“Of all the liars in the world,
sometimes the worst are our own fears.”
Happy June and Happy Pride!
I recently marched in the WeHo Pride Parade with an organization I love being connected to, Free Mom Hugs. You can read about them and find your local chapter here: https://freemomhugs.org/ I went to my first Pride parade in 2009, two years after I left a religion that dictated that I vote to stop gay marriage. I went with the spirit of openness and curiosity and I came out of that day a fierce ally and determined to help tip the world toward love, not away from it. To those of you who celebrate Pride, be safe, have fun, don’t forget your sunscreen and your water, Happy Pride!
Last month I tackled the first of five “Mandy Myths”; five internal misunderstandings that have been getting in my way of doing what I really want to do in this life. Myth #1: “I don’t know how to do it” is up on the blog now if you want to catch up.
TL:DR I actually DO know how to do SOME of it so I start with what I know.
Myth #2 leaves me feeling a little more exposed. Here’s how it goes in my head: “I’m not good enough. Who am I to do this work? I suck. Everyone else is better than me already.”
Cool, cool, so you’re in just the right place.
This one boils down to the word, enough. I know I am good. It took me a long time to really embrace that concept-I am a good human being, I do good. I am good at many skills and talents. I’m good at being a mom, I’m good at coaching. I’m a good writer. I’m a good friend. Growing up in a high demand religion and staying firmly committed to it the first 30 years of my life had me always chasing being good. IF I was good, if I choose the right, if I followed the rules, if I did it all correctly then I earn my spot in the top level of heaven. For a kid who love the rules but also had a wild hair, that concept was like dangling a carrot that I could never get but couldn’t stop trying to reach. With a lot of therapy and healing and time, I’ve embraced that I am actually good exactly as I am right here, right now, perfectly imperfect. And also…that word “enough” creeps back in from time to time and I crumble.
It infiltrates my mind when I start working on something I don’t know how to do to perfection. (See Myth #1 for that gem) For example…I am a really good speaker, I know this, I enjoy this, I have always love public speaking. I want to level up to speaking with audiences in the 8,000-10,000 people range. But on tough days my inner critic (I call her Becky-Karen was too on point) Becky tells me I’m not “good enough” to do that so I don’t look for those opportunities, I shut down when I think of that dream and I feel dejected (sad, depressed, dispirited) before I even take a step in that direction.
What is that thing for you?
Where in your life does your inner critic tell you-you aren’t good enough for that?
My coach, Sarah reminds me often that where I look for evidence, I will find it. When I’m spiraling into the Not Good Enoughs, after I’m done with my fear and my pity party, I ask myself one question…
What is all the evidence that I CAN trust myself?
Recently at an all day intensive coaching session I was tasked to write out The Resume of Mandy, bullet point style. one column for personal accomplishments and one for my professional life. What I didn’t tell Sarah was that in those first few moments of silence, blankly staring at the page, “Becky” was taunting me…
“Who are YOU to want to speak in front of audiences at that level? You’re not good enough! Don’t be ridiculous. Stay small, it’s what you’re meant to do. Be likeable, don’t boast, what if someone sees this list and laughs at you?”
I’m still growing and healing and learning to trust myself so if it weren’t for the fact that Sarah was sitting in the room with me and would have to see something on the list to proceed with the day, I could have very easily put my pen away and decided I just didn’t want to do the work because it was intimidating. But because I’m also a recovering people pleaser, I couldn’t NOT do the assignment.
So I started writing, and I started with easy obvious stuff other people would know or say about me. At some point, she asked me how many times I’ve spoken in public and I had to stop and do the math. The truth is I’ve spoken well over 300 times in front of an audience starting as early as age 12 and most recently this year at my highest billable event to date. I’ve spoken to tens of thousands of people. Evidence. Hard evidence that I have been honing my craft for over 30 years and have been identified as a leader for just as long.
And then Becky was all “Yeah but most of those were in a church capacity and those don’t count because you weren’t paid.”
Becky and me, we go way back and I like to argue when I’ve been poked so I started digging and realized that as far as I can recall every time I spoke I did it my way, with authenticity. That counted.
Encouraged, I kept writing, looking for evidence…
14 years as a writer with over 185 blog posts to my name
Coached youth sports for over 18 years in three sports
Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Psychology
Podcast guested and interviewed on tv for my work
The list kept going and as it grew it was really clear to me that I am good. I’m even good enough if I wanted to entertain that word. But the real question is, what is “enough” and who sets that bar? Because if we’re always chasing enough we will never find it. Wherever we land next, there will always be more to chase.
Remember that thing your inner critic tells you you’re not good enough at? What is all the evidence that you can trust yourself?
Make a list. Explore what comes up. Look for the evidence!
The next Mandy Myth is a tricky one, “I need (spouse, parent, boss, etc) to agree with me and validate me in order to be ok, loved, enough or worthy.” (Look at that-there’s that damn word again…enough.)
Until then…do good, be good and if you can’t do either, just don’t be an asshole. That will be good “enough”!
P.S. If you want the next Mandy Myth delivered to your inbox so you don’t have to remember to check the blog, you can sign up right here: https://mandyburnett.com/newsletter