Do You Struggle With “Not Good Enough?”

Do you think you’re ordinary?

It's important to me – IT’S MY MISSION!! - that all women know that they are greater (by this, I mean “more than” – much more) than they think they are – that they are what I call, Heroines.

Yes, I’m talking to you, dear Heroine. You, who probably considers yourself, well – ordinary.

How could you think that? How did we arrive in this place where an amazing being is so covered in wrong assumptions, misconceptions, judgments, and erroneous truths that she can no longer see her brilliance?

Paradigm Paralysis

We’ve been stuck in a paradigm handed down by our ancestors and our culture. Because of this paradigm, we can’t see our potential, all the possibilities we can avail ourselves of.

What’s a paradigm? It’s the accepted way we see and do something — and think about something. Paradigms establish boundaries and rules for success. People tend to filter out information that doesn’t fit a paradigm. This blocks us from our ability to see what’s real, what’s the truth. There are many accepted paradigms about what women can and cannot do.

We’re like the fish…

It’s like the fish in the water parable:

There are these two young fish swimming along, and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually, one of them looks over at the other and goes, “What the hell is water?”

We are “in the water” of our paradigm — we’re so used to it, we can’t see that we’re in it — and what’s outside of it. How to get women and their beliefs about themselves — inherited through gazillions of years of cultural paradigms that tell them “less than” — how to get them out of the water and seeing/being who they really are?

What is a major paradigm for women? We’re not “enough.” We’re less than. Yes, I’m generalizing – but overall, it’s the truth. I hear it all the time.

The “Not Enough” Paradigm

As a coach, I’ve worked closely with women since 2000. It has been astounding to me how many of the women I’ve met - the many smart, accomplished, fabulous women, successful in the eyes of the world-women, lack confidence, and self-esteem.

One might never know it unless you get underneath their presenting selves — their “everything is OK” exterior… their “I’m fine” exterior. I decided to address this with my work and look for ways to boost self-confidence.

We’ve had many years of the people around us, media, and our culture tells us we’re not good enough — that we’re not smart or pretty or young or old enough. We’ve been existing for too many years “in the water” of the “not-enough paradigm.”

We believe we’re ordinary. And of course, everything that we get from the outside, we internalize, so maybe our teacher back in 6th grade told us we could never be what we wanted to be…soon that translated to our own inner voices telling us the same.

And we believe those voices!

“I’m fine.”

You can’t just tell someone they’re amazing and powerful – and have them take it in. (Even if you see it so clearly and they don’t!) They might nod their heads, even believe it superficially, but at their core, they are still non-believers. How to escape the “I’m fine” paradigm? A tornado can help!

My Tornado Moment

A friend, knowing my love for Dorothy and her story, invited me to a presentation on how the Wizard of Oz illustrated the Hero’s Journey as taught by Joseph Campbell. I attended and was literally blown away. I was shown “another way” to see our life’s path – and it hit me like…well, like a tornado!

You’ll remember how Dorothy (and her house!) was picked up and shaken by that tornado? This was a tornado moment for me. My world turned upside down! The Hero’s Journey was a concept – actually a paradigm, an archetype of monumental proportions - that I could use to help women see the trials of their life differently. It presented a new perspective, a new paradigm!

The Hero’s Journey model has been in our literature and then transferred to our films and television as a core pattern (yes, it’s the pattern of the Wizard of Oz)– for thousands of years. And as Campbell pointed out – in all cultures! It has the power to empower!

Answer that Call!

Its message? You will get a call to do something outside of your ordinary life. You must respond. You must answer your call. You’ll have to leave your comfort zone – but it’s worth it. That’s how you become bigger and bigger - how you become your heroic self, a self who is filling her full potential!

I was on fire with my discovery! This was the vehicle, a path, to help women gain confidence in who they are - in who they are really. Show them the journey path – as handed down to us through the centuries – show them how their life reflects it – they have traveled it more than once – and then ask them…

If this is the truth – if this is what’s real, the (invisible and metaphorical) path there right under your feet, then how can you ever say you aren’t worthy? This is the path of the hero!

But where are the women?

But wait! I was coaching women, so I needed examples they could relate to. But because of our patriarchal culture, those stories illustrating the hero’s path were mostly about male heroes. Could the stories have been about women if we had a more matriarchal society? Yes — but that certainly hasn’t been part of our paradigm. What to do?

Sure…the steps of the path, the journey milestones, are the same — often, women take them differently than men do, but it’s the same journey of transformation. I decided to talk and write about it as the Heroine’s Journey.

Heroine’s Journey it is – but then there was this…

Look For The Heroine In Real-Life Journey Stories!

“Susanna,” you might say, “those are stories, not real life!”

But remember, stories reflect real life (yes, with embellishments, but still…) – look for the pattern, and you find it repeatedly in real life.

It’s there in her life and her life – and in her life. I show women they are living the Heroine’s Journey, and they see it… well…really…how can they even deny it? It’s so clear once you know what the pattern is.

I found this was key…

To believe the Journey framework had value, women had to hear each other’s stories. They had to hear stories from other women sharing their experiences of moving along the path and navigating the journey.

I’m talking about real-life women’s stories — real-life heroines. Sure, we can read about heroines in books and see them in films, but sharing our experiences with other women helps get us over the hump of doubt and believe that we can also fulfill our potential.

If she can do it, then maybe I can, too.

You get to choose.

You decide. You decide if there is something to this pattern that’s traveled the centuries in story after story about how we grow. It must be of value if it’s still with us.

You choose how to see your life: either as random, pinging from one episode to the next, or you can see it as part of a universal and timeless pattern, a series of events that leads us to our best life.

Take Paradigm-Busting Action!

You are on an incredible journey, a journey of epic proportions. The journey is designed to call forth who you really are and pare away who you’re not. The journey, through its many challenges, brings forth your one true self. Taking the journey develops you and contributes to the whole in a way that only you can. No one else can bring the gift that you bring.

You have to take action. It’s not enough to know you’re on a powerful path, you have to prove to yourself that the milestones are real. Today, do something that’s out of your comfort zone.

Leave what you know and explore something new. It can be a small or large exploration but go do it. The more you do, the more you’ll feel like the Heroine you truly are.

(My website has more about the Heroine’s Journey. You can read more about it here.)