Why self-doubt is a communications crisis for leaders

Matthew Celestial

When I was eighteen, I was confident I had found the love of my life. It resulted in a compilation of heartbreaks that would soon enough consume my entire university career — and eventually led to my own aftermath as the cold-hearted, career-obsessed, think-skinned and no non-sense beast that I was once known to be.

Similar to the F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, I took a step back and attempted to create my own perfect world and reached for that green light that was seemingly too far away. Maybe, I was doing it for the wrong reasons and people? And maybe, I’m still doing it for that one person? Admittedly, everything I’ve done basically stemmed from that heartbreak — that feeling — that idea: “Matt, you’re just not good enough.”

What is good enough? Or can you at least tell me what I need to do to be good enough? Or what can I do to change myself to be great? Do I need to study philosophy so I can be as intelligent as you? Should I skip breakfast today and get that body you suggested I aim for? I’ll work three internships while I take a sixth course. Would I then be smart enough? You wanted me to be more assertive, right? So I cut half of my entire friends list and openly bitched at a colleague in front of my boss. Am I good enough yet? He never answered my questions.

I thought about it — those six words. And then I kept asking, when will I be good enough?

But we are all living in this complex system on a pale blue dot — in the grand scheme, of potentially nothingness. And yet, here I am admitting to the entire world that the hard work that I’ve put the past few years was based off of some guy telling me that I wasn’t good enough to be in a relationship with him — that my worth was marginally nothing in comparison to his caliber. And that because I was slightly clueless about my own direction, it defined the rest of my life. That’s why I couldn’t be with him.

And perhaps, for a couple of months, it plagued me. These thoughts crawled into my head. Even after taking a leadership role that involved managing an entire department for a successful organization, I still believed his words. If this happened to me, think about the hundreds of young, racialized queer individuals who experience this on a daily basis — preventing them to step up and take a leadership role. Think about that.

The power of words can be a terrifying thought. One of my political science professors used to always say that our words are our greatest weapons in warfare. The United States of America can make a triggering comment about North Korea in mass media — and in any moment, that could start conflict — a world war.

Words are strategic — but they could also be used for our benefit. Positive words are a strategic tool to reference our potential. The motivation in these words reflect success as individuals identify solutions we need, collaboratively. They create mindful leadership conditions. And mindful leadership conditions often translate to successful working conditions — resulting in achieving our key goals.

The reality is that our hearts are going to broken across all aspects of life, especially in modern corporate environments. We’re going to be put into spaces of doubt and self-destruction because so many of these environments are often filled with negative words and thoughts. One by one, we need to construct positive beliefs about ourselves. We need to grow ourselves through the right words.

One of my former staff recently asked me why I had so much belief in him when he knew nothing. He was extremely anxious, sensitive, and a terrified to do things wrong. I consistently reminded him of his potential despite fact the steep learning curve. In light of a crisis, he was and is capable of overcoming all the challenges we went through as a team.

We just need to continue to fight those negative mouths one by one. And through it all, I am trying to be myself. I am going to be myself. I am myself. I am great. And so are you.


Matthew Celestial is a writer on personal leadership and development during corporate change with a focus in the entertainment industry. He handled home entertainment and theatrical film release marketing for Paramount Pictures Canada, the Toronto Animation Arts Festival International, SHOUT! Factory, CBC, NBC’s Chiller, FOX, and currently, ToonBox Entertainment. Matthew Celestial earned his degree at the University of Toronto.

For more information, Matthew Celestial can be contacted at: matthew@celestialpublicity.com

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