The darkness of the early morning steals my vision as I twist and turn, finally stretching to reach my phone. A prod and swish from my finger bring the sleep tracking app to an end — and with it — my alarm call.
It’s time to tackle the day.
I’m distracted, as the glare from the screen pulls my attention to the hours of sleep I’ve had. But quickly, my mind snaps back to getting up. For this morning, like the past ten days, I have some wins to achieve.
A yawn precedes a stretch. As I recoil from extending my arms, feeling returns to my pillow crushed fingers. My mind is already elsewhere, doubt beginning to take hold again. Tension starts to spread as I question what I’m doing.
A different thought appears, bringing my mind back to the task ahead. Forget the big picture for once, I tell myself. It’s one task — one outcome you’re after.
To be better today than yesterday.
I’m Not Good Enough
I have a mindset which is holding me back, or should I say I did have. It stems from guilt, shame and failure, as well as all the mistakes I’ve made in the past. The pity I feel for myself. The enduring assurance I’m left with — that I’m not good enough.
The feeling that I’m not good enough has propagated within me, most notably in recent times. All created by my misjudgements. It has gotten to the point where I’m afraid to put myself out there. If I don’t expose myself to the opportunity, then I can’t fuck it up.
I fear failure and that fear is limiting my future.
The deep voice, constantly nudging me, poking me and teasing me — all with the same limiting belief — I’m not good enough. And so I avoid prospects. I withhold myself and chances pass me by.
I try to run from the bully. Writing is my way to escape and break free. Even this isn’t easy, though. My analytical mind always measuring, benchmarking and assessing the statistics that writing online brings. The voice is always quick to pass judgement on every perceived sign of failure.
It’s hard to escape the prevailing sense of disillusionment which stirs inside me.
Enough Was Enough
Over the last year or so I’ve started to push back. I’d had enough of this adverse outlook and its impact on me. I didn’t want to live with like this. The thought of spending my lasting days dwelling a pit of torment wasn’t the life I wanted to live.
Goals were set and new behaviours introduced — all to break the hold this mentality had on me. And still, I failed, my battle to be consistent preventing me from making the progress away from this debilitating belief locked inside my head.
I came to understand that this conviction of believing I wasn’t good enough was tied to the outcomes I’d experienced. No matter what I tried, I couldn’t forget what I’d done.
If I was going to break this mindset, I needed a new set of outcomes which needed to be positive ones.
One Goal: To Be Better Today than Yesterday
I came across this solution whilst reading. Reading still offers me a route to learn and a means to escape. This latest book was indeed a great escape, as the author shared his near-death ascent and descent of Everest.
The story is harrowing as you might expect, but the life lessons from the author were far more profound for me. Anthony Middleton describes how his time in the special forces and, more recently, his climb, had helped him manage fear. His method? Quite simply to break the fear into a bubble and focus on crushing the bubble.
Within the book, Anthony also describes the issue faced by people who believe they’re not good enough. Battling a mindset like this isn’t easy and is different from facing your fears.
Anthony’s process was to break each day into a series of challenges. Each challenge a repeat of what you’d done the day before. The sole focus — to do it better today than yesterday.
This approach is designed to give you a victory. Doing this day after day leads towards a new way of thinking — one where you become a winner. This vigorous experience forces a new belief upon you, one where you can see that you are good enough.
My Battle to be Better than Yesterday
This was now my fight. I had to take on challenges every day. Experiences which would push me, move me and get me this new mindset. My actions were the way forward, and they had to change.
I needed simplicity to make progress. I was an expert in complicating my habits by trying to do too much. The opposite would now apply, as I strived to change my attitude.
My first challenge was to repeat what I’d done the previous day. So, I started with twenty-five press-ups. It was a simple exercise; one I could do first thing in the bathroom.
My challenge the following day was to repeat those twenty-five press-ups. And I did, and again the following day. Just the simple practice of doing those press-ups offered me a different emotion. I felt positive — successful even — a feeling quite alien to me.
After repeating this habit for more than a week, I looked to add another one. Again, nothing complicated, all I wanted was to give myself some repeatable habits that would help me grow.
Other challenges presented themselves. These included tasks like getting the housework done quicker and walking to the shops in a faster time. This progressed onto running, a task I enjoyed but stopped doing due to injury. I started trying to run 5km, no easy task for someone my size. Each time I went out was a victory for me.
Maybe I am Good Enough
Bit by bit I feel like my mindset is slowly changing. It’s still there, that nagging feeling I’m not good enough. But with each passing challenge, I get a little lift, a new high as I strive to better today than yesterday.
I know this won’t be fixed overnight.
It will take some time before I will find the peace and positivity I used to have. The confidence, the guts to go and do it and win. I know it’s what I’m missing. Deep down I know It’s a sensation I hanker for. Each challenge gives me the vibe and I’ll be honest — I want more.
In time my self-esteem, which has been so badly dented I hope will return. The feeling of not being good enough. I dream it will become a distant memory — like my childhood.
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