Work and The World

3 Things you can ask yourself instead of Am I Good Enough?

Am I Good Enough – a Rubbish Question to ask yourself

Am I good enough?  A question I have asked myself at many stages of my career, my schooling and often when I have set out to achieve something.  Have you ever asked yourself if you are good enough?

Seriously though, am I good enough?

I have written about the need to ask permission here.  Along with my need to seek permission to do things came my need to ask myself if I will be good enough in the first place.  In my 20’s I was in a job that required that I meet with my career manager on an annual basis.  This meeting was all about career planning and career advice.  It was an opportunity to discuss my career ambition and to receive feedback on my performance as compared to the rest of my colleagues.  We would discuss next steps and the type of roles I would like to do into my future.

Routinely I would prepare by comparing myself to other colleagues, consider the types of roles that they will be seeking to end up in and ask myself am I good enough?  I would then self-determine my suitability and by the time I got to my career planning meeting would constrain my requests to only what I considered myself good enough for.  A self-defeating start to a conversation which no doubt resulted in loss of opportunity.

Then I got a bit wiser

Somewhere between getting a bit older and a few career disappointments I realised that asking myself if I was good enough before attempting the undertaking was ridiculous.  I realised that my asking if I was good enough was a comparative exercise and as Teddy Roosevelt said:


comparison quote - 3 Things you can ask yourself instead of Am I Good Enough?


There are so many studies, articles, references to the dangers of comparison.  I have included a few here, here and here.  Take a look for yourself, it’s not great for your self-esteem or your soul.  So, I got a bit wiser and stopped asking if I was good enough and started asking the following:

What to ask yourself instead of Am I Good Enough?
Can I do this thing – do I have the energy, skills and experience, am I willing to give it a go?

Let me be clear, this is not a comparison of yourself to others.  It’s a critical look at the skills qualities you have relevant to your proposed undertaking.  I have neither the body shape or the rhythm to become a professional ballerina.  Nor do I have the energy that it takes to achieve that kind of athleticism.  So, it is fair that by that assessment, my plan to take the ballet world by storm is a little farfetched.

On the other hand, I do have a great deal of energy and experience shopping. So, it is not a stretch to try my hand as a personal shopping consultant.  I would be willing to give it a go and I can do it.

Is it in my best interest, what do I want to be doing?

It is really easy to get caught in the hamster wheel of ambition for ambitions sake.  Equally it is easy to look at someone else’s circumstances, attributes or assets and want them for yourself.  If you are in the habit of asking am I good enough by comparing yourself to others then it is easy to get caught in someone else’s ambition.

Just because a friend of mine looks fantastic in skinny jeans does not mean that we should all rush out and garb ourselves in them.  It is not in my interest (or anyone else’s frankly) to wear skinny jeans and they are uncomfortable so, why would I?

When it comes to career questions, you have to customise your path to your own goals, preferences and desires.  Ask yourself if it is in your best interest; after all, who else will?

Will I be OK if I fail?

Failure is an inevitable part of life.  I would argue that the greatest lessons come from failures in our professional and personal life.  It could also be argued that to do something great, you have to be prepared to fail.  The greatest athletes, entrepreneurs even famous actors have all suffered setbacks.   They were able to fail and get back up, try again and achieve mastery.

I don’t know if you are trying to be world class, or just trying to make enough to pay the bills, but if you are going to try something new, you need to be ok with the prospect of failure.  If the consequences of failure are too big, then maybe your planned undertaking is not right for you.

Stop asking if you are good enough.

Asking if you are good enough is just an exercise in comparison, which brings no joy, and quite possibly holds you back. Try instead analysing what you can do, what you want and what the consequences are if you don’t make it.  Then go for it!


Do you tell ask yourself if you are good enough?  Tell me about it below….

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