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“Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.” ~Malcolm S. Forbes

On a cold Canadian evening in March of 2005 I went to bed on a Tuesday and fell asleep, only to awaken on what I now know to be a Saturday—four days later.

Call it an extended nap.

It turned out carbon monoxide had leaked from a faulty furnace in my home. The poisonous gas was enough to rob me of consciousness for a while, but not quite enough to kill me.

I’ll spare you the details of the rescue and recovery process. Obviously, I survived, but it took years to right the capsized ship of my life. I felt completely unmoored from all I believed or held dear, adrift on some dark ocean, no shore in sight, my arms and spirit exhausted from the struggle to stay afloat.

It was a difficult few years. But it lent a clarity to things found only in hindsight sometimes.

Through my own journey, coupled with decades of in-depth work with thousands of people, I’ve come to believe there is really only one thing that counts along our individual life journeys, and it isn’t how much money you make, or your title, or where you live or what kind of car you drive. (Plenty of folks pay lip service to the notion, but fail to live it out loud.)

Believe me, none of that matters once you’re gone; you’ll have much bigger scoreboards than your bank account and much more interesting things to consider than losing that pesky belly fat and those love handles.

Ready? Here’s the essential question you will take a good hard look at when you leave this earth: Do you believe, at your core, that you’re “good enough” to be loved, respected, accepted?

“Many people think of perfectionism as striving to be your best, but it is not about self-improvement; it’s about earning approval and acceptance.” ~Brene Brown

We are acceptance-seeking organisms from the time we are conceived, submerged in our mother’s wombs, until we have completed our swim in the sea of life and landed on a distant shore.

And now we have all these amazing electronic mechanisms that keep us a swipe away from instant connection, constant streams of communication keeping us informed, but it has come with a cost. Two, actually:

  1. An increasing level of anxiety, the result of trying to do enough, be enough, have enough. And to do it, be it and have it faster, better and easier.
  2. An increasing belief that what you accomplish is more important than who you become along the way; that character comes second to success.

In our search to build bigger businesses, more followers, larger audiences—an emphasis on quantity rather than quality—an interesting question emerges: When is enough, enough? For that matter, what is enough?

  • When is enough money, enough to retire?
  • When is enough food, enough to survive a disaster?
  • When is the house clean enough?
  • When is enough love, enough to cure the addict in your life?
  • When is there enough time to do all the things you want to do—or the things you don’t?
  • When is enough external praise, enough to offset our internal doubts?

Our internal conversations revolve around these thoughts. I know because I’ve spent my life listening to you!

Underneath it all, people just want to believe they’re enough…smart enough, nice enough, good enough, “enough” to be loved and accepted…

And most of us try to achieve that feeling of being “good enough” through accomplishment and accumulation.

Though our attempts to achieve might be motivated by a myriad of wonderful altruistic reasons—provide for our families, contribute to worthy causes, etc.—our efforts (and worry) to achieve enough are based on a desire to alleviate anxiety.

Anxiety has become the disease du jour. And treating it has become a multi-billion dollar industry.

We try to reduce it by controlling our external environment (and prescription drugs), an environment that grows more and more uncertain everyday.

But there is no amount of ‘enough’ to offset internal anxiety through external control. It’s impossible. It’s futile. And it’s exhausting.

Perfectionism has no place on the road to acceptance..

Those who believe they already are enough don’t need to prove it.

And those who spend their time trying to prove it don’t believe it.

Easier said than done, but here’s my decade-long thoughtful recommendation: Get okay with uncertainty. Embrace it. Make it your friend.

And befriend your self-uncertainties. Everybody has them, but not everybody believes them.

Lastly, know you were enough the day you were born.

Don’t wait until your death to make that assessment.

“Scarcity of self value cannot be remedied by money, recognition, affection, attention or influence.” ~Gary Zukav

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