“As a coach, I often see a look in the eyes of ‘successful’ executives that says, ‘I know I’m doing well, so why don’t I feel satisfied? I know I’m good, but I am not good enough.’
“And it’s not just executives who have this complex – everyone has a ‘not enough’ phrase that they beat themselves down with. Such as, ‘I’m not skinny enough.’ Or, ‘I’m not wealthy enough.’ Or, ‘My relationship with my partner is not good enough.’ Or, ‘I’m not a good enough mother.’
“What I have come to realise through coaching is that insecurities are driven by a sense of shame. We are all ashamed of some aspect of ourselves – whether it is our nationality, our position in life, our possessions, our career, our education. We might not be ashamed of all of these factors, but I truly believe there is a shared sense of shame.
“The more I looked into these insecurities and the shame that caused them, the more obvious it became that the underlying factor is a desperate need to connect and belong, and to be loved. We’re all so afraid of what we perceive to be our own shortcomings because we think these will prevent us from achieving loving relationships.
“When you look at it in this way, you can see why it is so important to make peace with ourselves. It enables us to love and be loved. You have to let other people discover your shortcomings, and make yourself vulnerable to judgement – and be fine with that. You have to be able to say, or at least think, ‘It’s OK for me that I’m not going to be everything you expect.’ This acceptance of yourself allows you to be authentic and truly step into the person who you are. There is no place for shame, or fear of shame, when you accept yourself fully. When you hear the self-sabotaging voice inside your head telling you that you aren’t good enough for the job, or for that person, or for that friendship, or for that life, recognise that it is fear talking. Ask yourself, ‘Will I allow my fear to take me away from what I really want for myself and my life?’
“We all have doubts about ourselves. And we worry that people will judge us negatively because of those faults. But we need to learn how to walk into the space of vulnerability and fear, so we can conquer them by acknowledging them. Denying your insecurities won’t help. Instead, they will take you over and manage your life, because denying them is admitting to yourself that you’re afraid of them. But acknowledging them is saying to yourself, ‘I know those feelings of insecurity and shame are there, but I believe in myself and trust myself that I can manage them.’ I know this is easier said than done – making yourself vulnerable isn’t easy. So I tell my clients, ‘It’s OK to mess up. It’s OK to have an idea that doesn’t work. It’s OK to be wrong. A mistake is not a failure. And when you reach that stage of acceptance, amazing things will happen. But it takes courage to step into that space.’
“The thing is, when you are living in a transparent box of fear, you can see and experience everything around you, but you are still in a box, living within the limits you have set for yourself.
“When people find a way to move beyond the armour they have created for themselves, by making new rules and creating new roles for themselves, they can achieve their full range and potential. It’s a difficult leap to make, but the rewards are endless.”