In working with clients over the years, we often explored core beliefs that held them back. One of the most common (but least recognized) was, “I am not enough.”
This belief can lead to a wide range of behaviors that tend to sabotage our efforts. Here are some of the most common ones we explored:
1. Perfectionism: This shows up as rarely completing projects or not even starting projects because of the unrealistically high standards they have set for themselves.
2. Low self-esteem: A common behavior was negative self-talk related to reaching out and making connections. “Who am I that they would want to talk to me?“
3. Self-criticism: A past client shared a number of great successes he had achieved, and then immediately undermined those achievements by beating himself up for the things he hadn’t yet achieved.
4. Avoidance and Procrastination: I would see people get stuck over and over in avoiding taking simple steps to make new connections. The possibility of failure or rejection loomed large for them.
5. Approval-seeking: You see this a lot if you’re a consultant or trainer. Almost everyone wants assurance that they are doing the right thing and making the right choices. And it’s rarely enough!
6. Self-sabotage: A phrase that always made me smile: “Snatching failure from the jaws of victory.” I saw it many times after weeks of preparing an outreach plan, but then failing to follow through with it.
7. Overcompensation: We want to look and be perceived as successful, but it can backfire if your intentions exceed your capabilities. So, setting huge goals often ended in disappointment.
We explored these beliefs and behaviors in my programs, and we discovered that most of these behaviors were driven by the belief “I’m not enough” at its core.
And that one core belief is the underlying belief of many other beliefs such as:
“I am a disappointment, I am a failure. I am a loser. I am a mess. I am a mistake. I am awkward. I am incapable. I am stupid. I am useless. I am unwanted. I am unworthy… and 25 more.”
And, of course, we don’t always feel “I’m not enough.” But when we come up against something that’s outside of our expertise or comfort zone, this belief tends to rear its ugly head.
I’m sure you saw yourself in one or more of those examples.
But is there something you can do about the malignant “I’m not enough disease” if you are one of the 85%* of people who have it in one form or another?
Well, you tell me. I’m sure you’ve experienced or become identified with this belief at various times in your life.
What do you do to get beyond it? Do you have a story or an example?
85%* This stat comes from a number of articles online. I have no idea what research it’s based on. But I sure saw it a lot in working with clients.