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Which Inner Persona is Sabotaging Your Life...and what to do!

 When the feeling of "not being enough" pops up, it can have many faces...and all of them can tend to keep us stuck. Have you ever been in a situation where you were plagued with thoughts that others know so much more than you, and that the risk was high that people would find that out? Or even though you did an excellent job, you could not even appreciate it, never mind take it in? Then, there are the “shoulds” – “It should be perfect the first time, I should know everything about this, I should be able to do it all.”



Many people hold themselves to an unrealistic and unsustainable standard of success, and when they don’t meet these unrealistic standards they feel real shame. But something interesting has come through the research of Dr. Valerie Young, revealing that failure-related shame is different for different people.


Why? Because we don’t define competence, being good enough, in the same way. The good news is that by adjusting your beliefs about what it takes to be competent, you can break free. So let’s look at how these obstacles may show up for you and what to do about them. I find myself straddling two categories, perfectionism and superwoman. We are all works in progress, and becoming more aware gives us options.


So, are You more like the: 

PERFECTIONIST: If you feel that your work has to be 100% perfect all the time or else you feel the sting of failure, or if even though a project went 95% went beautifully, you obsess on the little part that didn’t meet your standards. you’re caught in the Perfectionist’s trap.

How to shift:

  • Remember mistakes are what make you grow.
  • If you are sweating every single detail. done is better than perfect – get in the game.
  • The more you can acknowledge little wins, expect normal setbacks, and be aware of things are beyond your control, the more relief you will feel.



EXPERT: expects that they have to know everything, so when they don’t, then feelings of failure or shame come to visit. Many women in particular, won’t apply for a new job unless they have all the qualifications, or feel like they need multiple certifications to know enough.

How to shift:

  • Dive in when procrastination comes up, and allow yourself to learn on the job.
  • Give yourself permission to ask for help – this is not shameful but proactive.
  • And if you mentor someone else, you not only get out of your own head, you prove to yourself that you know more than enough.



SOLOIST: To the Soloist, the unwritten rule is that to succeed, she or he has to be the one to figure out the problem, to deliver the results, and basically to save the day. Needing help is seen as a failure and shame, because in their perception, that is a sure sign of incompetence and weakness.

How to shift:

  • Find trusted people (friends, colleagues, counselor, mentor) to talk with who are supportive of your growth.
  • Share or delegate areas that are not your sweet spot. Your load will feel lighter
  • Instead of being threatened by others, have an attitude of gratitude. It will come back to you.



THE NATURAL GENIUS: To the natural genius, competence looks like achieving their goals effortlessly, gracefully and on their first attempt. The standard they hold themselves to is that they are must be naturally gifted at something; they are used to accolades. If they don’t succeed at something beyond their comfort zone, they disconnect and suffer humiliation and shame.

How to shift:

  • Allow yourself to be someone who can grow their skills, instead of someone whose capacities are set in stone.
  • Instead of limiting the areas you will explore for fear of “it’s not my thing,” choose a skill, hobby or sport to develop over time through practice (public speaking, playing an instrument).
  • Focus on finding the gifts in the process, rather than identifying your self-worth solely on the result.



SUPERWOMAN/SUPERMAN: This type determines their level of competence and contentment by how many hats they can wear, how many roles they can handle simultaneously and seamlessly. If they don’t excel in any one of the roles they have taken on (partner, colleague, friend, parent, volunteer, house manager, caretaker) they consider themselves a failure and can feel shame.

One clue is that they may get their identity by the fact that they are working longer than others. They may sacrifice their hobbies and pleasures because of the skewed perspective that they have to do it all. A Fast Company article describes them as actually "addicted to the validation that comes from working, not to the work itself."

How to shift:

  • If you identify as this type, notice how all the validation is external (through your boss, your friends, your family) which is frankly, a disempowered way to live.
  • Instead of driving yourself into the ground, focus on internal validation where you source your own validation. While you're at it, be kind to you!  Appreciate all you give to others, and save some love and positive energy for yourself too.
  • From awareness of this tendency, you can choose to either take on less, or judge yourself less. Consider trying both.
  • Recognize that you are one person, and try not to deplete your inner resources. Besides, we connect through our vulnerabilities; being human is actually very endearing.


You can have more confidence and I'll share how! Click the link for the FREE Download of the CONFIDENCE chapter from my latest book Emotional  Advantage. ENJOY!


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