A few years ago I randomly discovered a piece of paper where I had written my goals for the next year.
It was a list from 2008 and it went something like this:
- Be a $100,000 coach, teacher, writer, and speaker.
- Work when/where I would like.
- Be working on my book(s).
- Contribute via philanthropy and service.
- Share my life with someone.
- Be creative/artistic on a regular basis.
- Live in a home surrounded by things I love.
Let me paint a little picture of my life in 2007 when I wrote those goals. At the age of 26 I was living in a sweet 1 BR apartment in Richmond, Virginia and had only just shifted from freelance work in the fashion business to more holistic work: coaching, teaching yoga and writing.
At the time I had a lot to be thankful for: I had a regular gig writing a weekly style column and was learning a ton about online marketing by writing for a holistic health company. I was taking coaching courses and consulting for a few fashion brands. I was probably making $40-50,000 a year doing that work.
Not bad, right?
Emotionally, I was a bit of a mess. Every week my editor would send edits and notes on my writing (for the holistic health company) and I would crumple as I opened a file covered in highlighted changes and red. When I taught yoga or Pilates, I judged myself based on how many people attended the class.
My self worth was tied to my performance as a writer and a teacher. Some of my old eating disordered habits crept back in
But I knew that I was capable of change and I had a vision for the life I wanted to lead.
So I wrote it out on that piece of paper, willing it to happen.
Fast forward seven years and I’m writing this from a beautiful apartment on a lovely block in New York City. My hubs is off today (it’s Good Friday) and the (very adorable) baby is hanging in her jump up seat. I’m a consultant, teacher, writer and speaker.
I get paid (very well) to do things I’m both good at and enjoy. For most of those seven years I’ve made north of $100,000 and even several times that. We have a second home (where all my crazy colorful art and furniture and books live) out in the country that is an escape from the buzz of New York and a great excuse to invite friends and family to stay with us.
I’ve achieved nearly every goal on that piece of paper.
But why doesn’t it feel that way?
In spite of my success, the feeling that I’m not making enough or doing enough or that I don’t have enough time or friends or the body I want all sneak back in.
What the hell?!?!
What’s the point of setting goals and working towards them and achieving them if it doesn’t actually FEEL good once we’ve done it?
This, my friends, is what I call Not Enough.
A few years ago I wrote a Facebook post about feeling Not Good Enough. It became a larger conversation as many people chimed in with both encouragement (on a day when I was feeling Not Enough) and their own stories about how Not Enough keeps them from living their best lives.
Apparently I am not the only one who struggles with the nagging feeling that no matter what I do in any area of my life, it’s Not Enough.
The most common feelings are that there’s never enough money or time or love to go around and somehow I feel like I constantly need to work to get more.
It’s an all-consuming cycle and plagues many a small business owner.
Indeed, I’ve come to the conclusion that Not Enoughness is the root of most of mankind’s problems.
A strong statement, perhaps, but one that is born out in my interactions with everyone from my cleaner to my clients to the CEOs of multi billion dollar organizations.
Not Enough is the human condition.
And if we allow it to grow, then Not Enough can keep us from being present, from birthing our best work, from forging meaningful relationships with real depth and from knowing our true selves.
In short, Not Enough sucks.
In fact, when I read that goals sheet again after having achieved so many of the goals, I realized how I barely even acknowledged achieving them!
I marveled at how I spent little time appreciating my progress and instead continued to create another goal that was even bigger.
One heartbreaking example was realizing that even though my revenue was growing rapidly, I wasn’t growing my capacity to be a manager of that revenue. Because I believed I never had enough, I created that fact in my life. I flowed a lot of cash but didn’t manage to hold onto it. (Holding onto wealth would mean I’d have to let go of the Not Enough mindset, after all.)
For anyone who has struggled with food and weight, the Not Enough can be a tad less obvious. For me it looks like a constant dissatisfaction with my body/size/shape and desire to change it. Looking through photos from five years ago I both notice how great I looked and recall how hateful I was towards my body at that time. The five years ago me had no idea how awesome it was to be living in that body!
Thanks to that long ago Facebook post and my client work, I know that I’m not the only one duking it out with Not Enough on a regular basis.
It’s like whack-a-mole or weeds or new strains of the flu- you have to be lightening quick, constantly vigilant and aware of their mutations.
I think that facing Not Enough with humor and honesty and gratitude is the key to creating a business that loves you, otherwise you’ll Achieve Success (with capital letters) but you won’t appreciate the journey or the actual achievements because it’s never enough.
You’ll have to keep moving, like a shark, to dodge the Not Enough.
And that is no way to live or to do business.
So, what are some simple ways to start cultivating More Than Enough right now in your business?
1. Know what makes you feel full. (Hint, it’s probably not on Net-a-Porter or pinterest.)
Making art, moving my body (dance!), hugs, and being in nature make me feel full. Those things are largely free. I have NO EXCUSE not to partake in them every damn day.
2. Now, incorporate the fullness list into your daily round. Commit to it and see what happens.
When Not Enough tells you that there’s not enough time to get out your paints today, you can tell Not Enough to shove it or perhaps get our your markers (less messy) and do your art that way. You are smarter than Not Enough as long as you’re paying attention and calling it out on its untruths.
3. Love it.
Say what? How can you love an insidious and deeply held belief that has plagued you your entire life and kept you from….(fill in the blank here)?
Simple- by thanking it.
Blessing it for its contributions.
Acknowledging it for its role in your rather lovely life, now that you think about it.
Not Enough is probably responsible for some very tall skyscrapers, epic novels, and more than a few marriages.
So whatever you have achieved in your life, Not Enough was likely a least a minor supporting character. And that’s worthy of some appreciation.
Accepting your Not Enough allows you to move beyond it.
4. Tell a new story.
What if you let go of the story that there’s not enough time or money or love or clients or press or Teslas to go around?
If you let go of the story, then you’ll stop looking for ways to confirm the story in your experience.
If I’m constantly telling the Not Enough story, then I’ll look for examples of it in my life. But if I’m telling the More Than Enough story, then I’ll be looking for the opposite.
We do not have to live the story of Not Enough in our businesses, health, relationships, lives. So join me in declaring your liberation from Not Enough and commit to living a life of More Than Enough.
P.S. Today's my 34th bday. My challenge, dream, goal for THIS year? Embrace the journey and love exactly what is. Because I am waaaay More Than Enough.