As my children get older, we enjoy finding TV programs to watch together at night before we go to bed. Recently, we found ourselves mesmerized by a 13-year-old contestant on America’s Got Talent who took the stage and single-handedly slayed a Janis Joplin song as if she was the legendary singer herself.
We weren’t the only ones who were amazed. Howie Mandel immediately pressed the “Golden Buzzer” which guaranteed the songbird a position in the semifinals because she was that talented. A few seconds later as the young girl was hugging it out with the host of the show, Tyra Banks, she made a declaration that nobody saw coming. With her head buried in Tyra’s bosom, barely able to catch her breath, she confessed, “I thought for sure I was going to get the red buzzers.” The pint-sized powerhouse who just wowed the world had herself convinced that she wasn’t talented enough and would undoubtedly get booted, booed or buzzed off the stage.
It was heartbreaking to see someone so blind to their own talent, gifts and greatness. I wanted her to be as proud of herself as we were! But it shouldn’t surprise me because I see it all the time in my research with mothers around the world. I’ve met far too many women who have an incredible light within … yet unable to see it because their debilitating self-doubt inhales everything they do wrong, nothing they do right, and blows it back in their face. Despite their amazingness, they continue to convince themselves that they suck.
Lawyers who tell me they’re not smart enough, millionaires who swear they’re not rich enough, mission workers who aren’t giving enough, stay-at-home mothers who aren’t “mom” enough. And in this case, Janis Joplin reincarnated who somehow isn’t talented enough.
Take a second to soak up this sobering fact from my research: It’s entirely possible to fill your life with accomplishments and still feel empty, to have incredible gifts and never see them, to receive glowing compliments and not believe them. That’s because what’s really missing isn’t the intellect, money, generosity or dexterity to be better. It’s an inability to see your own strengths.
So, if Janis Joplin Junior can’t see her own greatness, is there any hope for the rest of us mere mortals?
I think there’s a lot of hope, because I’m living proof that you can slay your self-doubt and avoid repeatedly snuffing out your own light. But first you have to get comfortable giving credit where credit is due—meaning: to yourself.
What can you point to in your life that you’re actually pretty good at? What have you figured out, nailed or slayed that you’re not only willing to acknowledge but also to share with others so they can follow in your footsteps?
Be brave. Write it in the comments below so it gets out of your self-doubting mind and into the world.
Maybe if we train ourselves to look at the bright side of our accomplishments, time and talents we’ll be less shocked (and dismissive) when those around us recognize that we’re doing a pretty damn good job.
Maybe we’ll finally see in ourselves the greatness that others have always seen in us.
Now, wouldn’t that be a beautiful thing?