June 20, 2015

Overcoming the Fear of Inadequacy.

Good Enough List

Where I live, in Bali, Indonesia, I spend a lot of my time with free-divers at Apneista Freediving School.

We often talk about the variety of fears, the most recent fear discussed being the fear of inadequacy.

That gnawing feeling of being not good enough.

Sound familiar?

Turns out it doesn’t matter whether you live in the cold weather of Eastern Canada or the sunshine drenched Eastern Bali. We all have had an experience (or two, or more) with this same feeling. And it turns out that in order to conquer the fear of staying underwater a little while longer, or the darkness of night dives, free-divers use techniques similar to the ones yogis do.

We human beings learn and carry this age-old fear of inadequacy wherever we go. Just like that student loan you just want to forget about, it gradually melts and a portion of it disappears to make you feel all better…yet it shows up again and again to remind you that it is a never-ending work in progress.

So how can you tackle this fear?

Try this…

Grab a pen and paper and at the top, write down your biggest aspirations and goals.

Then, underneath in the center, draw a vertical line to divide the page into two sections. On the left hand side, write down why you are not good enough to achieve these goals and aspirations. Then, right next to it on the right, write down a list of why you are good enough for our achievements.

Notice feelings that show up as you write them all down.

You may notice that the list of why you are good enough either shows or triggers certain emotions much more strongly than the list of why you are not good enough.

See, you use more of your left brain when you write the list of Not Good Enough, feeding your ego by being logical, clear and precise (makes you feel like a civilized big grown-up human). At the same time, logic and precision only make you feel worried and anxious. Perhaps this list is much longer than the list of Good Enough because your left brain is designed to assess, file, sort out, and carefully defend your cases against your achievements.

On the other hand, you use right side of the brain to create the list of Good Enough. That’s why it is much more feeling-driven, and perhaps a much shorter list. It may look unconvincing, but your mind and actions sometimes don’t work with logic.

Feelings create actions. Athletes of any kind alike train their minds that way. They tune into the feeling they had the last time they broke their personal records or won their tournament.

I personally chose to go back after my first yoga class ever 15 years ago. I had no idea what I was doing in class, but I remembered the feeling when I walked out of the studio. That feeling persisted class after class, for years, and finally led to a yoga teacher training program.

You take actions by following your feelings.

However, your habitual patterns in daily lives are quite the opposite of this practice. You keep creating stories in your mind, explaining to yourself and others around you about how you don’t have enough resources to achieve these goals, or how you don’t deserve them.

In fact, you become so skilled at convincing yourself and others that it becomes automatic, and you don’t even realize you are the biggest obstacle in your life more than any solid, logical reason on your Not Good Enough list. You create logic after logic to come up with fairly unarguable defenses against any chances of your achieving goals. Once you have solidified your case, the repeated mantra of Not Good Enough becomes your own self-fullfilling prophecy.

To radically change this pattern, you can start by learning how to listen to these stories you create in your own mind. Notice every single word you use in every conversation you have within yourself and with others.

Ask yourself if you can do something about anything on Not Good Enough list today. If not, get back on your path, keep taking actions based on how you feel, follow that bliss no matter what.

And above all, don’t forget to have fun on the way.


Relephant Read:

 8 Steps That Help You Find Your Life Purpose.




Author: Tomomi Kojima

Apprentice Editor: Carlene Kurdziel; Editor: Emily Bartran

Photo: Author’s Own

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