I was a girl. I was not worthy – WRONG – I am a girl and I am totally worthy.
I was 7 and it was my brothers 9th birthday. My Mum, Dad, brother, sister and I were all sat on my parents bed giving him his presents and cards. I remember, so vividly, my brother opening a card from my grandparents. He had been given £20 taped to a brand new, super cool, scalextric. In the seconds that followed I recall feeling jealous, sad. Now I see that I felt undeserving and unworthy. Why? Because three months earlier I had my birthday and my grandparents gave me a pair of socks.
As a child listening to my grandparents, I heard that boys were more important than girls. That my brother would carry on our family name and I couldn’t as I would always take my husbands. Birthdays and Christmas’ mirrored the conversations I heard in the gifts he received from my grandparents being better than those I was given.
These moments, these snippets of conversations, made me believe that I wasn’t worthy or deserving. And that completely sucks.
And this wasn’t in the dark ages, nor even post-war. This was 1988.
I was told I wasn’t good enough – WRONG – no one gets to decide whether I am good enough but me.
When I was 11 I wanted to be a criminologist (I mentioned this in my previous post). I was a little obsessed with what made people do what they did. I used to get a weekly magazine called Real Life Crimes. I had every copy.
I remember being 15 and sat in the careers office at school. We had each been given an appointment to talk about what subjects to study at A Level (for anyone outside of the UK this is the school period aged 16-18). We talked about what we wanted to do for a career and what subjects would be best suited for us to take in order to reach our career goals. I talked passionately about my dream of becoming a criminologist. The careers teacher sat there blankly and said:
‘Rebecca, you need to be strong in science to be able to do that sort of job, you are not strong in science. You should choose a different career path’.
In the space of 30 seconds, my fear of not being good enough was developed. I didn’t recognize that if I worked harder that anything would be possible. I was told I wasn’t good enough and I believed it. And that belief lasted a long, long time.
The things that happen when we are young shape our beliefs for when we are grown adults.
And as adults trying to succeed in business these beliefs get in the way. How can I earn $xxx, I am not worthy. Why will anyone want to work with me. I am not good enough. I don’t deserve their love. I need to prove myself to them.
These feelings of not being good enough, not being worthy turn into fear, worry, anxiety. And this has a massive impact on how we cope with day to day pressures, stress, grief. How can we then be successful if we are weighed down with these negative feelings?
It’s important for us to pay attention to whatever thought or emotion we feel when we feel it. Yes, it’s ok to listen to that little voice inside your head as long as you question it back. It’s also extremely important to assess whether that thought is preventing us from realizing a goal or dream, helping us move forward with our businesses. Or whether we just need to have a little courage and act. Open that door to a world of opportunity and possibility.
I know it’s far easier to say it rather than do it. I’ve been there (and will be talking about that in my next post). So I’ll let you in on a quick way to start avoiding this spiral of self-doubt.
- Stop – when you start experiencing these negative thoughts or feelings, stop.
- Acknowledge – don’t dwell, but acknowledge your feelings.
- Think positively – what’s a good reason or a positive feeling or thought to the situation?
- React – always react after a pause and a positive thought. You’re more likely to be open to opportunity and growth!
And remember, your past experiences have shaped your beliefs today. Don’t let your feelings and thoughts stand in the way of an opportunity. You’re capable of success and happiness if you just put your mind to it.