The biggest thing that holds people back from being productive isn’t a lack of skill, or even inspiration. It’s the milliseconds of self-sabotage that crop up just as you’re about to begin your work. You probably know what I’m talking about: maybe you come up with an amazing idea, maybe you just have the nagging urge to create (or even a deadline!) but as soon as you sit down to do it, there’s this resistance you can’t quite put your finger on.
The good news is that you’re normal. The bad news is that “normal” is, unfortunately, to be stuck by an illusion of your own perceived inadequacy, so we need to blow the lid off of that limiting belief.
When it comes to creative work, trying to discern whether or not what you do is “good enough” is a fool’s game, because there are multiple ways to interpret it. It’s just a largely subjective issue. Some things are commercially successful but artistically not something you’re very proud of. Some things are products of your greatest devotion and inspiration, but fall flat when introduced to an audience.
So if you really want to be able to stop doubting whether or not you’re “good enough,” you need to measure your output by one of two things:
1. Did I meet the conditions of my deadline, contract, or responsibility?
2. Did I do something that means something to me?
Of course, when your work covers both of these at once, you achieve what most people would consider mastery, or at the very least, a sense of fulfillment. But until you get there, you need to understand that your perception that you’re “not good enough,” is first and foremost, normal, but also something that will hold you back in your creativity unless you learn to think about it rationally.
Nobody is “good enough” until they begin. Some of the greatest artists in history had work that gathered dust until years after their deaths. Some of the most popular music in the world is also the most grating and disliked. If you enter your creative space with the expectation that what you make will also make you more liked and loved, you’re always going to be so hesitant you resist doing anything at all.
The point of creating is not to be “good enough.” It’s not to win fans. It’s not to redeem yourself in the eyes of those who doubted you. As long as that’s your intention, you’ll never be enough.
Because the truth is that when we doubt ourselves, what we are really doubting is whether or not someone else will think we are enough. And as long as we leave that for them to determine, we are always at the mercy of someone else’s reaction, and most often, our imaginary idea of what that reaction could be. So pull the plug on this. Enter your own mind space and know you are responsible for doing what you have agreed to do, and then what you feel moved to do. Nothing more, nothing less.