Are you fast enough? Strong enough? Talented enough? Bottom line: are YOU enough?
This is a terrible question that will eat you alive. Don’t answer it.
This question invites your brain into the dreaded sea of compare and despair.
Instead, ask a different question.
Here’s how the wrong question impacts you:
I was recently on a backpacking trip with two friends who were through hiking 486 miles of The Colorado Trail. Our friends had been hiking an average of 19 miles a day for three weeks when we joined them. We jumped in at the highest elevations: over 12,000 feet. Additionally, my friend is a top competitor in Ironman.
Yet my brain asked the question, “How come I’m not fast enough to keep up with Mary?” The answers my brain found? Because I’m weak. Because I don’t train enough. Because I don’t have enough mental strength.
I was answering the wrong question.
You need to know what’s most important to you before you can determine what is enough for you.
Don’t adopt Someone Else’s Priority
Allow the way you pace yourself to grow out of your priority.
When I say, “I’m not as fast as Mary,” I’m unwittingly agreeing to her priority. Mary is an Ironman competitor. Mary values being fast so she has a shot at getting on a podium.
But I am a writer. I value stillness so I can hear the Idea Fairy when she whispers to me what my next piece is about.
Once I broke it down this concretely my comparing brain vanished. I wanted Mary to be faster than I am so she can reach her dreams.
Allow your pace to grow out of your priority.
Once you get crystal clear about your priority, you are able to stop comparing yourself to people who are on a different road.
I can hear you: but what if I do want to get better/faster/smarter?
Growth is good. We are happiest when we are challenged. Challenge helps us to grow. The key is understanding the type of growth we’re looking for at any given moment.
In college I compared myself to my sister (and despaired) until I understood my priority. I was never enough for Larry Boyette, my ballet teacher. He yelled at me for yawning in class and I felt myself fighting back tears. My sister was in the front row, demonstrating the perfect arabesque.
But after class my sister told me the back row – where I danced – was the golden spot in class. “You’re learning so much,” she said. “I’m bored in the front row.” A light bulb went on for me as she reminded me that all I wanted from ballet class was to learn.
My sister went on to found 3rd Law Dance. I never had ambition to become a ballerina, but hanging out with great dancers pushed me to grow and growth always brings confidence. Confidence you can bring to your top priority.
Change your question.
I changed my question from am I fast enough to keep up with a triathlete? To how many miles can I hike to feel like I’ve had a grand adventure? Adventure inspires me to write.
How can I be good enough to dance in the front row? becomes What new movement do I want to try to wake up my brain?
What is the question you’re asking? How does it reflect your priority?
The questions that lead us to compare and despair are typically borrowed questions. We have no business asking ourselves someone else’s question.
What is your fundamental success question?
• For my triathlete friend, she asks, how will I get enough movement today?
• For myself, I ask, how will I get enough stillness today?
Very different questions that make each of our lives happy. If she doesn’t get enough movement, her career is at stake. If I don’t get enough stillness, the idea fairy that feeds my writing never shows up.
So when you’re asking yourself am I enough? Stop.
Instead ask: what is my top priority?
Don’t crowd your brain with unnecessary questions that don’t support your goals. Build your questions to help you get where you’re going.
What is your top priority? What questions will help you build your focus? Where do you get derailed by compare and despair? I want to know about you. Join my newsletter so we can stay in touch.