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Feeling Inadequate is Our Safety Net

Jan 18, 2024

There are times you may feel like you are not good enough to perform a task at work, even though you are well-trained and qualified to do it. You may feel inadequate to be a speaker for a conference. You may feel inadequate to be heading your department. You may feel inadequate to oversee a big project.

Whatever you feel inadequate to do, that feeling is not pleasant. How does it feel in your body? Where do you feel this inadequate feeling most intensely? Is it a fluid or a stationary sensation? Is there a color associated with it? Is there a temperature associated with it?

Experience how inadequacy feel in your body. It does not feel good and you do not die from feeling it.

When feeling inadequate comes up, take a step back and examine why you feel that way. What are you thinking? So what if you feel inadequate? It usually comes down to fear. Fear of not achieving the standard set, either by you or by someone else. Or it may be fear of being compared to. Or fear of trying something new.

When you have fear, which is perceived as a threat to your well-being, your brain is trying to protect you from harm’s way. Your mind is trying to keep you safe. It is a sneaky way to shut you down, to stop you from moving forward. Your mind wants the easy way out; it does not want to suffer or go through any hardships.

If you believe what your mind is offering you, that you are inadequate, then it is natural for you to stay where you are. Whatever you are supposed to do, you will not proceed, because your reason is that you are inadequate to do it. This is a way to get stuck, an excuse not to try something new, an opportunity missed.

It is normal to feel inadequate from time to time. It is also okay not to let that stop you. You get to choose how to deal with feeling inadequate. You can decide to indulge in it, believe in it and not do anything. Or you can decide to be curious about the situation. Why do you feel inadequate? What is your mind trying to tell you? You can choose to be light-hearted about it. You get to choose to think, ok, it is my brain trying to protect me from getting hurt. There is actually no real harm here. Doing something new is scary, and it is okay to do it anyway.

It is common to have several different emotions all at once. You may feel inadequate about doing a project, and at the same time, you are curious about doing it, you are fearful and hopeful simultaneously. Let all the emotions settle in, the good, the bad and the ugly. When we allow ourselves to feel the unpleasant emotions, and know that each emotion is only a sensation in your body, you will be more receptive to allowing yourself to feel anything. The feeling is originated from what you think in the first place.

When you are faced with doing something and feeling inadequate about it, ask yourself why you are doing that particular thing. What is your goal? What are you trying to accomplish? By focusing on your goal, your direction, it is easier to focus on the potential gain from doing it rather than dwelling in feeling inadequate.

I encourage you to always ask yourself the reason behind feeling inadequate, and what fear is hiding underneath. Be light-hearted about it. Remember your goal. Visualize how you will feel when you complete that task. Even though you feel inadequate, do it anyway.

Are you ready to stop feeling stressed and overwhelmed? Are you ready to have more time to do what you want?


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