When I was born there were complications with my birth and the doctors told my parents not to expect too much out of me. I must have heard that story a dozen times or more growing up. However, I was lucky and had a teacher who felt that was nonsense and encouraged me, prodded me and motivated me to be more. However, those insecurities, “Don’t expect too much out of him,” have continued to plague me regardless of any successes that I might have experienced. But I have found these five ways that help me deal with that voice in my head that keeps letting me know that I am not good enough.
How to manage your insecurities
Many wait to take count of great successes in their lives. However, none of us will ever get to the great successes without a multitude of smaller successes. Since that doctor had many including myself believing that I was a waste of good oxygen I started school in remedial classes. In first grade I struggled but somehow kept up with my classmates. My teacher cut me no slack and expected great things from me. As the school year progressed I went from the bottom of my remedial classes to the middle of the pack. Now that is not greatness but it was a small success. By the time I was in the third grade I was excelling and the third grade teacher thought I was being held back and wanted me to be in the regular class.
I still have a very vivid memory of my first day in that regular reading class. A few years later I was strong enough academically to be placed on the honor roll going into High School. I still remember getting an academic letter for my letterman’s jacket. It was a series of successes that made that sweet. Ultimately I have become a lifelong learner who has graduated college, has had a military career and is now successful at his civilian job. When the voice starts to tell me that I am a failure I remember the successes along the way. Then I get up and get moving ready to create more successes.
Remember others who have believed in me
I had made a whole series of mistakes at work. My heart was fearful because I was certain that despite several years of great success that soon I would have to find a new job and maybe even a new career. I did everything I could to make sure that I was not visibly shaking when I went in to visit with my boss. There was no doubt in my mind that this meeting would end with me packing up my office and having to let my family be disappointed in me. However, part way through the meeting it became obvious that my boss believed that I was only in a bit of a slump. She believed in my potential and my character.
Not only did I not lose my job that day, I was given resources to train and encourage me. I was given an afternoon off to think things over and begin working on the resources given to me that day. This moment changed the direction of my life. From that moment on I became totally focused on the work that would ultimately get me to my current position as the Executive Director of Gospel Rescue Mission in Muskogee, Oklahoma. Having someone who believed in me at one of my lowest moments was incredible and continues to motivate me. When I hear the voices in my head telling me that I am failing I remember that once there was a boss who believed that I would achieve much for those in poverty. I strive to live up to that belief every day.
Remember failures that I have lived through
As of today none of my failures has killed me. I am sure that some of them could have but I am still breathing and moving around and have life. Failure can make us feel like life is over and that you might as well set your house in order and end it all. But that is never true. Failure is an opportunity to learn. I once led a youth group in such a way that there was no one left at the end of the year. I remember the mistakes that I made then and strive to not repeat them today.
At least once I lost my temper and lost the respect of my peers and others. I learned to seek forgiveness and make things right. Failure is rarely fatal. I have lived through many failures and expect to learn through many more in my life yet to come. When the voice reminds me in the wee hours of the morning of all my failures, I remember the lessons learned.
Remember others who have overcome
Winston Churchill failed as a military commander in World War I. Edison failed countless times in the invention of the light bulb. Abraham Lincoln failed to get elected and was a terrible military commander in Illinois. All of these men and others failed countless times, yet they still somehow ultimately succeeded at life. I am encouraged by them to keep at it and to never quit. I am encouraged to read their stories and what they ultimately pulled off. When the voice is telling me that there is no chance for me to succeed I remember those that went before me who have succeeded after failures.
Remember my dreams
In those moments when I am in a good place emotionally I like to recall my ultimate dream. In that dream I am very old but still very active. I am consistently surrounded by grandchildren at my house that is paid off and is off of the grid. My wife brings me a glass of tea and we sit together on the porch laughing about some silly thing we did when we were young. You see in my ultimate dream there is no recall of the countless failures that it took to get me to where I am at today.
I know that if I accept the insecure thoughts that the voice is feeding me that the ultimate dream will never come true. My destiny will not be fulfilled if I give up now. When I am feeling insecure I remember my dreams.
You were born for greatness yet none feel successful at all times. You will be distracted from time to time by feelings of being insecure and afraid of failure. We cannot allow ourselves to wallow in that place. Breathe in deep, steel yourself and push through the insecurity. Believe in yourself and remember that you are not your failures. You are a force for good in the world.