When You’re {Not} Enough

The harshest critic in my world lives inside of my own head. While my husband, friends, co-workers, and clients tell me that I have much to offer, my inner-critic tells me that I don’t have enough experience or talent to pull it off. I brush off their belief in me as “rose-colored” support, because my critic and I know the truth.

As an introvert, I’m not charismatic enough to sell the idea; because I live in a small community, I don’t have the right connections to get where I want to go; and since what I do doesn’t feel like work to me, my skill set is not worth paying for.

Everyone has their secret insecurities.


One of the best networkers I know has expressed a fear that if he changed careers, he wouldn’t be successful. Those of us who have seen him in action know that’s not the case, but it doesn’t matter what we say – his inner-critic’s voice is louder.

Then there’s the oft-repeated, “If I had a college degree, I could….” If you wanted to be neurosurgeon, then yes – a degree would be a necessity; if you want to start a business or write a book – then it’s just an excuse from your critic, not a legitimate reason for putting your dreams on the shelf. Most of the skills I utilize in my day-to-day work are not tied to my diploma.

Sitting right next to those insecurities are the skills that come naturally – use them!


Are you an introvert, like me? Don’t pull into your shell, learn how to use it to your advantage.

  • Read books like Susan Cain’s bestseller, Quiet, and Jennifer Kahnweiler’s Quiet Influence.
  • Research your MBTI personality type – not to embrace it as something you can’t change, but to learn how to work with your natural tendencies, silencing the critic in your head.

Do you live in a small community – or have a small community within a larger city? Think about what value you could add, and then take steps to make it happen.

  • Join something – a book club, a monthly entrepreneur’s lunch, a small group at your church. Get to know people and share your dreams with them – you never know where it will lead.
  • Expand your village – if you live in a small town (like I do), take it online. Ask for introductions, leave blog comments, start Twitter conversations. Online networking is an introverts best friend.

If what you’re good at doesn’t feel like work to you, there will be other things that stretch you. Make a list of the areas where you need help and start reaching out. It’s almost a given that someone you know needs what you have, and has what you need.

  • Offer a skill exchange – this is especially helpful in the early days of your dream following, when money is scarce. I’ve traded my skills as an editor and writer for graphic design from a talented friend.
  • Network for others – what goes around, comes around. Chances are, if you’re generous with your recommendations, someone will do the same for you when the opportunity arises.

Bottom Line. The critic in your head will always be there, but that doesn’t mean you have to let them win. Silence the critic, and listen to the real-life cheerleaders – they can see what your critic won’t allow you to see: your potential.