I am a story teller. My friends tease me that a simple yes or no question takes me twenty minutes to answer. So it is no surprise that I view this blog and my instagram account ( @emptyspoon01) as telling a story. This is my medium, a combination of writing and photography to weave a story for my audience. Yet I have done very little to improve my skill in either area (beyond just doing it a lot and hoping I’m getting better).
Why? Because I’m scared I am not good enough.
Take photography as an example. I want good quality photos as illustrations to my words. I want to ‘paint a picture’ with my camera so that you feel you are in the moment with me, on the journey with me. Yet photography is so daunting. There is so much to learn! I remember my friend JD Lewis telling me that my composition/eye was good, but I lacked technical skill. Yet I have done nothing to really learn photography, relying on my iPhone or borrowed cameras. I have not studied…at all.
Why? Because I’m scared that I am not good enough.
Is my writing good enough that people would want to read my blog or narratives? Are my photos good enough for people to want to follow me on Instagram? Is my story good enough to even tell?
Am I good enough?
I am starting this physical journey to travel the world, but within this big adventure are a dozen small adventures, trials, and roadblocks to overcome. Paperwork, packing, equipment, planning. All decisions that need to be made and each time I face a decision I am faced with the same question.
Am I good enough?
Am I strong enough? Am I brave enough? Am I in good enough shape? Am I smart enough? Am I organized enough? Am I adventurous enough? What makes me think that *I* am good enough to do this thing?
Many of us have dreams and goals but we let our own fear and self-doubt stand in our way. It is really easy to say, “Don’t let your fear stop you.” It is not easy to face those fears. It is not easy to dig deep and confront our own doubts.
Yet doubt is also beneficial. It grounds our decision making and goal setting to reality. If I say I am going to run a marathon tomorrow I should allow self-doubt to stop me. If I say I am going to run a marathon next year, I should allow self-doubt guide me to get in shape. It is not easy to use self-doubt as a self-check tool and not a self-destruct tool.
The opposite of self-doubt is confidence. We have no issue building self-doubt. So how do we build confidence?
Confidence doesn’t come overnight. It starts with small accomplishments, things we can point to and say, “Look what I did!” The more “look what I did” moments we have the more we can build confidence. BUT you have to acknowledge your success.
People, especially women, tend to be self-deprecating. We undervalue our abilities and talents. We do something that is difficult for us and seldom stop to celebrate the success. Often we downplay our success by saying we got lucky or where helped or it was no big thing (when it really was). This feeds the self-doubt and not the confidence. The exact same accomplishment can be used as a tool in either direction.
I struggled with confidence in my ability after my divorce. I was responsible for a home and two children and full of self-doubt. My house needed work and I remodeled the bathroom. I remember how proud I was in that moment. I even shared the moment with friends (who appropriately oh’d and aw’d). Talk about building confidence!
Confidence in one thing allowed me to conquer something else. I went on to buy my first new car. I refinance my home. I changed jobs. I am now embarking on my big adventure! It didn’t happen overnight. Each success built upon the previous one until I was standing tall upon a stack of little victories.
I still wonder if anyone reads these blogs and find them interesting (You are still reading so that is a yes. Yea confidence!). I still wonder if people will look at my photos and see it as part of my story. I still wonder if I have a story to tell. Then I remember that you are still reading this blog…right this moment…and it gives me confidence. I remember that my Instagram account seems to be gaining traction…and it gives me confidence. I remember that a woman, a stranger, gave me a hug and said she was inspired…and it gives me confidence to move forward.
So this is me, a mix of self-doubt and confidence telling a story through words and pictures (and food if you are lucky!) in the hopes of influencing you to not let self-doubt stop you from following your dreams.
Remember, you ARE good enough…and so am I!