a scary prospect at times, to stick your neck out and pursue bigger changes. There will surely be some doubting Thomases and Janes, and Jains too, maybe! Simply don't keep looking for their approval that often anymore.
While that may sound straightforward, it won’t be easy. I’d recommend a secret mind-game that you could consider:
Give them the royal snub, at least in your mind! Tell them first in your mind that “you hardly matter”. Of course, don’t be foolhardy to ignore valid points. But screen them first, and weed out anything that fails the “in-sync” test with your SMART-BUZZ pack. Use your own internal radar to do the first level of the “in-sync” test. Ask yourself how valid can these really be, if I invoke my existing strengths, or develop new ones. You’ll be reasonably accurate!
Of course, at this stage, I do reserve the right to again make my favorite recommendations for a few mindfulness practices! Wont go into details here. Pick anything that’ll help you get into the neutral gear, slow down, observe and reflect for that present moment awareness. Will help you snub those doubters better! One of them may be you!
So, go ahead and install the SMART-BUZZ Pack, well before the next crisis of confidence hits you! Best of Luck!