A question that I have asked myself many, many times throughout the course of my life and certainly one in which I was challenged by again when starting mentokc. It is confronting to start a business and put yourself out there as that focal point!
To add some context to this story its probably important to tell you about some of the “stuff” I have done.
I am a butcher by trade, having been fast-tracked through my apprenticeship, due to my application to the learning.
I have been in leadership and management positions across a number of different sectors for over 15 years. Working with teams varying in size from one to hundreds. Getting success and achieving organisational outcomes, empowering, growing and developing people.
Looking for different opportunities to prove and show myself that I was good enough. With my wife, I have built a business, scaled the business and had that business acquired/merged with another business.
Academically, I was a late bloomer thinking that I wasn’t good enough, wasn’t smart enough to achieve in this space. I started studying in my late 20’s.
Along the way, my thought process was “I’ll just get my diploma and then I’ll be good enough”.
Then it morphed to “I’ll get my degree and then I’ll be good enough”.
Next came “I’ll just get my master’s and then I’ll be good enough”.
Followed closely by “I’ll just get provisional entry into doctoral study and then I’ll be good enough”.
Where do these thoughts of not being good enough come from?
Sometimes labels/diagnosis help us in sense-making, here’s my diagnosis “major depressive disorder with psychomotor retardation”. Well, in 2010 it was anyway.
I have struggled most of my life with anxiety and depression.
At different points in time, I have been in the grips of Beck’s cognitive triad with negative views about the world, negative views about the future, negative views about oneself.
I am in an excessively fortunate position in which I have a loving and supportive family who took time out from their lives to care for me in the periods when I was very unwell. Along with very supportive friends who cared and continued to show up even when I tried to push them away. Most importantly, I have an exceptionally loving and strong wife who never gave up on me, who dragged me, carried me, when I gave up on myself, without her I fear I would be lost.
The problem with labels
The issue that can arise with labels is that they tend to marginalise, stigmatise, and dehumanise.
I have experienced this due to my diagnosis and often the stigmatisation that occurs is meant with the utmost care and best of intentions.
I have also been extremely fortunate to have worked in the disability sector with some amazing people. Through this, I have seen first-hand how people can be stigmatised and limited through nativity, ignorance and lack of understanding.
The trouble being, as Jim Kwik would suggest, “labels limit people and if you fight for the labels hard enough you get to keep them”.
We need to look beyond those labels to the person and their limitless potential.
What’s the lesson?
With all the learning I have done over the years, the most important thing that I have learned is that, I am good enough.
As a matter of fact, I always have been.
My thinking and my mindset got in the way of the overwhelming evidence and the plethora of people telling me and showing me that I was.
Why share now?
You will see that I am posting this as a part of my business, I do this for a number of reasons.
My business is an extension of me. The underlying values, beliefs, assumptions that make up my business are my own.
I am wholeheartedly intent on doing business my way and giving myself permission to be true to myself. Being open, vulnerable, and sharing my story is a part of this.
I know without a shadow of a doubt that there are many people out there who are questioning if they are good enough. A core value for me is adding value to those people and help them to achieve.
I am proud of the person that I am and the path that I have followed. I refuse to continue to allow myself to limit myself with faulty cognitions and beliefs and the shame or stigma that can be associated with mental illness.
There is still stigma associated with mental illness.
The ability to talk about mental illness and normalise it is important. One in five of us will be diagnosed with a mental illness within our lifetime. Anxiety and depression are the most common, but everyone’s experience of it is different. That does not take into account the number of people who are suffering in silence and who don’t feel they can talk about what they are experiencing.
Mental illness didn’t happen to me, it happened for me.
I am a better person, a better leader, a better consultant because of what I have experienced and I have better relationships due to it.
So, am I good enough?
That’s me team, I’m perfectly imperfect. No better and no worse than anyone else.
I just seek purpose and meaning and to be the best version of myself. I have achieved many things despite myself and I will continue to seek to achieve more things supporting myself.
If you’re in a leadership role and struggling with similar thoughts, get in touch to discuss how working with me in a leadership training capacity can help.
Where to get help
1737, Need to talk? Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor
Lifeline – 0800 543 354 or (09) 5222 999 within Auckland
Samaritans – 0800 726 666
Suicide Crisis Helpline – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
What’s Up – 0800 942 8787 (for 5–18 year olds). Phone counselling is available Monday to Friday, midday–11pm and weekends, 3pm–11pm. Online chat is available 7pm–10pm daily.
Kidsline – 0800 54 37 54 (0800 kidsline) for young people up to 18 years of age. Open 24/7.
thelowdown.co.nz – or email firstname.lastname@example.org or free text 5626
Anxiety New Zealand – 0800 ANXIETY (0800 269 4389)
Rural Support Trust – 0800 787 254 (0800 RURAL HELP)
Supporting Families in Mental Illness – 0800 732 825