Do you ever feel like a fraud?
Or just plain not good enough to do what you love?
We all do.
But it affects different people in different ways.
It depends on how much power you give to the thought of “not good enough.”
Do you let the thought blackmail you, or do you let it float by?
Even famous speakers, authors and entrepreneurs don’t feel good enough all the time. They feel like frauds. They want to give up.
The mind will always be afraid, but that’s okay. It doesn’t have to stop you.
So why do you feel like you aren’t good enough?
Not Good Enough — The Video
Here’s a short video I recorded on my experience with not being good enough, and how I deal with it.
When you’re done watching the video, keep reading the article, because they both compliment each other.
And remember to subscribe to my YouTube channel for more videos like this, because I don’t post every video here on the blog.
Could you feel not good enough if you didn’t have expectations?
If I were writing this article without expectations, I couldn’t start wondering if you were going to like it, because that would be an expectation.
If you expect something to happen, and it doesn’t happen, you immediately go into not-good-enough mode.
To transcend your expectations, focus completely on what you’re doing now.
Let life take care of the fruits of your labor, because they are none of your business. This last sentence is inspired by a quote from the Bhagavad Gita. The full quote goes like this:
Desire for the fruits of one’s actions brings worry about possible failure. When you are preoccupied with end results, you pull yourself from the present into an imagined, usually fearful future. Then your anxiety robs your energy and, making matters worse, you lapse into inaction and laziness.
All you can do is what you can do in in this very moment.
Life unfolds the way it unfolds. If you resist, you suffer. Focus on the here and now.
We come into this world with no conditioning. We don’t even know how to think, because we have no concepts. Those are learned later.
As children, we explore and enjoy what is. We live completely in the present moment, which is why most people love babies (and young children).
They gaze back at you without judgment, without the cloud of thought.
Most of us have grown up with conditioning that is no longer helpful, especially when it comes to building a business and living a passionate life.
Conditioning is simply an accumulation of thoughts that you’ve picked up from outside of yourself.
If that conditioning is at odds with reality, you suffer.
I’ve gone through my share of suffering. I’ve had times of heaven and times of hell. It hasn’t been fun, but it has all taken me to the place where I am now.
Your conditioning can help you wake up, or it can keep you in suffering. It can tell you that you aren’t good enough, but the thought of not being good enough is not good enough.
It’s not sufficient proof.
Just because a thought appears does not make it true.
Even if another thought tries to back up the first thought, it does not matter. You don’t have to attach to that thought.
Last but not least, you don’t feel good enough because of the thoughts you give power to.
If a thought comes up and tells you that you’re not good enough, you can either believe it, or you can witness it with a smile (smile optional).
This doesn’t mean you will instantly feel good enough. The thought and feeling may linger, but that’s okay.
Most people believe every thought they have. It’s a vicious cycle. Unfortunately, many live their whole lives as slaves to their mind.
But it’s time to cut the power cord to your thoughts.
Just because a thought tells you that you’re not good enough does not make it so.
And right about now you may have a thought that goes, “yes, but…”
Notice that it’s just another thought trying to help the previous thought. Just let the thoughts dance without your supervision.
It’s okay if fear comes up. We are human beings. We experience everything on the spectrum of emotions.
You don’t have to change your thoughts, or fix your feelings. There is nothing wrong.
Once you let it all be, interesting things begin to happen.
If you want more on this, here’s a short video:
Whenever I feel doubt creeping up, I try not to feed it by thinking about it more.
It may try to seduce me to engage, because that’s what thought does. When I have a thought of doubt, I feel doubt. But that doesn’t mean anything. It just means that I’m experiencing a thought.
If I don’t feed the thought by trying to fix it, it eventually disappears, because new thoughts come along.
Perhaps the most important message I want to give you is that you don’t have to feel good enough to be good enough.
Deep down you are already good enough. Nothing can change that.
Remember, you feel your thoughts. You don’t feel circumstances.
There are days when I don’t feel good enough, and there are days when I feel on top of the world. That’s how life works. We go up and down the roller coaster of our own life.
There’s nothing you have to do about it, except enjoy the ride.
The Simple Takeaway
Not feeling good enough is not a problem.
You don’t have to fix it, or fix yourself. In fact, trying to fix it only feeds it, unless you feel drawn to do it.
If I’m feeling particularly anxious, I might take the day off. I used to try and figure it out, but I’ve realized that there’s nothing I have to do.
There’s nothing wrong with feeling anxiety, fear, or whatever is going on.
And as I relax, my inner GPS shines through that much more, because there’s less noise in my head.
So, you don’t have to “become” good enough to do what you love. There is no obstacle that needs to be eliminated.
Instead, notice what interests you, and follow the breadcrumbs.
After a while, it’s as if life lives you. Everything is okay, and life simply unfolds.
P.S. If you want to dive deeper into how to follow your inner GPS, I invite you to check out my book Follow Your Heart: 21 Days to a Happier, More Fulfilling Life
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I am very happy to have stumbled upon your newsletter. I am in the process of shifting my perspective from “mentally” being stuck in the muck of everyday living, with all of the negative, self-defeating thoughts to that of being an “observer”. Granted, I am still living my life day to day, but if I shift my awareness from being a participant to that of an observer, when bad things happen, the new perspective changes my way of dealing with the problem – making it more manageable and ends with a positive outcome.
I appreciate your hard work and insight – keep it up!
Good stuff, Michael. If you want to take things even further, notice that “being in the process” is also a part of the obstacle. The shift can happen instantly, because you have always been the one that sees everything.
Jason Hanna says
Thanks for another wonderful article Henri. As I sit here on my porch worrying about tomorrow….I read this….and I can’t express enough how much that helped me. Thank-You again,and keep writing. You were born for it. And I can tell you love it. Because you write with passion. Thanks again. Goodnight from Central Iowa.
Neal Martin says
Good stuff, Henri. This is something I have struggled with quite a bit. When I started to put myself out there, I felt like a fraud all the time. But as time has gone on and as I’ve continued to press ahead, the feelings of not being good enough have lessened. They still haunt me to some degree, but I’ve gotten better at taking action anyway, despite what I’m feeling. These feelings will probably always be present, I’ve accepted that now. But I have no intentions of letting them hold me back. This week I will be making a full-length instructional DVD. Not too long ago I couldn’t have done such a thing because the feeling of being a fraud would have held me back. I believe in the process. It’s not really about having faith or confidence in yourself, it’s about having faith in the process, that if you stick at it, you will get to where you want to be.
And the more you put yourself out there, the more feedback you will get. People will tell you that you are making a difference.
You will feel one way, but the signals that come in will say something different. It’s a wake up call to the fact that what goes on in your head does not always equal reality.
Some feedback may be negative, and that’s fine. You keep on going and doing your best anyway.
Neal Martin says
The feedback has been pretty good so far, though you are right, it often conflicts with what is in my head, which is why it is so surprising (and pleasing) to receive.
Taylor Evans says
“Let life take care of the fruits of your labor, because they are none of your business.”
I love this line and its importance in life. We far too often get caught up in the things we can not control. Worrying about what has already happened in the past or what is to come in the future. Forgetting that NOW is the only thing that has ever mattered in our life.
Once we shift our complete focus and energy on the present, our entire perspective changes dramatically. Things we once stressed about aren’t as important and things we once overlooked are now beautiful. This is one of the most important steps in creating passionate work and the lifestyle that you want.
Keep up the great writing Henri!
Stuart Young says
Excellent post Henri. I think a lot of people think of themselves as not good enough because of comparisons they make between themselves and others. If you think about it, I can run quite fast but against Usain Bolt I’m not good enough. That seems valid. It is valid. And this is the hurdle many feel they need to get over…BUT, they don’t have to. We have to acknowledge our reality but change our perspective. I’m not as fast as Bolt over 100m or 200m but I may be over 800m. It may well be that I can help Bolt become even faster by teaching him how to improve his technique or his mindset. The point here is that we are all different and therefore we don’t need to compare ourselves directly with others. We can model them, we can learn from them, then, we can be different in some way from them. What do you think?
Comparing yourself to others is very discouraging. I know, because I used to do it. And I still fall into the same trap from time to time.
But after awhile I realized that the people I was comparing myself against where not like me at all. They did their thing, but I do my thing. When I let go of all that, I allowed myself to go even deeper into what I have to offer.
So yes, stop looking outside for confirmation. Stop comparing yourself to others. And follow your internal GPS instead.
Good stuff, Stuart!
Hi Henri! You are just what I needed to hear. Thank you, thank you, thank you
Dolora Canlobo says
I am this kind of person, that is why I seldom make a comment from what I read, but with your email it encourage me to speak and give my comment. Great post and keep up the good work.
In spite of ‘knowing’ that what you say is true, I can get stuck in knowing it intellectually and yet doing the exact opposite especially when I’M NOT conscious and when I’M NOT the awareness behind the thoughts. What I have begun to notice over time though is that although I may still experience variations of the ‘not good enough’ thoughts, the awareness creeps in behind them and I experience a distance from them, a ‘space’ between myself and the thoughts which allows a higher, healthier as you say ‘inner wisdom’ to come forth.
P.S. Your writing style feels so effortless to read and digest. Great work!
Yes, sometimes it seems to take time for us to let go of thoughts. The drama can be compelling 😉
Patricia Whiteside says
Hello, Henri, I am a new comer to you wonderful website and information. Thus far, I have really grown on the inside of my mind, will and emotions.
Kumar Gauraw says
I am the first time visitor and very very impressed with this article. I especially loved the way you said, “You have to cut the power cord to your thoughts.”
I am a huge advocate for the power of the subconscious mind and couldn’t agree more about it. What we think the most about, becomes our reality. And we have the power to consciously choose what thoughts we empower and which ones we want to starve to death.
Awesome article. I love your content and therefore, I will be visiting you more often.
Good stuff, Kumar!
Great post again Henri, beautifully explained.
I love what you said at the end, “it’s as if life lives you”.
That is a powerful space to be in as you surrender the need to have what you are doing fulfill you. You accept you are fine just the way you are and when in that space of flow, life can more easily show you the way.
Easier said than done at times, but the more you return to the present, the more clarity.
It’s a great step forward just being aware of the awareness that you are.
When we are connected within, everything else comes, and nothing else will truly make us happy anyway!
Thanks Henri 🙂
Definitely easier said than done, but when you can relax, life becomes so much simpler 🙂
AJ Walton says
I think a common perception to go along with this is the idea that we’re the only one who feels this way, so way to go for helping break down that barrier too.
One idea I’ve been playing with that relates to this as I grow my own business is that whenever I feel “not good enough” is thinking – fine, feel not good enough, now do this anyway.
To be able to act in spite of not feeling good enough is liberating in a way, takes the pressure off.
I actually think your idea of relaxing might be the central theme here. I feel like I react to my own expectations and conditioning and whatever other feelings are swirling around by creating a ton of unwanted tension in my body/mind.
Thanks for sharing!
Well put, AJ.
The funny thing is that we’re rarely alone in anything we feel. All the fears we have feel so personal, but almost everyone experiences the same thing.
And as you said, when you take action despite your fears, you realize that what you feel or think doesn’t have to stop you from moving forward.
I just recently came across your site, and I can not tell you how much you have helped me change my perspective. I need you to know that you have helped me greatly, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
That’s great, Lorie. Thanks for taking the time to tell me 🙂
Sometimes things just come in when you need them. I am ALWAYS amazed when I realize that everyone has these emotions. This was just what I needed today. Thanks!
Yup, at the core, we all go through the same things. Thanks for dropping by, Kim!
Great to re-read and revisit this article with fresh eyes and a new perspective. Thanks Henri. Your articles just keep getting better and better ( from my perspective, anyway!)
However unlike one of the comments made in 2012 I really dislike OR perhaps don’t fully understand the quote “Let life take care of the fruits of your labor, because they are none of your business”. OR the saying ” What other people think of you is none of your business”…..To my mind, what I do, how and I ‘be’ in the world – Very much IS my business – especially as we are constantly reminded ( in metaphysical/spirituality circles, at least) that others/circumstances/events etc etc are the Universal way reflecting back to us how/who/what we are be -ing in any given moment. Can you speak to this further?
The way I see it is that ‘let life take care of the fruits’ means not getting lost in expectations of the future. Instead, focus on enjoying the present moment, and doing the best you can right here.
And you can take in what other people think of you, but don’t get lost in it. To me, what takes precedence over anything else is my heart and my inner GPS. So when I talk about other people, I’m pointing to the extreme forms of criticism and nit-picking. The kind that can get you down and off your path.
Hope that clarifies.
I feel that wherever I go, people are criticizing me, laughing at me and pointing out my flaws. It’s gotten to the point where I have lost all confidence in myself and don’t like going out for fear of what new criticism people have waiting for me. What advice would you give?
First thing I would look at is: Are they actually criticizing you, or do you think they are? And even if they criticize you, you have to assign meaning to it. Check out this video on how our minds work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsQ2wWHGY1o
Thanks for that info Henri. I watched the video. My experience has been that people don’t always criticize me directly, but they criticize others in front of me and the defect that’s being criticized by them is often a flaw that I also share. To me, this feels like they are being passive aggressive with me- they are trying to show me my defects by pointing them out in others. I know I have many flaws and a lot to learn, but I can’t tell you how painful it is to have them constantly pointed out to me. I know that people say that you have to let other people’s criticism roll off you like water off a duck’s back but I don’t know how to do that. If it were only a few people (whom I wasn’t close to) criticizing me, that might seem possible but it feels like I find criticism and ridicule everywhere I go.
I was planning to start a business with my siblings but fear of failing was getting in my way and reading this post brings me back on track. It’s such an inspiration and it’s much appreciated. Salamat!
Great article Henri, and so very true! Thank you so much for sharing!
Excellent, thought-provoking advice. Thank you.
Always so perfectly put 🙂