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Why Do I Never Feel Good Enough?: Awakening the Gifts Within


It has been almost six weeks since we moved from Philadelphia, U.S. to South Korea. Life has changed quite a bit. The biggest change for me is that I am in a deep process of reinventing myself and attempting to venture into a territory that allows me to combine my interest and expertise — education innovation.

As I start down the path on this journey, many fears and doubts have surfaced. Among all, the loudest voice is,

I am not good enough

Particularly on days when I don’t feel confident, this voice dominates my thoughts. Do you ever feel this way, inadequately prepared for the things you need to do? These are some dangerous thoughts that can bring me into a state of perpetual doubt, wrestling between hope and fear. What is it that makes me feel this way? And can I ever feel good enough?

Can I Ever Feel Good Enough?

A few days ago, I read an article by Charlie Gilkey, founder of Creative Productive, titled,

The goal is good enough, not perfection: Good enough and done is better than perfect and pending.

Don’t you just love the title of that article? I also loved a graph in his article, which illustrates the journey from “crap” to “perfect.”

Screenshot from the above article. Link here: https://goo.gl/KC7uqD

Reflecting on my own journey, I sometimes feel that I am stuck between “okay” and “good enough”. This of course is not a productive and healthy state. I want to share with you one thing I learned about being in this state and how I work to regain my self-confidence.

Lesson ONE: External invalidation

When I was a child, I learned that my weakest school subjects would get me the most attention and financial investment from my school and my parents. My parents would spend lots of money finding tutors to help me improve on two school subjects: physics and chemistry. But, maybe, just maybe, these subjects were NOT meant for me. Maybe I wasn’t born to be a physicist or chemist. But, the subjects that I were good at never seemed to get my parents’ or teachers’ attention. Over time, the passion, unfortunately, faded away.

Life is defined by moments like these, rejections and acceptances; failures and successes. Whereas the accomplishments bring us a great sense of satisfaction, that feeling is transient. We tend to focus more on the not-so positives. Maybe this is just a survival response that humans tend to remember negative emotions so much better than positive ones. I guess that’s probably why forgiveness is hard to practice.

Lesson TWO: Internal validation

Recently, I I saw many of my friends sharing “Story Behind KFC” on Facebook. Here is the story:

At age 5 his Father died.
At age 16 he quit school.
At age 17 he had already lost four jobs.
At age 18 he got married. He joined the army and washed out there.
At age 20 his wife left him and took their baby. He became a cook in a small cafe and convinced his wife to return home.
At age 65 he retired.
He felt like a failure & decided to commit suicide. He sat writing his will, but instead, he wrote what he would have accomplished with his life & thought about how good of a cook he was.
So he borrowed $87, fried up some chicken using his recipe, went door to door to sell.
At age 88 Colonel Sanders, founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) Empire was a billionaire.

Have perseverance and believe in yourself. Take baby steps regardless how trivial they seem to be.

Conclusion

It is okay to have moments of doubts and fear, but don’t let them defeat and control you. The driver’s seat should always be reserved for faith and hope. When we are tired and exhausted, doubts and fears can take a turn, but they are only here to remind us to not lose track. I am speaking this to myself. Remember:


Ai Addyson-Zhang is a professor, speaker, live streamer, social media expert, and digital learning consultant. She connects the dots between social media and education. Ai is on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram @AiAddysonZhang. She’s the host of a weekly Facebook live show, Classroom Without Walls — Using Technology to Reimagine Education, on every Wednesday at 5PM, EST.