In 1990, at age 11, I sold 106 items in a school fundraiser to win a Super Nintendo.
In 1998, at age 17, I joined the Army, at 19, I had been promoted 4 times and by 21 I became one of the youngest in the entire United States Army to be promoted to the rank of E6, Staff Sergeant. Less than four years later, I became one of the youngest drill sergeants in the Army and innovated training methods that one prestigious awards.
Between the ages of 18-27, I ran nine 26.2 mile marathons.
In 2004, I completed a bachelors degree in business and in 2013 I graduate with an MBA.
In 2008, at age 27, I made over a $100,000.
In 2011, I married my best friend and soul mate in a beautiful wedding in Mexico and we bought a beautiful home.
In 2012, I successfully launched my own full time coaching business and have successfully operated for three years.
You might say I have achieved an incredible amount in my life so far, and yet, after all those achievements the pervasive feeling in my life is this:
I AM NOT ENOUGH.
I could point to every single one of those accomplishments and give you ten reasons why it wasn’t good enough and how I could have done better. I bet you could do the same for yourself.
The toxic and persistent thoughts in my head tell me if I just achieve that next thing, make a little bit more money, do a little bit better, then finally I will be enough.
When I'm enough, I'll be able to relax and enjoy myself.
The only problem of course is that each time I achieve enough in a day or accomplish the next thing, I'm inherently left with the same pervasive feeling:
I AM NOT ENOUGH.
So, if it's not about achieving more, what is it about?
How do you find a sense of peace, calm and satisfaction
It starts with repairing the mistaken belief that our value, our worthiness and our lovability comes from what we do.
That may sound lofty, but I am proof that you can reinvent your relationship to yourself and build a foundation of self-love and respect in order to unlock your own personal joy and contentment.
As four year olds, we didn't obsess over what we did each day, we didn't take a daily accounting of how productive we were in order to determine how we felt about ourselves. We played, we slept, we pooped and we cried. Moment to moment, we didn't question our lovability or our worth and neither did I parents or any other sane human being.
At some point this relationship to ourselves changed, we came to believe that we were fundamentally not good enough and we needed to prove that we were each day by doing enough to earn our value, worthiness or lovability.
You know how this goes on a daily basis. You wake up, start thinking about your day and the things you need to do. You check your email right away and start replying so you can get a quick does of feeling good enough and ahead of the game. You get stressed out when you meet with a client because you want to make sure you did good enough, you try hard before and during and then agonize over what you said or didn't say. You do this at work, you do this with your spouse, you do this with your friends and potential friends.
It's maddening. The best it gets is moments of feeling good usually when you are satisfactorily exhausted and get some good feedback Then you spend the rest of your days chasing that same elusive sense of feeling good.
Your challenge now is to relearn to see yourself the way you see others. The way your four year old self would see you.
Practice loving yourself for who you are not what you do.
It’s an easy concept to say, but certainly much harder to master in my experience.
The most important thing I’ve done for myself and for my business over the last few years it to learn to see myself the way others do. To learn to value myself, my ideas, my insights and my gifts.
The degree to which I can value myself is the degree to which I can make a difference in the world.
Here are three actions you can take to build a better relationship with yourself which I guarantee will impact your ability to achieve your goals and live the life you want.
- Celebrate your successes, small and large. Even if it feels like you are faking it, go and celebrate yourself when you accomplish something. Some ideas: Take yourself to a great dinner. Buy yourself that cool new toy you’ve been dreaming about. Do your touchdown dance in your living room.
- As a daily practice, practice caring for yourself the way you would care for sick child or puppy you were responsible for. Make sure you get adequate food, water, play and rest.
- Write a list of your best accomplishments, one for every year you have been alive. Then, I want you to share that list with the you that was half your current age. For example, if you’re 50 years old, I want you to list out 50 of your best accomplishments and then I want you to share it with the 25 year old version of you. What would that 25 year old say to you about the things you have accomplished? Write this down and post it somewhere you can see on a daily basis. Practice relating to yourself everyday the way this younger self would relate to you.
I consider this principle the absolute key to creating fulfilling careers and relationships. As a direct result of practicing these things, I now lead a life where I get to enjoy my work and trust that I'm enough. I perform better because I'm encouraging and empowering to myself. And, I've found true balance with my work and life, because I'm no longer trying to find my worth and value by over working.