Main content

“I’m Not Good Enough” and Other Lies to Stop Telling Yourself

Cartoon woman with dark hair and long sleeve white shirt with arms crossed

The only person who isn’t good enough is one who decides she isn’t. Why? Because you can only be unworthy if you believe there is only one way to be deserving. You can only lose if you choose to play by other people’s rules. When you label yourself not good enough or a “loser,” you prioritize self-pity over self-improvement.

Maybe you said something regretful in a meeting or didn’t speak up at all. Maybe you don’t have work friends or never get asked to hang out. Maybe you feel like you’re not as fashionable or taken as seriously. Maybe you received a lackluster performance review or were passed over for a promotion.

It doesn’t matter what your storyline is – they all have the same opportunity thread: if you acknowledge the problem objectively, you can find the solution effectively. Then you’re not a failure - you’re a confident detective, a scientist, a journalist, a coach.

When we label ourselves with names like “loser,” it’s like a white flag signaling negative beliefs such as “I suck”, “I messed up”, “I’m not good enough.” We can change our unproductive mindset from failing to figuring it out. Yes, it means we need to be willing to learn and grow. It means some effort and humility are required. It also means we might need help from others and lots of patience to enable a process.

“I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.” - Thomas Edison

Just as Edison worked in a literal laboratory, we can look at our own work in the same metaphorical way. Through trial and error, experimenting and testing, we eliminate options that don’t succeed so we can discover ways that do – given the current circumstances. When we are mindful about if and how to tackle ‘failure’, we also become much more self-aware about what we value, need and want. This is the core to thinking and being confident.

Turning ‘I’m not good enough’ thoughts into a confidence mindset isn’t that hard with some commitment and self-compassion. Here’s how:

1. Whenever you feel like you are less than, not good enough, failing, or any other forms of defeat - recognize that disappointment and mark how it feels. Use that frustration to fuel your motivation and power you through future hard times.

2. Imagine talking to a friend and coach yourself on what you could have done better and why you didn’t. Be honest with yourself but also be fair. There is always a reason we don’t do something – and whatever the cause, it's critical intelligence data. Whether you failed because you were lazy, thoughtless or unprepared, you can fix all of these things going forward if you want to.

3. Have a structure – for example: a picture of a fun time with friends, a trophy, a job acceptance letter – anything that marks success in your past and use it to remind you that no one situation or person can take past success away from you.

4. Phone a friend but don’t complain or seek consolation. Instead, ask for accountability assistance by explaining what happened, what you’re going to do and what help you need going forward.

5. Be psyched. Really! You just discovered something you want to improve which means you have a starting point and direction. Decide objectively if you even want to pursue this route. You may simply realize that the disappointing result - the recent failure - really isn’t something you even want to fix.

Orientation message
For the best experience, please turn your device