Not good enough. How do you get rid of this feeling?

Everyone does not feel good enough. We women seem to experience this more often than men. Too often, female coach  Marcella van Doorn encounters fantastic women who doubt themselves, constantly compare themselves with others and find themselves not good enough.

That uncertainty and doubts can be very destructive.

It can lead to the most beautiful ideas not being expressed, your talents remaining unused and you reluctantly doing your job. As a result, your work no longer gives you energy, you withdraw more and more in your shell and you leave certain jobs to colleagues. You are left with an unsatisfactory feeling: your colleagues don’t take you seriously so why would you still do this work?

But what if you hold the key to change this?

How can I feel less frustrated and insecure about feedback from my supervisor?

That was Sophie’s question that coach Marcella van Doorn recently coached. Sophie is 32 years old and works as a policy adviser for Economic Affairs at a municipality. She was sad. She did not like her work in recent weeks. It was boring and she doubted everything: “Did this job suit her? Was she able to do this? ”  She was writing a new policy plan. Two weeks ago she received feedback from her supervisor on the first draft version. He thought she should better substantiate a number of passages. Since then Sophie had doubts about herself: “Could she write a good policy plan? What if everyone thinks it is bad later? Was she good enough? ” 

She was also disappointed that her supervisor gave feedback in an annoying way. He often walks over to her and immediately gives his oral commentary while standing next to her desk. He then lists many details and gives few concrete suggestions. Sophie can’t do much with all those details. As soon as he is gone, she has already forgotten what he meant and is struggling to make some of his remarks. How can she feel less frustrated and insecure about the feedback from her supervisor?

From not being good enough to not believing everything you think

During the coaching session we first look at how realistic her idea is that everyone will soon find her policy plan bad. When I inquire further, it appears that Sophie has no signals at all that her policy plan is bad. In addition, many more people review the final version of the policy plan before it is submitted to the city council. They are her own negative thoughts that let her lead!

In fact, now that she pays attention to it, she realizes that her supervisor had also muttered something in between that he was happy that she wrote the policy plan because she wrote quickly and fluently. She realizes that there are no signs that the policy plan is bad. I tell her briefly that her inner doubts arise because she is doing something exciting and new for her.

Where does this negative voice come from?

The negative voice ( “Can you do this?” ) That she experiences comes from our safety instinct. That wants to avoid risks and sees danger for survival. The safety instinct therefore tries to protect us. It is especially evident when you go outside your comfort zone and take risks. If you know that, you don’t have to be guided by it.

Together we look at what Sophie can do if the uncertain thought of not good enough comes up again. She wants to write her policy plan as well as possible with nice examples. She also decides to have the plan read to a colleague next time, before presenting it to her supervisor.

She also gives herself a mental assignment: as soon as she experiences negative thoughts, she writes that thought on a post-it. Then she looks for an indication that the thought is true and if not: then she tells herself that it is absolutely not reality. She also wants to think more positively about herself . “I am good enough” is something she will say to herself every working day.

How would you like it to go?

Finally, I ask Sophie at the end of the session if her supervisor realizes that his way of giving feedback frustrates her. She looks at me for a moment and then says: “No, not really. “. I then ask her how she would like to receive the feedback. While talking, I notice that Sophie has a very clear picture of that. She would love to see her supervisor take the time to read her entire policy plan quietly.

She would like him to focus on the reasoning, structure and sentence structure instead of all the details that he now often reports. She would also like him to indicate his changes with track changes in the document so that she has specific suggestions. She intends to ask her supervisor next time if he can provide feedback in this way. And guess what ? He just did that! That made working much more pleasant and Sophie went back to work with pleasure! And her sense of “not good enough” was a thing of the past.