How To Stop Thinking I Am Not Good Enough

I Am Not Good Enough. I Am Not Intelligent Enough. I Am Not Capable Enough.

And More Negative Thoughts

I Am Not Knowledgeable Enough. I Am Not Experienced Enough. I Am Just Not Good Enough.

Whatever it is you frequently tell yourself, know that you are not alone in this. This is the most common limiting, self-punishing belief clients present to me on a daily basis, and no coincidence, it has been the biggest one for me too, the one that has previously held me back in life – from all sorts of leadership opportunities.

Sometimes we all are really horrible to ourselves and relentlessly compare ourselves to other people, no matter how many times we may hear about how good enough or lovable we are. There is generally a lot of pressure to “stack up” in our culture.

We feel as if there is something wrong with us if, for example, we’re still single by a certain age, don’t make a certain amount of income, don’t have a large social circle, or don’t look and act a certain way in the presence of others. The list could truly go on forever.

Social comparison and unrealistic expectations may lead you to perceive yourself as falling short of societal standards or the accomplishments of others – that constant exposure to others’ achievements and lifestyles, as well as the impact of social media, can contribute to unfavourable self-comparisons – not to mention the promotion of unrealistic expectations in areas such as success, beauty, intelligence, happiness (pretty much every area of one’s life!) by society can make individuals feel inadequate if they don’t measure up.

Furthermore, childhood experiences and internalised criticism play significant roles in shaping these so-called feelings of inadequacy; negative feedback, criticism or neglect during early developmental stages can deeply impact one’s self-esteem. So, too, traumatic events or a lack of emotional support may contribute to negative self-perceptions that persist into adulthood. The repetitive negative criticism from others may be internalised, leading to a critical inner voice that reinforces the belief of not being good enough.

As a result, this manifests as over-achievement and an attempt to prove that you are worthy or accomplished, causing you to constantly make comparisons. It can also lead to perfectionism, procrastination, avoidance or an inability to complete tasks or projects.

So what can you, as an aspiring leader, do about this? How do you stop thinking I am not good enough? There may be some specific work for you to do on this, but for starters here are three actionable tips to get you started…

Tip 1 – Stop Comparing Yourself

Now, because of Social Media, this is becoming an increasingly important one to get a handle on. When you compare yourself with someone who you see as being better than you (well, the glossy social image that is) – you are instantly, as well as on a long-term basis, going to feel bad about yourself for falling short. Because compared to them and their perceived life, you know the warts-and-all truth of your own.

This is why so many people have campaigned against the use of stick-thin models in magazines – it is officially bad for your health to look at those women – a report by the British Medical Association claimed that the promotion of such models was creating a distorted body image that young women tried to imitate. It suggested that the media can trigger and perpetuate the disease.

I know I consciously made a decision years ago to stop buying high-end fashion magazines because of this. And this definitely relates to all aspects of life – not just body image. But know that those people who you hold up as having the perfect family, relationship, body, home, business, life!, know that they are also doing the same – and however much they seem to have it all handled, and have it all – they do not – they are just human like you.

So try dialling down the judgement and dialling up the compassion and understanding – as I can absolutely assure you that they are dealing with their own fears doubts and insecurities – just like you (even though theirs may be of a different kind).

Tip 2 – Focus On Progress V Perfection

One of the other biggest causes of self-loathing is the need to do everything perfectly or 100% right. When we fall short of this 100%, 10/10 version, which we inevitably will, we obviously feel pretty worthless. Also, add in the amount of extra stress, anxiety and depression and workload this can create in your life – and the cost of that.

The irony is that this need for ‘perfection’ comes from an inherent feeling of not being good enough, but rather than making you feel better, will actually make you feel worse about yourself, and so round and round you go, trying fruitlessly to prove something – that is not provable.

So instead of beating yourself up for not getting to that high bar, every single day, maybe dial down to an 8/10 and see how that is, or if you’re feeling really brave try a 6/10 version. And radically, give yourself a pat on the back for trying, for making progress and coming as far as you actually have.

And Notice… What Actually Happened When You Went For The Lower Score? What Was The Consequence?

Tip 3 – Be Kind To Yourself

Now, this is the one that will change everything. Self Compassion is said to be the key to true happiness and peace. Because, surprise surprise, telling yourself what a failure you are won’t make you any more successful, and you simply don’t deserve that.

Telling yourself how worthless you are will not help you feel any more worthy. Again, as a self-confessed harshest-judge-on-myself, I know from long bitter experience that this takes time and patience – and you can absolutely create a new way of thinking – by repeatedly telling yourself “ I am doing well” “ I am doing my best” “I am good enough”.

Another great way to develop self-compassion, when you catch yourself beating yourself up, is to ask yourself:

“What would I say to a dear friend who had just told me this?”


“What’s the kindest thing I could say to myself here?”

And then maybe (if relevant),

“What’s the kindest thing I can do for myself in this?”

Telling yourself how worthless you are will not help you feel any more worthy. Again, as a self-confessed harshest-judge-on-myself, I know from long bitter experience that this takes time and patience – and you can absolutely create a new way of thinking – by repeatedly telling yourself “ I am doing well” “ I am doing my best” “I am good enough”.

And as with any new habit, it will feel weird at first, but the more you do it the easier it becomes – and you will start actually feeling “good enough”. Because you are. We all are.

So Pick Just One Of These Tips To Start With, The Key Being To Have A Reminder Of Doing This (A Quote On Your Phone Or A Set Daily Reminder/Alert Are All Great), And Doing It Consistently.

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Additionally, to help you on your path to leadership excellence, I offer EQ leadership development programmes, skills masterclasses and leadership coaching.

These EQ Leadership offerings are born out of a passion for emotional intelligence, neuroscience and mindfulness and the positive impact they have on people, business and the world at large.

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“Sue is an outstanding coach. She really listens very carefully and understands immediately what you need to do, then she gets straight to the point with practical tools and solutions.” (Rodolphe Plouvier, Senior Management at Generali, France)

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