What is enough? When will I do enough? When will I be enough?
Are you silently and constantly wrestling with these questions? Me too! And so are all my clients. The widely admired attorney with all the accolades. The CEO of the $20 million successful company making an important impact in the world. The mom of 3 with an executive role who somehow meets all her goals and manages to show up in every space of life put together and smiling.
Yes, even those who have acquired and achieved it all in our eyes…they still wonder. So the first secret to finding our way to enough, is simply surrendering to the fact that we will never feel like we are doing or being enough.
Especially for those of us who desire to maximize our life and reach our potential in our leadership and work, we will always wrestle with these questions in different seasons. That struggle is an invitation to explore.
Instead of doing what we usually do, and turning our focus outward to others and falling into comparison, I want to encourage you to turn inward and make space to explore those questions for yourself. I’m going to walk you through a 3-step process over the course of 3 separate blog posts that will help you find the answers to those questions and move closer to the peace we all desire as we wrestle with them.
While there is nothing I want more than to tell you, right now, that you are enough, I can’t. That could be detrimental for two reasons. First, because it would perpetuate your need for external validation, when the purpose of all this is to help you find and believe the answer to yourself.
The second reason it could be harmful for me to tell you that you are enough and you are doing enough, is because I don’t know that you are. There are times when we simply aren’t doing or being enough and we need to push ourselves a little more in order to get what we are after or to be the person we were created to be.
So I am inviting you into a journey to explore who you are being, what you’re doing, and what you want. A journey to find your way to enough.
Let’s start by considering a question. When it comes to the questions: What is enough? Am I doing enough? Am I being enough?
What is the bar and who is setting it for me?
Think about an area in your life where you are never feeling like there is enough or you are doing or being enough. Money, achievements, recognition, possessions, etc. When will it be enough? How am I measuring whether I’m doing or being enough? Let me illustrate with a couple examples.
A few years ago my husband and I were sitting with our financial advisor and I was expressing concern about how much money we were saving. For perspective, I had us on a tight budget and looking back, some would say I was depriving us of having at least some fun in the moment.
Growing up, our family struggled for and fought about money. I had developed a scarcity mindset around money that I continue to struggle with to this day. In an exasperated voice, our advisor asked, “Lindsay, when will it ever be enough? What is the number you are after?”
It hit me like a 2×4 between the eyes. As I sat there considering his question, I realized that it wasn’t a number…regardless of any number, it would never be enough. I hadn’t even set a bar. As I worked through my own process of considering what the bar should be, I realized that it was very tempting to allow culture or others to set the bar for me, and that I would have to make space for some big and deep questions in order to answer in a way that was true to us and our lifestyle.
More recently, I have struggled less with the “what is enough” question and more with the “am I doing and being enough” question. Being an entrepreneur and business owner, you’re always wondering these things because there is always more to do.
I can see the potential in everything, which is at the same time a blessing and a curse. For our business, I can see what it could be which makes me feel like we aren’t doing and being enough, no matter how much validation I get in what I am doing and who I am being. I’ve had to set very specific goals between where we are and the potential I can see in order to be able to answer yes to the questions “Am I doing enough? Am I being enough?” These mile markers help me find peace as I pursue the potential.
As I said before, when we explore our own “enough” questions then it’s pretty easy to measure whether we are doing enough in pursuit of that as we break down our goals. Sometimes we aren’t doing enough, but more often we don’t need to do anything more, it’s the being that has to shift. Hang with me…
Remember that successful executive and mother of 3 I mentioned? There was no more that she could physically do, but she still felt like she wasn’t doing enough. We didn’t need to pile on any more doing, we simply had to change the nature of her being in the doing. I tasked her with taking everyday tasks that she “mindlessly” checked off her list, and put more love and intention into them. To challenge herself to experience the fullness of what she was doing and recognize, consciously the activity she was engaged in.
For example, as she washed dishes or did laundry I asked her to consider the active way she was showing love and care for her family by simply repeating, “I am taking good care of my family” while she was doing the task. She brought the spirit and connection back into the doing by being present to it.
This is possible for all of us. When we can move through the world as if everything were sacred…when we change our way of being…that’s when life and peace come back to us and we can feel settled about being and doing enough.
I am going to share step 1 of a 3-step process that will help you find your way back to enough help yourself with the being part (stay tuned to the next two posts for steps 2 and 3). In this 3-step process we must rebuild connection with ourselves and become aware and conscious of who we are and what we are doing, then we need to restore our intention and become mindful and present to what we want, and finally, we need to take inspired action.
STEP 1 – (RE)BUILD CONNECTION
When you ask someone how they are, have you noticed that our standard answer of “good” or “fine” has been replaced with “busy?” As a culture we are scattered, distracted, and stretched too thin. Most of us aren’t mentally present where we physically are. We are running from task to task…preparing for the next thing while participating in the current thing. This is a major contributor to burnout. And what’s at the root of burnout?
Exhaustion of doing so much and feeling we can never do enough. Losing hope that we will ever be enough. ENOUGH!
In order to know and believe that we are enough, we have to come back to present! We have to become aware and conscious of who we are and what we are doing. Self-assurance starts with self-awareness. How can you know and believe you are doing enough and you are enough when you aren’t consciously aware of who you are being and what you are doing?
Here are some questions to help you raise your consciousness and awareness. Although I am going to walk you through additional steps, for many this is where you need to focus your practice. Just giving yourself space to ask and answer these questions, and developing your self-awareness.
Questions for developing your self-awareness:
How do I feel?
What am I worried about?
What am I excited about?
What do I need?
Once you’ve developed a pattern to be more in tune with the answer to these questions, then you can move on to the next level of self-awareness which is a deeper level of understanding who you are and who you are not using these questions:
What am I best at?
What comes naturally to me?
What positive feedback am I given?
Who am I at my best?
Without knowing it, we spend much of our time in comparison. We are rating ourselves against others and pursuing things that others are pursuing instead of really getting to know ourselves. While these questions are uncomfortable for most of us, because we don’t like to focus on ourselves, they are necessary to build our confidence and to know we are enough.
Because of her role, one of my clients regularly gets the opportunity to speak in front of hundreds of people, and she is great at it! I have had a chance to witness her in these environments and am always impressed by her professionalism, clarity, confidence and charisma.
I was surprised to have her share with me in a coaching session that she thought she was no good at this part of her job. After digging a bit, I discovered that she was comparing herself to professional motivational speakers and entertainers. She shared that she didn’t believe she was funny, she didn’t have professional speaker training and use big gestures to keep people entertained, etc.
I was grateful for the opportunity to reflect back to her that yes, her style was different than those she named, but also that the styles of those others would not fit her personality and it would be awkward and not as effective if she attempted to emulate them instead of staying consistent and aligned with the approach she felt was right for her.
Each of us has unique gifts and talents. We have different ways of doing things. We have to find our own way and our own style that is authentic to who we are. Being authentic is what attracts people more than anything else. Once again, in order to know we are enough, we have to continue to invest in knowing and understanding ourselves…leaning into who we are and accepting who we are not.
Practices for (Re)Building Connection
In addition to the reflection questions posed earlier, there are additional practices we can invest in that help us know and understand ourselves better.
Silence and solitude
All these practices allow you to reconnect with your thoughts, feelings, passions and desires. They give you space and help you increase your awareness of your heart, mind, body and soul. How can you incorporate these in small ways?
A 15 minute walk after a long day. The car ride to or from work with no radio. Taking 3 deep breaths around lunch time. Doing something just for the fun and enjoyment of it. Pick one thing a week or more as you can and try it!
Remember, if you don’t know yourself – who you are, what you’re doing, what you’re good at – you can’t know you are enough. Use these questions and practices to (re)build your connection with yourself, and stay tuned for step 2 in the next blog post to help you believe you are enough, which is about restoring your intention.
Written by: Lindsay Leahy, Dream Builder at The Restoration Project
Get it touch: email@example.com