How Can You Know You’re Good Enough to Take That First Step?

Many of my colleagues are in the midst of change. Some people are looking for new jobs. Some writers are looking for places that will buy their stories. Others are considering consulting. All these people have something in common—they want to take that first step.

Except, many of them stop before they do. Instead of taking that first step, they stay stuck.

These people think they’re not good enough.

Instead of trying and possibly “failing,” they reject themselves—before anyone else can reject them. They don’t apply for that job or submit their stories to magazines. And they don’t start their content marketing, the base of most successful consulting practices.

We are both good enough and not good enough, all at the same time. In some situations, we totally fulfill other people’s expectations or needs. And in other situations? Well, no, we aren’t good enough.

But if we never take that first step, we can’t know if we are—or are not—good enough.

That means we need emotional resilience to take that first step.

I’ve written about emotional resilience before. Here are some older posts:

We can build resilience by practicing, with experiments.

But in this post, I want to address that “good enough” feeling.

Context Matters for the “Good Enough” Feeling

Instead of wondering if you’re good enough, or deciding to reject yourself before anyone else can, consider the context. That’s because as long as we practice with feedback, we are both good enough and not good enough.

We are good enough for some situations and not good enough for others.

Job seekers will not land all the possible jobs. Writers do not sell all their wonderful stories or articles to magazines. And consultants definitely do not win all their proposals. Because the context matters in each of these situations.

That’s why you can thrive if you take that first step, even if someone rejects your work.

If you reject yourself first, you doom yourself to living in “what might have been.” If you take that first step—even if someone else rejects you—you take the responsibility for living in “what could be.”

Let me ask another question: does it matter if these other people reject your work? What’s the worst thing that can happen?

We always have alternatives. I can self-publish the short stories I can’t seem to sell. If you’re looking for a job, you might reconsider the parameters of your search so you can find a great job. And as a consultant, I can create different content to attract new potential clients.

That’s all about the context.

If we reject ourselves first, we can never know how good we are.

Instead, do your best job and accept yourself first. Then take that first step (and repeat). Reconsider the context as you proceed.

That’s the question this week: How can you know you’re good enough to take that first step?

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