This is your biggest fear

Not being good enough. There, I said it.

It also comes in many iterations as well, e.g. not smart/educated enough; not fast enough; not successful enough; not rich enough, or poor enough (depending on your group) etc.

I've been pondering on this one for a while now as it concerns a huge amount of people that I meet (and of course myself!) - I'm human after all. 'What's the answer? What's the solution?'

I don't know. But here are some thoughts on it:

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Safe problem. Quality problem.

You know that problem that’s been kicking around inside your head for the past 3+ months? C’mon… you know the one. It’s the first thing you think of in the morning and the last thing in your head at night. Yea, that’s the one… that’s a Safe Problem.

Safe problems are lingering issues that are within our control such as: procrastination, hesitation, overeating, blaming others for your troubles, avoiding commitment to a relationship or avoiding making a decision.

On the other hand, a quality problem is much different - you’ve had plenty of those before as well.

Quality problems involve a risky forward-thinking decision such as: changing jobs, starting a business, committing to a relationship or leaving a relationship etc.,

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Have you heard about Fear-Setting?

When it comes to making big decisions that will have big consequences, we all get nervous. What happens if it doesn’t work? What happens if I fail? What happens if I can’t go back? These are all valid concerns and should be dealt with rather than avoided and left to ruminate in our heads.

There’s a great exercise by a bloggers named Tim Ferriss called Fear-Setting which he outlines in his Ted Talk below. Basically, it’s about breaking each fear into three steps:

  1. DEFINE - state exactly what the fear is

  2. PREVENT - outline how you could possibly prevent it from happening

  3. REPAIR - describe how you could deal with it even if it did come to pass

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How to destroy a working relationship: Ego

I recently read Ryan Holiday's book 'Ego is the Enemy', which I found very thought-provoking. If you're like me, you'd expect to understand the content of the book just by hearing the title, however, according to Ryan, that would be your ego talking.

Listing to all the stories of clients over the past few years, and thinking back over my own personal career challenges, disagreements with colleagues and growth struggles, I was struck by how much of it can relate back to ego being a central component. 

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Wait for the pushback

Before I explain an interesting exercise, I have to say that it only makes sense if you actually do it as you're reading this. Otherwise, you know the outcome but not your outcome. Anyway, I'll leave it up to you...

Here's the exercise: Put your hands together in front of your body in a prayer position as seen below. Then start to push with your right hand for 3 seconds. What happens?

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Execution trumps strategy

Strategic visions, strategic plans and strategic goals all look and sound great, but what actually comes of them? According to research carried out by the authors of the book '4 Disciplines of Execution' only 15% of employees actually understood the strategic goals of the company. In other words, only 15% of employees knew the meaning of their work. Naturally, this begs the question: 'how could they expect to achieve the goal or feel good about it if they don't know what it is?'.

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Visualise one fine day in 10 years time

Golfers, footballers and tennis players, amongst other professional sports stars have often talked about the benefits of visualisation. We’ve all heard the success stories, but how can visualisation really make a difference? Shouldn’t we just focus on learning, practising and working hard? These were some of the questions I had been pondering for years, until recently...

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The High Achiever's Achilles Heel

You love goal-setting and are exhilarated by goal-achievement. You’ve probably read all the articles, blogs and books on how to work better, live better, feel better and think better. You’re not always sure what you want, except for two things: more growth and more success. Do you also feel little pleasure in winning but great pain in losing? Congratulations, you are a high achiever...

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Overcoming office politics

People engage in office politics because they think it will lead to better career prospects for them in the future. They align themselves to influencers, which by default means they will also be distancing themselves from others in the organisation. But who is actually influential? Sometimes we know, but sometimes we don’t. Lots of companies will have hidden influencers that employees aren’t aware of. This could be the receptionist or the security staff,  the canteen manager or the IT administrator. 

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Esoteric education in 2017

Esoteric: "intended for or likely to be understood by only a small number of people with a specialised knowledge or interest.”

What are you allowed to know?

I believed there were certain things that I could learn and other things that weren’t permitted - by some fictitious social law unknown to me. It’s an absurd concept when you think about it but it’s quite common. I certainly fell for it for a long time.

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Passing thoughts on criticism

Criticism can be valuable occasionally, so it's good to derive any potentially useful information from it. If there’s nothing of worth in it, just let it pass. Remember that the more criticism you get, the more you’ll get used to it, which will help you to desensitise and deal with it in the future.

“There is only one way to avoid criticism: say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.” - Aristotle

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Not so personal pronouns

East Asian languages have much less use for personal pronouns compared to English. They still use pronouns of course, but only when necessary. In general, English speaking countries tend to focus much more on the individual, compared to countries like Japan and Korea which tend to gravitate more towards the group societies. 

It can be argued that language influences thought along with thought influencing language.

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Quit defending and experience freedom

Defending yourself is tough - so tough. But there is something so beautiful, so liberating, so empowering when you quit defending. It’s a moment when everything changes. Suddenly, you don’t have to pretend that everything is alright; that you’re perfect; that you did a good job; that you never made mistakes or that you never will again. And when that happens, you open up a whole new world of possibilities, and a lot less pain.

The fear is 'people will say …

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Forget resolutions - Focus on habits

Learning new skills is a challenge for many of us. The very first hurdle is our belief system: fixed mindset or growth mindset. If we have a fixed mindset, it suggests that we cannot learn new skills and have to make do with what we have naturally. On the other hand, there is a lot more room for hope if we have a growth mindset - this suggests that we believe skills can be learnt and we can learn them.

The second challenge is creating habits that make learning a consistent practice.

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Dealing with Self-Doubt

Firstly, please be aware that a lot of people are struggling with the same problem on a daily basis. They may have very good reasons for lacking confidence or they may just have very strong habitual thinking patterns. In any case, changing these is the key - but only if you want to. Some people feel comfortable in their old patterns and prefer not to change them because they don’t like change, that’s fine. But...

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