How much success do you deserve in your life? Do you really think you’re worthy of the best that life has to offer?
Talk about loaded questions. Our brains have been bombarded with mixed messages on that since birth and we are rarely conscious of it.
As we’ve journeyed from being totally lovable babies that can only cry, drool, eat and need cleaning up, we become imperfect humans who make mistakes, test boundaries and who want to do things differently sometimes from those around us because we are different human beings.
Along the way we upset others for not being exactly what they like best and we don’t conform to what makes life easiest for them. We get things wrong at school. In the playground, we notice that some people are faster than us. In the classroom some of them are better at certain things than we are – or are bigger or better looking. Sometimes.
We notice that certain people in our culture get much more attention than most other people. They’re famous and sometimes rich. They have power, money, looks, athletic ability or are portrayed as highly intelligent. Their ‘success’ stories typically get over-simplified so we are led to assume that they enjoy levels of near perfection and have it all figured out.
We live in imperfect families that have problems we pretend in public aren't there – even though all families have their problems and secrets. Unfortunately, it’s not socially acceptable to talk openly about most of these. Different dysfunctions and failings are modelled to us and sometimes we are raised to believe these are ‘normal’.
If this isn’t enough, almost everywhere we turn, we are getting messages from marketers telling us: ‘you need this’, ‘watch this’, ‘listen to this’, ‘more people will want to be around you if you buy this, look like that or smell this way’, and ‘this will make you happier/healthier/cooler and look successful’.
So, it's pretty easy not to feel like a world champion if you let even some of this get into your head.
It’s pretty easy to assume you probably don’t deserve all that much and that most people are way ahead of you.
We compound this by unwittingly spending time with people just like us in an attempt to make us feel better about ourselves. And we try to notice the people that we think we are better than – also in an attempt to make ourselves feel better.
Yet despite all this unhelpful messaging, it’s clearly human nature to want more from life: to want better health, more money, more happiness and to feel more successful. And one of the obstacles we hit is feeling like we don’t deserve it because of all the above experiences.
Let’s start with three FACTS about your worthiness to enjoy more success:
1. No one is inherently better than you or more deserving (and no one is inherently worse than you or less deserving).
2. No one has it all figured out. Everyone is winging it at times – especially parents (so forgive yours).
3. Everyone has problems and most people would happily take their pile of problems compared to the other seven billion people around the world.
As difficult as your life might be right now, try to set aside these as excuses. Now, I admit rational facts only go so far on this topic but hopefully you can catch your negative self-talk more.
What can you do to build your worthiness?
1. Find deeper motivation to fuel the change you want
You can source this by journaling about past pain, what your purpose in life is, and by describing your future vision.
It’s not easy to look in the mirror. Sometimes you need to explore the pain, humiliation and negativity of your past because you may not be aware of how much it has influenced you and negatively impacted your feelings around what you think you deserve. Plus, you can easily spend your life as puppets reacting to the same old cuts.
Reflect on why you want to achieve certain things. If nothing else, clarity about your purpose provides more fuel and more grit to handle the days when your motivation is fickle or frustration is high (a sign you are in fact on track).
You need the fuel to persevere, which is probably the most understated critical ingredient of them all. This will also boost your self-respect.
Lastly, think about yourself when you’ve been at your best. How did you feel? List these feelings out. This is your inner hero and the one whose soul you must feed if you are to build your worthiness to achieve more in your life. What did that strong self believe? What good things was it willing to accept in life?
2. Take a lot of action! Build your skills and abilities: Prove to your brain you’re becoming increasingly worthy
Successful people do more. Competence builds confidence which will bolster your self-talk. Chemically your body also steps up by boosting you with more dopamine and helpful endorphins. These make you feel good. As BJ Fogg writes in Tiny Habits, “I change best when I feel good, not when I feel bad.”
Whenever I think of accomplished athletes, artists and performers from the past like Shakespeare, Da Vinci or Jesse Owens; they had no knowledge of the science of achievement. They hadn’t read Think and Grow Rich! As they got ever better at their craft, it wasn’t just their confidence that grew. Their mindset/thinking had to shift too so that they felt worthy of the accolades they received and confident enough to write/paint/run again and not psych themselves out.
This didn’t happen consciously; it happened because they continued to take a lot of action that proved a self-fulfilling prophecy for their brains: “I am an ever-improving writer/artist/athlete”.
3. Feed your brain huge doses of empowering content to weaken the negative messaging
You have to see that your brain has unwittingly absorbed all these negative and unempowering messages and for ever better results in your life, you are going to want to increasingly filter these out and focus instead on thoughts/beliefs that empower you.
Scientifically if you want to strengthen a neural pathway, it’s the same as if you were walking into a field of untouched tall grass. The first time you walk (think) that way, it may barely make an impression. But the more you forge that path, the clearer it becomes.
What do I mean: REPETITION!!! Feed your own brain the messaging it needs to build your sense of worthiness. And don’t stop. Your brain has probably heard endless times that various other people are better than you in some way and therefore more deserving. Your brain is going to need to a lot of repetition to the contrary to believe something else. And this need may ebb and flow but don’t stop doing it because there are too many sources for negativity that can creep in.
4. Focus on what you can control (circle of influence vs. circle of concern)
On top of the laundry list of things that have subconsciously impacted your self-worth since birth, every day can challenge you with things that throw your good intentions and positive thinking off track.
Laser on your Circle of Influence. Stephen Covey defined this as the things you can control and impact. Your goal each day is to work hard on these things and gradually over time you WILL see it grow. It’s an immutable law of nature.
Your Circle of Concern, on the other hand, is spending your time getting upset about all the things you have no control over – other people, the weather, global politics, and family members.
A really useful tiny habit here is:
After I feel frustrated,
I will ask myself if it’s something I can control or not.
5. Catch yourself comparing – run your own race.
I think we compare ourselves to other people much more often than we realise. Even looking up and down our own street, on LinkevdIn, at our own children, noticing other people’s cars when driving, waiting to order at Starbucks – does it ever end? Is it an effective strategy to build worthiness??
Stephen Covey called comparison an “emotional cancer”. Use a power phrase to repeat to yourself such as “My Race. My Pace.”
A tiny habit here to experiment with is:
After I catch myself comparing,
I will listen instead to the (inner) voice who wants me to be better
If you need one more reminder as to how jugular this topic is, best-selling author and thought leader Robert Holden wrote in Authentic Success, “No matter how intelligent, talented, or committed you may be, it is your sense of worthiness that ultimately supports or sabotages your success.” Read that again!
Remember, each of us is a work in progress. We have ups and downs. But if you can fuel your drive better, take ever more action, pump your brain with empowering content, focus on what you can control, and catch comparing yourself to others, you can do wonders for building your sense of worthiness. This is not magic. In fact, it’s about your ability to persist. Results will vary but I promise your results and your life will get ever better.
Let me know how you get on.
Wishing you and your family the best,
Founder & President
Matt Anderson International
1177 Oak Ridge Drive, Glencoe, IL 60022, USA
Phone: +001 (312) 622-3121