In the last newsletter I sent out, I asked what gremlins were holding back the progress of my super rad readers. I received so many thoughtful responses- I was blown away by their candor. Raw, open honesty, like a fish hook in the eye. Only in a good way.
I want to report that every single response I got had something in common- the fear of not being Good Enough. I read dozens of different ways of saying “I don’t feel that I’m good enough for ________.” So Imma address that right now using the best method I have at my disposal...
Preachy overly self-assured soapbox prose. Here it is.
When trying to battle the Good Enough problem, a first response is frequently an attempt to affirm to ourselves we are awesome, and to focus on things we feel awesome about. This is healthy, but it clearly doesn’t get the job done. Countering a fear of not being good enough with fake-it-til-you-make-it proclamations of our awesomeness is a good start, but it doesn't close the gap between wanting to believe it and actually believing it.
So let us begin with stone cold facts to combat “I’m not good enough for ________”, whether _________ is a company, show, workshop, the world at large, or any other presentation.
Stone cold fact #1:You cannot possibly know if your skill level is a match for the ________ you’d like to do or not, unless you are speaking to the decision maker RIGHT NOW. At best, you're guessing; and your guesses can't be trusted empirically because they are heavily colored with your own bias. You feel me? So know that every time you say "I'm not good enough" you aren't stating a fact. You're feeding a gremlin. And you know what happens when we feed gremlins…
Stone cold fact #2:Being good doesn't get you jobs. Relationships and pursuing strategic action gets you jobs.
So imagine you are “good enough”. Does your phone start ringing with offers of tours and contracts? NO. You still have to go to auditions, apply for considerations, contact the Gatekeeper. You still have to do the work, regardless of your own ill-conceived concepts of whether or not you measure up on this invisible scale of nothingness. Don’t let the hamster running its wheel in your brain make decisions about your life- just do the work.
Stone cold fact #3:Good Enough doesn’t exist. “But Rachel,” you might say, “I have clear delineations on what will be Good Enough for my purposes.” Ok cool, think about that place. Point to it. Describe the Good Enough exactly. Now imagine you are there. Spoiler alert! There’s another Good Enough just out of reach.
It’s not worth your life to chase a shadow.
You may notice that Stone Cold Facts numbers 1-3 don’t include a meathook transfer to back flag. The obsession with higher and higher skills might be born out of a quest for excellence, but the result can be an emotionally stunted product that hits all the “correct” benchmarks while somehow still failing to succeed at either impacting an audience or satisfying the artist. High skills are desirable, but if that’s all that’s present in an act, personally I don’t care to watch that act. I’m not interested in being impressed. I’m interested in being moved...which will require your entire being, not just your skills; your vulnerability, your fortitude, your courage.
Cool. Whatever, I proved a point...now what?
If you genuinely feel your skill level needs to be raised, you know what to do. It’s not a mystery. Go put in the time needed to support that outcome. Go to class, get a private lesson from a scary coach. Change your training regimen. Eat better food, get actual sleep. Write down the minimum effective dose to support your desired outcome. Feel like hell today? Hate yourself and everything you touch? Crippled by negative self talk? Yeah that happens sometimes. Go in to the studio and only do the minimum effective dose you wrote out for yourself, then get on with your life.
Squashing a gremlin requires more than positive thinking. It requires action based on what you value, instead of what you fear.
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