I’m experiencing a pervasive inadequacy. This was the second line I wrote in an SOS email to a friend.

Are professionals supposed to confess stuff like this on a public blog? It’s risky, my ego tells me, but I feel I’m also risking something more dangerous if I don’t­–a belief that when looking at the life of someone else, it always appears good, or at the very least, somehow better than yours.

But it’s not true.

What I’ve discovered through coaching a variety of people, is that even in the lives of those who would seem as if they should be a continual ball of joy, contentment, and satisfaction, everyone experiences lows. Being human involves what we call catabolic energy, even on a “good” day.

So if you’ve ever felt as if you’ve temporarily lost your way, no problem. Remember, there was a time in your life when you didn’t feel inadequate. But then someone came along and for some reason thought you weren’t good enough, smart enough, strong enough, etc., and then self-doubt slipped into the picture. You didn’t lose your way, you just forgot.

It’s happens to all of us. We forget who we were before our limiting beliefs began to pile up.

In our work, we point toward two things: 1. The you before the limiting beliefs, and 2. A greater force beyond you that holds all things together.

During the week of pervasive inadequacy, a thought came to me: If I’ve led people to myself as an “answer,” I’ve done the work incorrectly. If I’ve led them to discover that despite feelings of pervasive whatever-feels-low, they’re still whole and beautiful and complete, well then, we’re getting somewhere.

I recently read an article about what marine recruits experience during boot camp. I wept. Then I read the article to my husband. I wept again.

Young men and women endure three months of intentional and intense psychological and physical stress.  They push their mental limits to capacity. They have to. They’re asked to run toward gunfire. Toward possible death. Toward something that is wholey oppositely engrained within us: self-preservation and self-gratification.

Saying I’m experiencing pervasive inadequacy in public feels like running toward certain death as ego says, “You need to have it all together at all times, Rachel!!”

What do we do about these moments?

First me might start by asking, “Do I have what it takes? Am I aligned in my life? Am I on the right seat on the bus? Am I enough?” Those are natural questions. But in order to stretch beyond oneself, consider asking, “Where is this discomfort pointing me?”

What I’d risk to project is that you’ll find the discomfort it’s pointing you toward surrender. Right here, right now. Stop. Remember. Slow down.

Let the feelings of inadequacy, anger, guilt, fear, and stress teach you. Let them drive you toward relief. Let them drive you to truth. Let them drive you beyond yourself so you can find you’re not lost after all but have only temporarily–innocently!–forgotten.

From this place, we can honor one another when we temporary lose our way and point one another in the direction toward relief.

Reflect: What is your pervasive discomfort? What’s been your pattern of “dealing” with it?

Rachel is a certified coach who loves to point toward relief. Learn more here.


INL Websitewww.inspiredleadershipwithin.com

Facebook Communitywww.facebook.com/leadershipbeginswithin

Twitter:  @RachelThalmann


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