WOW! She is great! I could never be as good as her!
I was watching this amazing video from a musician named Amanda Palmer on the art of asking. It's embedded at the end of this post and I really recommend that you watch it. I was so inspired. It's a TED talk, and one of the best videos/speeches I have ever watched. I was spellbound. My first thought after watching it was WOW! She is incredible. My second thought was Crap! I can never be that great.
Why do I do that? Why do I see the greatness in another speaker and immediately beat myself up for not being great?
Keynote Speaker Feels Inadequate
I was recently in a phone meeting with a group of brave and successful women (the cast of 8 Women Dream, a family of women I have recently joined and quickly come to love.) I was the newest to the group, and quickly voiced my fears of inadequacy. I felt like they were awesome and I was the one who couldn't keep up. And I was afraid that every move I made would call me out as the one who didn't belong. So I did what I usually do when I have these feelings – I voiced them. Crazy, I know. But it makes me feel better to acknowledge out loud that I am intimidated by the awesomeness of others. Apparently I opened the door for them too, to tell me how inadequate they felt. Here was a group of women who had done tremendous things in their own right, and each one felt like the outcast. So I have a feeling there are many women out there who are looking around, thinking everyone else is great and they suck.
So what about you? Do you think that everybody else has their act together, and you're the mess?
News flash: Those people who seem like they have it all together – don't. Show me the best dressed, thinnest, most confident woman you see, and I would bet we could ask her if she feels inadequate and she would say yes. I know, because I've asked that woman. Sure there are some things we have done that you haven't, just as there as things you have done that I haven't. But we don't have it all together. I may look great on paper – but behind the scenes I'm making mistakes at the speed of light. There are more days when I don't know what I'm doing than not. There are moments when I'm sure I know my dream, and then moments where it gets cloudy and I wonder if there was supposed to be another one down that other road. For every confident step you see me take, are hours spent in my house wondering if I have what it takes. So these feelings are normal, most often wrong, and not very good for us.
If We Think We are Inadequate, So Will They
The way we perceive ourselves directly affects the way others perceive us. If I think I'm stupid, I sit in meetings and don't voice my ideas. I don't volunteer for projects because I think someone will do it better. I sit around smart people and stare at my plate, afraid that they will see how stupid I am. And guess what – I'm pretty sure I'm projecting stupidity. Or at the very least hiding brilliance. And so I've started taking a deep breath, and despite my fear, speaking out loud – even if I feel stupid. And, believe it or not, the earth doesn't flip upside down like I think it will. The group of people at my table don't jump up, point at me, and yell "You're stupid! Shut up!"
The Key To Feeling Adequate is Acting Adequate
I've learned that you have to act it before you feel it. So I've decided to act smart, and act adequate, hoping that one day I will feel it. How about you?
I'm going to watch this video again. And this time, I am going to appreciate Amanda for the greatness in her. And instead of comparing myself to that – I'm going to turn around and find the greatness in me. Even if I don't feel it.