Are You Good Enough Or Nah?
“I might be too strung out on compliments/Overdose on confidence/Started not to give a fuck and started bearing the consequence” – Drake (Headlines)
It’s either I suffer from a serious case of self-confidence or I probably overdosed on all the positive affirmations my mother showered on me as a child or being forced to thrive in environments where just being good was never enough (you had to be great) did a number on me.
I regularly see people talk about impostor syndrome and I understand.
The hardest thing is standing in front of a group of people to defend yourself or your work.
There’s a long history of technically adept creatives who have had to employ the services of sales and marketing experts just to help them communicate.
This is not to say that communication experts haven’t earned their merit. Or public relations and talking to people is a walk in the park. Far from it!
But too many people are unable to communicate, not because they don’t know what to say (they always they claim they don’t), but because they are insecure.
They are too wrapped up in themselves and the probability of failure and so they’d rather swallow whatever it is they have on their minds than spew it so others can judge.
Many absolutely qualified people get into a room and are scared to death to defend themselves.
I remember getting a call in 2019 to teach Spanish. It was a recommendation by a bosom friend to an acquaintance.
The only Spanish I knew was off Duolingo, Google Translate and checking random words on the Internet. Even the strength of his recommendation was based on seeing me practice it leisurely during our final years in university.
I was stuttering and sounded so unsure of myself while talking to the lady who needed my services. Until she asked me, “can you really do it?”
I knew it was now or never and I had to catch myself and reply in my most confident and reassuring voice: Yes, of course!
But I didn’t think I was great. I actually said yes for two reasons:
1. I knew I was good. Maybe not good enough. But if someone thought I was good enough to earn their recommendation, then there was room for improvement.
2. I was willing to work hard to not let myself or my friend down. Which means I knew I had to improve.
Above all, when asked for what I’d be charging, I quoted a price that reflected some level of expertise.
Saying that particular yes opened a whole vista of opportunities for me. I wonder what my life would be like today if I hadn’t.
All the amazing people I’ve met on that journey. The amazing experiences too.
Not a very popular quote by any means, but Dr Pfeffer says, “If you are good enough to get in, you obviously have enough talent to do well, regardless.”
Although there’s a very small caveat to the above quote: You have enough talent, yes. And that’s why you got in.
But, talent is never enough.
Which means you’ll be needing more or less of whatever brought you this far to sustain you. That’s where smart decisions, work ethic, collaboration etc, come in.
I tell myself the same thing I tell myself whenever I’m approaching a woman: She’s probably as shy and insecure as you are.
There’s no need to have a Cinderella in glass slippers moment and flee.
Tell yourself this same thing when you stare at opportunities in the face: She (opportunity) is probably as shy and insecure as you are. So, why not?
If for any reason you’ve been invited to any room, then assure yourself you absolutely have every goddamn right to be there. Goddammit!