“Hey Ollin, I want to be a writer, but I worry that I’m not good enough to be writer. Am I good enough?”
“Hey Ollin, I have this great idea for a novel, but I worry that I’m not good enough to bring this story to life. Am I good enough?”
“Hey Ollin, I have this manuscript I’ve been working on for a long time, and I know I tried my best to make it work, and that’s all I could hope for, but I still worry that I’m not good enough–and this is preventing me from sharing my manuscript with others for feedback. Am I good enough?”
“Hey Ollin, I’m ready to publish my novel, I’ve done everything in my capacity to make it the best novel it could ever be, and that’s all I could hope for, but I still worry that I’m not good enough to get this book finally published. Am I good enough?”
Before I answer that question, let me ask you first:
When you ask me “Am I good enough?” do you mean “good” as in “intrinsically worthy”?
“No, Ollin, I don’t mean that. I mean: do I have the chops? Can I pull this thing off? Am I capable? Do I have the ability?”
Okay, I see. Look:
Anyone has “the chops” to do anything. Anyone is capable and has the ability to do anything. Now, if you don’t have the ability you can acquire the ability. If you don’t have the skill you can acquire the skill. If you don’t have the experience you can practice over a long period of time and gain that experience.
Yes, some people may be incapable of certain things because of the adversity they were born into, or because they were forced into a difficult position in life due to no fault of their own. But being born into adversity or experiencing adversity is not in your control. That is out of your control. So whatever is out of your control is something you must simply accept and work with.
But you are not asking me whether you can overcome adversity, you are asking me whether or not you are good enough.
And if you want to know whether or not you can acquire the ability to be good enough, then, yes, of course you can acquire that ability. Everyone can.
But here’s the thing: I’m not sure if you are being totally honest with me here. Because I suspect that everything I just said doesn’t make you feel any better, and doesn’t really answer your question. This is because, I suspect, you already knew everything I just told you.
You’re not stupid.
You know what it takes to be “good” at something. (Good as in: “experienced,” “skillful,” and “able.”) You have been told over and over again ever since you were a kid: “If you want to succeed work really hard over a long period of time, focus, have a vision, study, practice, practice, practice, never give up, and your dreams are likely to come true.”
You see, the “secret formula” to success is, in the end, no big secret: it’s a formula that has been taught to you ever since you could understand the words that were coming out of your parents’ mouths.
So, if you already know what to do in order to be good enough, then why are you still asking me your question?
I suspect that it’s because you are not looking for a “success formula” that would require you to do something. You are looking for a success formula that would require you to be something.
Examining The Real Meaning Behind The Question: “Am I Good Enough?”
When you ask me “Am I good enough?” it appears, at first, like you’re asking me a question about ability and skill, but I strongly suspect that you’re really asking me a question about intrinsic self-worth
Here’s why I think I’m right about the real meaning behind your question:
You already know what to do in order to be good enough. (If you don’t, you must have missed every single motivational speaker that every came to your High School afternoon assembly.) You already know the not-so-secret-formula to success: have a vision, work very hard, study, practice, focus, and never give up. This success formula is available to everyone, and will always be available to everyone no matter who you are or whatever background you have.
So, if you already know what to do in order to be good enough, then why are you still asking me: “Am I good enough?”
It think it’s because you want me to tell you who to be in order to be good enough.
You see, you know what to do already, but you’re just not sure that you can do it.
Let me say that again with slightly different wording: you know that certain things can be done, you just don’t know if YOU can do them. Other people can accomplish things, but the PERTINENT question is can YOU accomplish them? Your question doesn’t have to do with whether or not a task can be accomplished, or whether or not a certain skill can be acquired, it has to do with whether or not your very nature will allow you to accomplish such a task–or master such a skill.
The question is: are YOU good enough?
Not whether or not the work is good enough.
Are YOU good enough?
Not whether or not your experience, your level of skill, or your level of maturity is good enough.
Are YOU good enough?
Not whether or not your idea, your manuscript, or your marketing strategy is good enough.
Are YOU good enough?
Are you, at your very core, good enough?
Fundamentally, intrinsically, at the base level, you are asking me:
“Am I good enough?”
And here is my answer to you:
You Are Good Enough
You are good enough. You are good enough. You are good enough.
If you weren’t, you would not be here. You would not have the urge to write your story. You would not have the urge to follow your passion, you would not struggle so hard to follow your dreams (you wouldn’t struggle at all, because you would have no dreams).
You are good enough because no one in this whole wide world can pull off what you are about to pull off. No one.
You are good enough because every advertisement, every TV show, every movie, every book that featured people who seemed far superior to you was not real. Those people in those fictional worlds were all fake. Those people didn’t exist. They never did and they never will. They were engineered, fabricated, and manufactured to be “good enough.”
But you, on the other hand, are not fake. You are real. You were not “engineered,” “fabricated,” or “manufactured,” you were born.
You were born to be good enough.
You are organic, not plastic. You are four-dimensional, not two-dimensional.
It breaks my heart to think that you could ever question your own majesty. It breaks my heart to think that, somehow, you think you were born flawed, dysfunctional, or with some “essential parts missing.”
You are good enough just as you are. If you weren’t, then why would you be here? Why would you exist? Just so you could spend eternity worrying about how inadequate you are?
No, that’s nonsense.
I won’t accept that from you, because somewhere deep inside you know that isn’t true.
You know that there is no one else in this world you can be, but you. So who else would you need to be in order to be good enough? But you?
Today’s Courage Exercise
Repeat this mantra to yourself all throughout your day:
“I am good enough.”
Or you can also try:
“I was born to be good enough.”
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