By Celeste Dean
Lead Consultant-Business Skills, PurpleLeap
I start one of my sessions with an activity asking students to draw their self-image where they represent themselves with the help of pictures. Most students from first to final year batches come up with some profound illustrations. Today, when I did this activity for one of my classes, a student represented himself with a candle. The candle denoted him, which gives light to others but lives in darkness itself. I was both elated and disturbed at the same time because this was coming from a 20 something boy who was just about to set foot in the ‘real world’.
In this century, boys and girls are conditioned to become renaissance men and women. They are expected to get good grades, sing or dance well, play at least one sport and one musical instrument. Even a 15 year old is expected to write a few decent computer codes. I know at least a couple of kids who can solder electrical wires and work with machinery at the age of 8. With so much happening in an average student’s life, at some point of time they are forced to assess, ‘How good is good enough’.
I met a young boy in his final year engineering in one of the colleges. He was low on confidence, soaked in self-pity and confused about what he is going to do with his life. Reason, he had drifted from 72% in his 12th standard to 57% by the end of 6 semesters. As I was talking to him about his resume, I probed about what he did as extra-curricular activities and projects. Gradually as he opened up he told me that he was a state level football player, has done a couple of jobs after his 12th standard and has done a couple of projects in his domain of study. It was terrible to know that none of these things he thought were worthy of being added on his resume because his GPA had fallen to 57%. In short he felt he is no good.
All of us who are reading this, whether we are a student, a young professional or a person who has been in the rat race for years now, how good is good enough for us? Do I draw a line for myself somewhere or I keep going on?
Surprisingly I have also heard from students that their unique competency is continuous learning. They want to ‘keep growing like a ladder reaching the skies and beyond’, as illustrated by another student for the same activity. Let’s consider this, if we were climbing a mountain which was covered with clouds that stopped our view of the summit and also did not give an understanding of how far we have moved up from the ground, how are we ever going to know how much distance we have covered and how far are we from the summit? We may very well be standing at the same place where we started.
Pausing at each milestone however will give us a clear idea of where we are in terms of the game plan of our lives. We need to give ourselves a break after achieving every short term goal in our life, to rejoice and to assess if it’s falling in line with our final blue print. Most of us don’t consider this as an important activity but doesn’t that makes us human different from machines? Every small victory is to be celebrated every small achievement is to be acknowledged. If we do this we will have the opportunity to tell ourselves that we are indeed good enough, good enough to have reached this milestone and adding another achievement in our life.
One of the essentials of goal setting is that our goals need to be measurable. The benefit of doing this is to know the before and after of goal setting which also gives an idea of how much we have moved from a certain point. And if we have moved ahead then there is certainly a reason to rejoice and feel proud of it.
So, the next time we encounter the feeling of ‘Am I good enough?’ we need to look back and see how far we have moved up from the base camp and if our mind is clouded we need to count the various milestones we have crossed, give a pat on our back and then pick up the harness and move ahead because the summit is yet far. Just pausing to acknowledge our achievements will provide enough fuel to motivate us to keep moving.
Remember, PAUSE – STROKE – ASSESS – MOVE.