How To Rid The Thought Of “Never Feeling Good Enough”
During my early years I never felt good enough… I never considered myself attractive after a girl I liked at the age of 10 said she would never date a paki! I always saw myself as an outsider and as someone different to others. I think this was largely in part to being born in an exclusively caucasian area where other kids mocked me over the colour of my skin.
What have you “never felt good enough” about? What was the trigger? Are your feelings and trauma linked to past lives?
Coming from mixed heritage never seemed to do me any favours! Racist incidents stuck clearly in my mind. I had dirt thrown in my face, mimicking accents of an Asian culture or being told in Geography by another child that I came from a place called Niger, somewhere I was not familiar.
These incidents became patterns that reinforced how I felt about myself, cutting deep within as I felt lonely and alone for most of my formative years. My parents did little to aid the situation, moving to a village in Suffolk to my Grandparents house.
The teacher at the local school told my mother that the reason I did not speak English was down to her even though I was born and bred in England. Again it was me who would be punished as I was packed off to boarding school to begin a life where I would have to fight for my own freedom.
What patterns reinforced the way you viewed yourself as a person? What past incidents still affect the way in which you handle situations today?
Boarding school is a place I now refuse to send my own son after the trauma that I endured. Instead of shaping me for the better I felt it closed off my normal extroverted self as I became less expressive and extremely insular as a person. Racist abuse occurred regularly and having been a regular at the local boxing club back home I was often found in front of the Headmaster…
How did you handle situations that made you not feel good enough? What is your number one strategy that you would share with others? How did it make a difference to how you felt internally and externally as a person?
Academically I suffered enormously as whilst my father went to a top school, Imperial College Haileybury, both my parents were from working class backgrounds without a real appreciation for studying. I never saw the relevance and still find it bizarre how at such a young age children knew the career and path they needed to pave in order to make their dream a reality.
Comparing myself to other children who had been in the system far longer I began to feel dumb, thick, and stupid. Rather than applying myself in the right way I reverted back to what that teacher had told my mother. I believed what others thought of me and that transpired to what I thought about myself.
What was my trigger for change?
My frustrations occurred when being put in the non team section with kids who detested physical activity and sport. Actually this was the most painful experience because I loved sport and away from boarding school it was something that I was actively involved in.
Did the teachers just see me as a complete useless idiot with no prospects whatsoever? Did anyone even like me?
So much negatively use to run through my mind back then until a few other boys were unable to play in the house matches due to illness. It was my opportunity to shine. I scored three goals and was mobbed on the pitch by the other players at the end of the football match!
Never had I felt so ecstatic as I did after those 60 minutes. I had actually become someone, people took notice, I even started to have friendships with the so called cool kids. Sport had become my saviour, a hidden sanctuary where my expressive self that had been hidden for so long was able to come out and play before creeping back into its box. Life slowly began to change…
When did you notice your thoughts of “I am not good enough” begin to change? What was your own catalyst for change? How did the steps look when managing a change in perspective?
Finding your own calling is vastly important as I believe that everyone has their own unique talent irrespective of who they are or their background. The fortunate few just stumble across their talent where others moan about life and the stresses that it brings without working deeply on themselves at a personal level.
What work have you done on yourself to initiate a change in thinking? When did you decide to take action? What has had the biggest impact/results for changing the thoughts around “I am not good enough?”
In the beginning I was fortunate, finding something I was good at and vastly enjoyed but that changed in March 2006 when diagnosed with a potentially life threatening heart condition as an aspiring professional rugby player.
Did I regret trying to get back in the game when breaking my tibia, fibula, and rupturing the patella tendon?
Not at all as although it seemed crazy and impossible for others to fathom I still carried huge self-belief that I could still make it. Just crossing over the white line for five minutes was unbelievable as being amongst your teammates and rugby family is inseparable.
Life is all about learning and boy did I learn more in those few years from the injury to my career termination in 2006 than any other time in my life to date.
What were my personal powerful learnings?
Each learning from my own personal experience was laying the foundation for a better future and stripping the self-limiting beliefs that I carried about myself as a person. They would prove instrumental in courageously battling against my negative thoughts and the image I held concerning myself.
My personal transformation was influenced by revealing the following:
a). Academic Resilience – This was a characteristic that I appeared to hold in abundance. I was constantly knocked backwards and told conclusively that I was never ever good enough. Academically, I was not the smartest nor did teachers ever believe in my ability to succeed. Such beliefs transpired to me being of limited focus and motivation.
Failure during important life changing examinations was the end result. Despite such knock backs I tried and tried again until I finally achieved my place at university. I have since achieved undergraduate and postgraduate degrees whilst studying for my doctorate degree investigating the “Psychological implications of career ending trauma when attempting to forge a career in professional sport”.
b). Sporting Resilience – After my knee injury the consultant confessed that full contact sport at the highest level was no longer feasible. I dismissed such news and began my gruelling rehabilitation programme. Three years later I made it back on the field, attending rugby camp and put down a marker for a starting spot in the front row.
The coaching team failed to hold my belief, hiding behind the injury and not wanting to take responsibility should my knee blow out again. Obviously disappointed I set about being the number one player and getting a call up to the first team. Scouted and signed by a Premiership Academy was just reward for the level of resilience shown even when others failed to share the same belief in my own ability.
c). Attitude and Strong work ethic – Developing a “can do” attitude was super important not only in sport but life in general. So many of you have an excuse mindset where the word “can’t” should not be part of a man’s or woman’s vocabulary.
The learning to be had in the trying is astonishing. Things you never thought about in relation to oneself rise to the surface with greater clarity. These are parts of life that require zero talent and is more a question of mindset than ability.
The hardest part is knowing what inspires, drives, and pushes you to your limits in a way that motivates and focuses your energy. I personally loved training, competing, and overcoming the challenges to better myself and grow as both an athlete and person whether it be sunshine, rain, snow, or wind.
d). Perseverance – Possibly the biggest learning of all was knowing that despite mistakes and setbacks you will eventually succeed. Self-reflection is one of our biggest gifts.
It allows as to go back over the fine details dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s to skyrocket our futures instead of plummeting in the opposite direction. There were many times I crashed and burned but instead of rolling over and being defeated I got back up, learnt from what had happened, and put one foot back in front of the other to build momentum. You all have the ability if you want something badly enough…
e). Mindset – Feeling the way I did about myself was all down to attaching to the negative energy that had been thrown my way. Comparing myself to others made me feel inadequate as everyone always had more than I did whether it be qualifications, ability, knowledge or some other random self assessment.
What I know now is that your mind is changeable. What you put in is what you get out inclusive of our thoughts. Our thoughts influence our feelings/emotions and therefore our subsequent behaviour. When we change the thoughts, we change how we feel, and in turn our behavioural reactions are far more positive.
It is true that our thoughts can directly influence our behaviours and therefore our behaviours effect our feelings. Once recognising the pattern of your thoughts if puts you in the driving seat of how you chose to live your life day to day.
I could have attached to the negative messages that were triggered from previous childhood scenarios and fuelled the fire rather than dampening the flames. Your mind can be influenced in many ways through actioning ancient philosophies, psychological techniques inclusive of imagery, affirmations, and value driven behaviour, and/or spirituality that involves quietening the mind through meditation, mindfulness, and energy based work.
“Your mind is your greatest gift but also your most powerful enemy”
f). Reflective Practice – Knowing thyself is sound advice. It is the one thing that ties everything together. Knowing when and how you react puts you in a strong position to control your emotions. Certain situations drove me into deep depression and took days before I could resurface and breath again.
Self-reflection allows a pattern to emerge, recognising triggers that drain your energy, and allows you the opportunity to create strategies to cope more effectively with the problem at hand.
Rather than letting those feelings of not feeling good enough rise to the surface and capture my being I have learnt to create distance between the power of irrational thoughts. When the blood accelerates towards the limbic system I now take deep meaningful breaths or thank my mind for acknowledging such thoughts and letting them pass on through my mind like cars in the night.
g). Positive Affirmations – Muhammed Ali, the greatest boxer of all time swore by this simple but effective technique. Ali was not the most talented fighter, far from it, but his immense level of self-belief in himself was powerful. When you use positive affirmations, like anything else it needs to be routine but you need to believe in the words that you say for them to be high energy and transformational.
We can train our minds to change the pattern of our thoughts and how we see ourselves. Daily rituals supercharged by positive affirmations can make that first step out of bed an explosive one.
“Train your mind and your body will follow”
How have my experiences transformed my life in business today?
Starting out in business was a daunting task having not really had much entrepreneurial experience. I decided to cut ties with my High Performance Consultancy and focus on building the incredible community of people with life-changing physical trauma or health conditions on a full time basis.
Would you cut a successful business with a secure income that paid the bills if you had not learnt about yourself and your character through the power of self-reflection?
No chance… I knew that I had the character to take the knocks, make the mistakes, and continue to learn, action, and move forward whilst doing deep work on myself at a personal level.
Yes, those thoughts, comparisons with others, and not feeling good enough surface from time to time but the greatest change of all is that I no longer attach myself to such negative energy. Instead I see it for what it is, my own insecurities that are locked within my own head and preventing me from moving forward, if I let them…
My outlook on life and business has changed so much over the years. Rather than worrying about what anyone else thinks, or what they are doing, or have achieved I prefer to focus on myself and what I can do to make a revolutionary difference to the lives of others.
If I am mentally drained from the imaginary fights that I would constantly have within myself I am not best able to serve my tribe of individuals who have experienced life-changing trauma in the most powerful way possible.
Letting go of the noise has been a tough process as you learn to be true and authentic to yourself. This alone reveals specific truths that have been buried deep within but need to be uncovered if one is to move through the pain and live an awesome life in which your own personal legacy can be made.
Dreams can be shattered but that doesn’t mean we should stop moving. Yes, I had heartbreak when experiencing such loss. My new meaning and purpose became unclear. I could easily have chosen a different path, one full of self-destruction and listened to the voices in my head telling me “I wasn’t good enough”, and “a failure”, and “you are better off dead” but I decided that my life is worth living.
You have a choice to use your free will to not only benefit your life but that of others. Muhammed Ali once said “I am the Greatest”, and you just need to find your calling and step into your power to “Find Your New Awesome” and be great once more.
I have often struggled with the definition of disabled… is it the person who sits on the sofa doing nothing with their life, moaning about what they do not have, and what others have taken from them OR the person like terminally ill father, Nick Jones, whom against doctors orders decided to embark on the biggest challenge of his life, climbing Everest Base Camp with malignant hypertension, a trek that many believed would be his last accomplishment?
We all have the inner demons that try and sabotage our thoughts and subsequent daily behaviours but we have been gifted with the opportunity to demonstrate the power of the human condition through shifting our mindsets, actioning the characteristics of grit, determination, and resilience in the face of adversity.
Yes, our life journey’s are on a much more treacherous path but the opportunity to succeed against the odds should be your catalyst for pulling the trigger to make life worth living. Drown out the voices of doubt and get ready to pull out your pen and write the next chapter of your new book… Make it a sizzler and take that step today towards “Finding Your New Awesome”.
Oh just to let you know… Nick Jones, not only made it to Everest Base Camp he continued onwards and upwards climbing to Island Peak Base Camp, a daunting place around -20 degrees to raise money for a cause bigger than himself, the Nick Jones Foundation for Bereaved Children.
Nick, you are my hero having not had the balls to risk my own life to climb Everest a few years earlier but now you have given me hope that this could be one for the bucket list.
Wishing you all the very best from all of the tribe at Class of Courage!!!
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