We all ask ourselves a few questions throughout our lives:
- Who am I?
- Am I good enough?
- What do I want out of life?
- Am I trustworthy?
We all come to a point in our lives and careers where we wonder these different thoughts. There’s no roadmap for life, and so when we wonder them will depend on who you are and what you are going through in life.
Am I good enough?
Wondering “Am I good enough?” is something that I am faced with every day, and I think most of us are whether we realize it or not. It’s the monster inside our head that often holds us back because we are afraid to believe that we’re good enough because then we might actually succeed and be faced with problems that we then cannot solve on our own and may have to rely on others.
I found myself in a situation recently where I wondered, and honestly doubted, if I was good enough. It was late, I had a daunting task ahead of me, and I was not sure that I wanted or could do it. I was doubting myself for many different reasons, but the biggest one was because I didn’t think I had the talent.
My friend who was along with me gave me a pep talk. It essentially boiled down to:
Are you willing to do what it takes to succeed, even if you’re scared? The path you set now for success, either for it or against it, will stay with you because you are teaching yourself what you are made of. So, are you willing, or are you going to go home?
Faced with this challenge (and anyone who knows me knows that I love a good challenge), I had to sit back and think hard about what I wanted. I thought back to living in Europe and running a book publishing company, and how I wish I had taken the time see where my shortcomings were and sought to find training to overcome those deficiencies. Instead, I learned to give up and move on.
I wish I had dug deep at other points in my life as well, when the going got tough, and made an unsuccessful situation into a successful one.
I realized that at times, I’ve set a precedent for myself of giving up and moving on. I think that’s why I’ve moved so many times since high school (it’s in the 20s). Every time the going has become truly tough, I’ve tried to run away and restart. But now, that’s not an option. Now, the best option is to stay and discover, to create space in life and time to truly think about where I am going and what I want to do. Only after you have done that are you able to say “Do I want to do this?”
Only after you have done that are you able to say “Do I want to do this?”
This is a difficult place to come to. And honestly, I’m beginning to think that you need to do it alone, or at least come to a place where you are willing to say “What others think has no bearing on what I want to do.” When you come to this place, you are more able to be honest with yourself and where you want to go in life.
For example, as far as I’ve been able to process and internalize what I want to do, I want to:
- Be able to speak and blog more, and this means travel and space in life to be creative and focus on my writing.
- Live out West at some point in the next few years, so this means saving money and also setting myself up for success when I make a change in location.
- Retire by the age of 55, which means learning about retirement saving and setting a plan to get there.
All of these, especially the one about moving West, have set me on a trajectory. Now, I have a much better ability to say no to potential obligations that will not move me towards that goal. I can streamline my life better and become more effective at what I do because I have a vision for where I am going.
Share The Journey
Now comes the hard part – sharing that journey. I’m not talking about a partner or spouse necessarily, though that person if you have one could become this partner in your journey, but rather having someone, anyone, that you know and trust that can keep you accountable and also help you realize your dream for your life. This person should also have the ability and permission to point out where you are not staying true to your vision and where you need to correct your course.
It may happen that you have multiple people in your life who do this for you. One may be in your business life, another may be in your personal life, another may be in your financial life. I believe, though, that you want one person who can speak into all of these, at least to a small extent on each. A fractured life, or fractured advice, is not going to get you nearly as far as an integrated life and integrated feedback in all areas of your life.
What do you think? Have you found ways to get space in life to figure out where you want your life to go, or have you ever had to dig deep and decide if you were willing to do the work required to be successful? If so, I’d love to hear your stories.