An extremely high performing client and I were speaking this morning about everything they would like to achieve. When we started our coaching relationship a few weeks ago, they had come to me to develop better time management, we quickly knew that time wasn't the issue and they've been making great progress.
Today we talked about their competitive nature, where this has stemmed from and how they feel currently now they aren't in competition with others as they were through school and education. They are highly respected in their field and get great feedback from everyone they work with, but they no longer feel they are achieving and are beating themselves up daily and feeling like a failure.
The reality is there is no failing, but what's missing is the validity of grades and scores and tick boxes that demonstrate a job well done. The praise isn't as forthcoming as it used to be but when asked for and when received it's always glowing.
What we discovered, was that self validation has never been there, nor self-appreciation, nor self-care and never has there been a feeling of being enough. The validation has always come from others, from grades and percentages and ranking tables. And now this has gone, so too has the sense of accomplishment.
So we discussed 'I am enough' as a thought process, a mantra if you like, a feeling, something that could be grown and developed and believed as a way to move forward more effectively.
This is client who was a high achiever all the way through school. In a school and country where competition was how you gained your worth. Where grades and percentages mattered more than anything. The client is the first in their family to have gone to university and the first to go to med school. The first in their class from a poor family and poor background to be there on merit instead of finances. Everything in their life up to this point has been about grades and percentages not self-worth.
The realisation has hit that without the grades and constant recognition this inner fight to compete and continue to be the A+ student is hard. Without exams and constant feedback, they no longer know where they fit in the rankings, or how they are performing. Without the validation and scores, that don't feel worthy.
As a child I was high achiever. I was moved up a year at school, I completed my exams a year early and started the world of work earlier than others around me. I was always graded high in appraisals, I completed my traineeships and courses early, I received pay rises and promotions with ease and I too kept seeking validation.
Only when I realised that I was enough, could I learn to accept myself as I am. And whilst this will never stop me wanting to learn and develop, I am accepting of myself and the fact that I am enough.
The sooner we can accept that we are enough, as we are today, in the here and now, the easier our life becomes. We let go of guilt and the level of fear we hold. We can move forwards doing the right things, even if they appear hard. We can strive to be better, because we realise that as we develop we can add more value and be of greater service to those around us, but we do so knowing that we are enough.
I am enough - say it, feel it, believe it.