One of the eternal questions that all job seekers, and frequently the population in general, ask themselves is: Am I good enough? Questioning the value and quality of one’s skills and life are important because doing so encourages us to think about what we can do to be better people; how we can improve our skills; and how to make ourselves more valuable in the workplace, and to others out in the world. Student, first time job seeker, experienced worker, senior executive or business owner, “Am I good enough?” is a universal question.
No one can answer the question for you; you must answer the question yourself. Yes, others will have opinions about you and the value/quality of your work/life. But ultimately, only you can determine if you are “good enough” and where you fit in to the perceived work and life spectrum. I say “perceived” because “good enough” is different for everybody – it’s relative. Armed with the same skill sets and experience, different people will have differing perceptions of their value.
Some people will see themselves as good enough, regardless of the real quality of their work, skills or life! Others will see themselves as good enough because they have a honed set of skills and experiences. Some will eventually be good enough given the right amount of time and circumstances, some will not. And then there are those who can’t/won’t recognize that they are good enough, for various reasons. Feelings of self-doubt, inadequacy and incompetence are not uncommon, and sometimes they have merit.
But while contemplating this question of “good enough”, other related queries arise: Is “good enough” enough? Will I get better over time? Do I need to be better before I can get my career started or get a promotion?
Your responses to these questions reveal quite a bit about how you see yourself and your preparedness for work and the world. Young or old, inexperienced or seasoned, at some point in your life, no matter your confidence, you will have to address these questions.
For the most confident, the answers will come easily, even if they don’t fully have the chops to back it up. There’s a lot to be said for confidence and it can take you pretty far. But eventually, such bravado might be recognized as confidence without competence.
Others see themselves as good enough because they have been working in the same field for a long time, have gained experience and industry insights that they can hopefully apply to achieve continued growth in their career, their industry and community. Those who have gained experience over time will likely continue to strive for higher levels of accomplishment and achievement. They have the confidence to know they are good at what they do, but don’t feel they need to worry about being good enough because they know there is always more to learn and more to do. For them, life is the journey, not the destination.
Many recognize that their abilities will improve over time, and they will put in the hard work necessary to achieve their goals and ambitions. They know it will take them longer than overnight and maybe even a lifetime to achieve the personal satisfaction of feeling like they are good enough, again seeing that achievement as a journey, not the destination.
Should you wait to start your career before feeling good enough? No! If you want to achieve something and you have the passion and inclination, you must find the drive, motivation and determination to make that dream of good enough a reality. You must start by heading in the direction where you want to make those achievements, and steadily move forward. Take baby steps or giant strides, but take definitive action! Figure out what it will take for you to attain your goal, and identify benchmarks along the way to mark your progress. Each achievement will ratify that even if you’re not yet good enough, you are at least getting better!
If you love what you do, you are more inclined to improve your skills, excel and move forward in your career. Unfortunately, not everyone has the luxury of loving their jobs.
But your motivation and aspiration should always be for you to be the absolute best that you can be, in everything you do! As for the question: “Are you good enough?” Again, only you can be the honest judge! If you answer in the affirmative, don’t forget that you can always be better!
And if you think it will help, recite the mantra of Al Franken’s old Saturday Night Live character, Stuart Smalley, who said: “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone It, people like me!” That’s a good thing to tell yourself every once in a while. And never let anyone tell you that you’re not good enough!