I want to talk to you about something that had been creeping into nearly every conversation I’ve had with my coaching clients lately. It’s the idea of not being good enough. We all suffer from imposter syndrome at some point in our lives, but I want to challenge that feeling.
Last night I had a conversation with a young man who is extremely smart, extremely empathetic, and I see an incredibly bright future for him. Yet, he doesn’t think so because he thinks he’s not living up to expectations. When I challenged him to further elaborate this concept of expectations, I found out that these were expectations that were pressed on him by others. A lot of us go about life feeling that we don’t stack up, that we’re not good enough – and a lot of the time it is because we are trying to use someone else’s measuring stick to measure ourselves. Most of these standards and most of these expectations are nothing more than a myth. Yet, over time, we start believing in these myths, and they start destroying our self-esteem.
It’s so dangerous to follow others expectations of you because there’s no guarantee you’ll ever live up to someone else’s standards. This is because the goal post is constantly shifting – how can you achieve something when you don’t know where the goal post is? How awesome do you feel when you check something off, when you complete something? This is what you should actually be chasing.
I got a text from someone yesterday who had joined one of my masterminds with his father. We were recalling an activity I had set out for them where I had everyone go around and write one self-limiting belief that they would truly like to get rid of. Once they wrote it down, they had to read it out loud to the group and throw it into the fire to symbolize the end of that limiting belief. Now, this gentleman was very, very shy and he felt he wasn’t good enough in so many ways. This exercise did not topple this gentleman’s tough wall he had put in front of himself, but it did make a couple cracks. I kept in touch with him over the following 18 months. His text yesterday was him telling me that he finally joined a real estate team with his dad and that he’s truly happy.
He wasn’t sure 18 months ago that his present situation would be possible. And yet he has made it possible because he got past that self-limiting belief that he had created for himself, that he had presumed that people thought about him and he recognized that it wasn’t true and he did something about it. And because of that, he is now well on his way to what I know is going to be a prolific career no matter what he does. I wish someone had told me in my mid-twenties about the danger of false expectations, of false assumptions and how those can crush you to the point where you don’t try anymore.
I am so glad that 10 years ago I decided that I didn’t want to be like that anymore. I didn’t know what to do, but I knew what I didn’t want to be anymore. My book that is coming out soon is about my journey from self-sabotage, which is what false expectations do to you. I may not be perfect today, but I am perfect in my imperfections. I am happy because I am clear. I know when to reach out to people and I know when to look within for strength.
One of the exercises that I get a lot of my clients to do is to identify and write out for themselves the perfect version of themselves. Who do you really want to become? Confident, empathetic, kind, forgiving, compassionate, hardworking, decisive? Whatever the words are, write as many as you can, have the perfect version of yourself. And then what I want you to do is take that and put it on the mirror in your bathroom where you brush your teeth in the morning. This way you see it every day and are reminded to achieve your goals.
Over time, by reading those things and thinking of those things, your brain will start to believe those things. And when your brain starts to believe something, you will start to act accordingly, and you will become that person. The best version of yourself is right here. The best version of me is sitting in front of me. My job is to let her out.
Wherever you are, when you’re hearing this, write out the best version of yourself. Put it somewhere you can see it every single day, and then become that wonderful and perfect version of yourself.