If I had to name one limiting belief that I've found to be most common among high-achieving people, it's this:
"I'm not doing enough."
We live in a culture that values productivity - to our own detriment. We're always told to do, be, and have more, more, more - and if we don't, we're made to feel like we're coming up short. It's incredible, the amount of people I know who do so many things and still have the feeling they're not achieving enough.
That's why this writing exercise is one of my favorites for boosting confidence and helping us understand just how "enough" we really are.
Make a list of all the awesome things you've accomplished, learned, experienced, or figured out in the last five years.
Yup. That's it.
And if you just read that sentence and thought "but I haven't done anything awesome" - sorry, friend, but you're wrong.
Recently, on my 35th birthday, I did this exercise as a reminder of how far I've come. Later, while talking to a friend, I suggested she do it, too. Her immediate response? "Oh, but I haven't done big stuff, like you have. I haven't written a book or anything."
Sure, I wrote a book, and that was huge and monumental - but it was one single item on my sixty-eight item list. That's right - the vast majority of that list was comprised of small, seemingly mundane things that, by themselves, don't seem like anything life-changing, but together, form a pretty awesome picture of what exactly I've been doing these last five years.
And that's why I love this exercise so much. It forces us to examine the small stuff and give ourselves credit for the things we tend to gloss over in our everyday life.
Here's proof, straight from my journal:
I think my favorite item here is #42: "learned a lot about what I don't want." Know how I did that? By messing up. A lot. By making mistakes. So many.
It would be easy to say "I screwed a lot of stuff up and therefore I have nothing to put on a list of awesome things I did." But there's value even in the screw-ups - I would argue they're actually the most valuable. So if all you've done over the last few years is muck up one thing after another - congratulations! You've learned so much!
Keep this in mind while you make your list. Some of the things on it may sound boring, mundane, or unimportant in the grand scheme of things. That doesn't mean they're not awesome.
And, because I know this isn't always easy...if you're having trouble, here's a list of prompts you can use to get the wheels turning!
What problems did you solve?
Who did you help?
What did you learn more about?
What did you get better at?
What patterns or habits did you shift, even slightly?
What boundaries did you set?
Where did you travel?
What new perspective did you gain?
What did you keep trying at, even though it was hard?
When did you stand up for yourself?
How did you take care of yourself?
How did you show yourself love and appreciation?
What did you celebrate?
Who did you connect with?
What were your favorite moments?
What did you let go of that was no longer serving you?
If you try this exercise, I'd love to know how it went! Find me on Instagram here and share your experience!
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