Always Believe You’re Good Enough.
BY JON WESTENBERG
Everyone in the world is hoping for one thing. That nobody notices they don’t belong. Everyone in the world suffers from imposter syndrome sooner or later. I can guarantee you, no matter what stage you reach in your life, you’ll be desperately asking yourself how your peers are still ignorant to the fact that you don’t know what the fuck you’re doing.
You don’t believe you’re good enough, secretly. That’s what’s really going on here. You don’t believe you have what it takes. You’re an entrepreneur, a founder, a writer, an artist. But you think that you’re the odd one out, with no skills and no chance of getting anywhere.
I know this, because I’ve been there too. And my mentors have been there. When I speak to people who are far more accomplished than you and I, they don’t hesitate to tell me – they’ve been there.
The trick is, when you’re working on becoming something or accomplishing something, there’s no real benchmark. There’s no line that you can measure yourself against.
At no point did the literary community or the tech industry or the local landscape painting sorority get together and agree on a standard by which new entrants would be judged good enough.
You’re going to meet a few people who think that’s the case, sure. But those people don’t matter. Those people are assholes. They don’t think they’re good enough, so they want to beat on you. Trust me, they’re never going to be qualified to say you can or can’t do something..
If You Want To Do Something, Fucking Do It.
If there’s a path that you want to investigate, and perhaps travel down, there’s no point in being shy, hanging back and refusing to take a shot. How is that going to help you? The first steps will be the hardest, but once you get on your way, it’ll slowly get easier.
You’ll learn. You’ll uncover new forks in the road, and you’ll find opportunities to become so much better at it. But you’ve got to start out with whatever raw ability or knowledge or skills you have. They’re your own personal baseline, your own way to judge whether or not you’re progressing.
The people who let themselves stagnate and never take the paths that they dreamed they could, they’re going to end up miserable. They’re going to sit around in a reclining chair and moan about the lives they didn’t live. Don’t be like that.
Always Believe You’re Good Enough.
This should be your mantra. It should be a tiny voice screaming in your ear every day. It should be the motto on your coat of arms. If you always believe that you’re good enough, you will have the chance to capture the essence of what makes you and your work unique. You won’t be copying other people until you erase your own voice – which is what happens when you constantly try to measure yourself against someone else’s baseline.
If you always believe that you’re good enough to run a company or write a book, or do anything else, you won’t apologise for it. You’ll be able to stand next to your work and tell every passer-by that you did it. You alone. And you’re proud of it, no matter the flaws or failings.
If you always believe you’re good enough, you won’t fear the gatekeeper. You won’t hide your work away and refuse to show it to an editor. You won’t be too scared to show it to other people in your industry or vertical. In fact, you could even have the guts to bypass the gatekeeper completely and go it on your own.
If you always believe you’re good enough, you’ll have a level of security that will let you ask for help. Ask for advice. Ask for assistance. You can go up to anyone who has the ability to teach you something about what you want to do. After all, you’re good enough to be in the same field as them. What do you have to be afraid of?
I’ve met people who never believe they’re good enough. They depress me. It’s a constant back and forth, where they search for someone who will tacitly endorse their refusal to try, while reassuring them that they could do anything if they wanted to.
The first time I started a business, I was 18. And I didn’t know shit, but I truly believed I was good enough to do it. Sure enough, it bombed.
Actually, come to think of it – the same thing happened the second time. And the third. But I’ve never stopped thinking I’m good enough to try, and because of that, I’ve never stopped learning from my mistakes, project by project and day by day.
I tell every entrepreneur that I advise the same thing. I tell them to always believe they’re good enough, because the alternative will prevent them from ever accomplishing anything. And that, to me, is a life wasted.
Thanks for reading — I’m Jon Westenberg. I’m an entrepreneur, writer and avid learner. I advise start-ups and investors on how to build profitable companies and operate with a small business start-up mentality. You can read more about me on my website…
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