For the better portion of my adult life I was convinced that there was a scoreboard and that I was always on the losing side.
I allowed the scoreboard to enable my perfectionism. This meant that I didn’t try things I couldn’t be great at right away; I didn’t create things for fear of criticism, comparison or being found out as a fraud.
I spent so much time staring at the scoreboard that I didn’t have any time left to look at myself. I had no idea how to do that.
And then a confluence of events created an opening for another way; a challenging professional opportunity and lots of difficult, necessary feedback put a crack in my facade, the one I had constructed to make up for my losing score.
That difficult feedback and the crack that came with it also came with an invitation for the kind of rigorous support that can repair the crack or at least contain its spread. Mentoring, counseling, friendship were made available to me in abundance for long enough that I could finally learn to mentor, counsel and befriend myself.
Here’s what I know: there was no scoreboard. There was only an adaptation to feelings of shame that led me to believe that I would not be, could not be, good enough.
But I was, and I am.
And so are you.
If you’re busy watching the score, please try to remind yourself that it’s not real; that there are good mentors, counselors and friends who will stand with you if you let them, and who will help you train your gaze on something much more worthy of your attention: your whole and healed self.
DAVID BERRY is the author of “A More Daring Life: Finding Voice at the Crossroads of Change” and the founder of RULE13 Learning. He speaks and writes about the complexity of leading in a changing world.