This has been a theme that has rattled around my week, and being a believer in the nudges that we tune into, it becomes the topic of focus for a blog. It all began on Monday, when I took my RYA PowerBoat II course with Cornish Cruising. Ostensibly, I did that to gain confidence for driving our new RIB. I went in nervous about my driving skills, and whether I would be ‘good enough’ to pass. For more about that experience, check out my sailing blog. I passed it, but not without anxieties – could I control it, would I be completely girly, would I bump it, would I be seasick, etc etc… Any demon of self-doubt was loaded on. I have in excess of 4,500 nautical miles at sea, and I still think of myself as a complete novice. When am I going to accept that I am good enough?
I had a crisis of confidence in the week about being a writer. Triggered by some of the networks I’m in, where I am at the beginning of my writing journey as a novelist. I got daunted by it this week, and ended up feeling quite gloomy about it all. I’ll never succeed, I’ll never be able to do it, I’m just not good enough. This was highlighted in a post that I saw on Facebook, which I now can’t find, but someone asking the question when they can call themselves an author. I know many writers feel the agony of this question, because of the value judgements of being published, successful, paid, etc etc. This hasn’t been my dilemma of the week, of calling myself a writer, but it struck me that this same person was wrestling with the demon of self-doubt. When am I going to accept that I am good enough, and that I am where I am?
I heard an interview with Bill Nighy this week, saying that he never watches himself back. In his mind, he likes that he can remain as he wants to believe he was – and not shatter it by picking over the bones of a performance. Here he is, with a string of credits, and he still struggles to call himself an actor. Like the author I mentioned earlier. These talented people who still are wondering if they are good enough to wear the title of their own occupation.
When my husband retired, he undertook a project to build a car. That project is now done, more of that in a moment, but he’s begun another project to build a boat – a wooden sailing dinghy. He had a terrible day in his workshop the other day, and got thoroughly despondent about his woodworking skills, and whether he is actually capable at building something that will float and look nice (it must be the writing equivalent of not writing a trashy novel, for me!!). All I could do for him was remind him of the days that he came in from his workshop when building his car, equally despondent, thinking he’d never be happy with what he’d built. But look at what he achieved…
Despite that experience, he is being plagued by self-doubt this week, wondering, will I ever be good enough?
We’re watching Breaking Bad, and the character that I care for the most is Jesse Pinkman, who has a continual struggle in believing that he is not good enough. The episode this week was whether he was good enough to run a Crystal Meths Lab alone, but it is a theme that underlies his character right throughout the series. Jesse is a fundamentally good person, and the series is full of people looking beyond the meth-head and seeing something in him. It’s delightful. Jesse, I wonder if you get to accept that you are good enough?
You see there are echoes of this in my week, and in thinking about the other people (so much easier than thinking about myself), I’ve built up a message that I can give myself…
It’s such a waste of energy. It’s so toxic, so negative. You have a choice to accept where you are. The XK120 wasn’t built in a day, it took nearly four years from conception to registration. Your book won’t be written in a day, but will be sentence by sentence. The best thing you can do is accept who you are and where you are, and STOP THINKING THAT YOU’RE NOT GOOD ENOUGH.