There I was standing in a book store staring at the non-fiction best sellers. I wanted to be inspired. I wanted to say to myself, “One day I’ll be on that wall.” But that’s not how I felt.
Instead I felt like an idiot. I thought, Who am I to offer wisdom in a world where such great minds exist?
The longer I stared at those books, the more defeated I felt. I wasn’t sure what to do.
So I pulled out my phone and sent an email to my coach. I told him how much I wanted to feel inspired instead of defeated and I asked him if he had any advice.
Here’s what he wrote:
Thank you for your question. I totally get how you feel and have felt this way for sure.
I will offer the one, SUPER simple distinction that changed all of this for me. It’s all about the difference between being worthy and being willing.
When I focus on being worthy, I do nothing but question my character, my relevance, my power and I’m sucked into the heaviness of validation, approval, and acceptance. And I end up wanting to give up and go back to a soul-sucking job just so I can prove to myself that I’m useful in some small way.
When I focus on being WILLING (to try things out, to lean into my edge, to not be tied to my SELF-worth being measured, or added to or subtracted from by others, to take action, JUST to take action – not for a result or a certain outcome), then I am in full control, ownership, and response-ability!
What if you stood in front of that wall and instead of questioning whether you’re WORTHY enough to be up there, you asked yourself if you were WILLING to continue to be you, to have fun, to SERVE whoever you have the opportunity to serve and to know that whatever comes as a result, it is exactly what was supposed to occur – because you created it that way.
His words hit me like a ton of bricks.
I’ve spent so much of my life worrying about being worthy, thinking that there must be something wrong with me that prevents me from finding the confidence and impact I long to create. And yet, when I create meaningful work, worthiness never enters the equation.
When I focus on serving, when I try to help others, and when I lead with curiosity it’s never a question of what I’m worth and entirely a question of what I’m willing to do.
A lot of successful people I know work themselves to the bone to prove they’re worthy of the blessings they have. They’re constantly in pursuit of more results so they can keep the feelings of doubt and shame at bay.
We love to talk about amazing and successful people who work tirelessly, but we never question the motivation that drives their efforts.
Working for worthiness is a endless game, because you can never prove your worth entirely through work. Success can give you confidence; traction can prove you have good ideas; and popularity can give you the illusion of love.
I can’t help but wonder what the world would be like if we stopped trying to prove our worth by getting more money, status, or reach, and instead focused on the amazing people we could become by showing up with a willingness serve.
Shout out to Jason Goldberg with Meotremy for his sage advice on being willing and on taking action.