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You're supposed to feel you might not be enough

I had the privilege the other day of speaking to a young man who is rapidly progressing through the ranks of his sport to perform and succeed at an international level. We had a conversation about pressure, and the weight he felt of expectations for him to be perfect, infallible - the incarnation of success in his institution.

He said something that struck me and brought up something I often forget. He was experiencing self-doubt - thoughts and feelings that questioned whether he was really made for this.

Many of us, when we are striving for something meaningful and difficult, experience self-doubt. We’re not sure we’re going to be good enough for this. We wonder whether we’re normal, as we watch other’s outwardly confidence. We feel like we’re going to be found out. We question whether we have what it takes.

It was so refreshing to have a candid conversation like that. It reminded me that these types of thoughts and feelings are far from symptoms of weakness or incompetence. Rather they are the byproduct of pushing the edge of our capacity. They are the cognitive and emotional metabolites of our efforts to test ourselves. They are to be welcomed, not feared.

Matilda MayneComment