Every day we ask ourselves questions like, “what class should I do tonight,” “what should I make for dinner” or “what should I watch on Netflix?” However, sometimes we may find ourselves mulling over more serious, deeper questions like, “am I good enough?” or “will I be alone forever?”
Though these kinds of questions may seem scary and worrisome, Personal and Leadership Coach Annie Nogg, and licensed psychologist Dr. Lawrence Beer helped us better understand what these questions may be and why they don’t necessarily need to be answered—or worried about.
Will I ever be successful?
“When it comes to the idea of success, we so quickly jump to the monetary aspects. Instead, let’s focus on how we define success more holistically,” Nogg says.
There are so many fundamental aspects of our lives, such as our careers, relationships and overall well being, all of which provide the opportunity for success. Think about what your definition of success is, the kind of life you want to live and how you can interact with the people around you in a positive way. If you’re worried about achieving success, by taking this perspective, you may realize how successful you already are and how you can continue moving closer to your personal definition of success.
Am I good enough? Will I fail?
According to Dr. Beer, it’s totally normal to have some anxiety around if you are good enough or what could happen if you fail. But what’s important is how you deal with these questions. “For example, often times, a person’s fear of failing will prevent them from even trying,” he says. In trying, he suggests you might learn the situation was not as scary as you anticipated and that you are more resourceful and resilient than you are aware of. Remember you have likely experienced challenging times in the past and have powered through them, so do your best to keep a positive outlook and to breathe (just like our instructor’s reminder us every class!).
Can I have an impact?
A lot of people have this question, especially surrounding their career and recent current events. To help determine what kind of impact you want to have on others and your community, Nogg suggests it may be helpful for individuals to establish a personal mission statement just as organizations do.
“However, our impact doesn’t have to be done in a grand, sweeping gesture,” he says. “It can come in the form of lot of little things, all leading toward the same purpose. We may also downplay the impact we’re already having.”
For example, the way you listen to and emphasize with your friends and peers (like a workout buddy!) who may need your encouragement can go a long way. Being present and empathetic can also have a great impact on our friends, peers and family members.
Will I ever find someone?
The most interesting part of this question that comes up in Nogg’s work with clients is that it so often relates back to how you are “courting” yourself. So often the feel of dating turns from fun to the self-conscious place of asking questions like, “how do I look? How should I act? What do others think of me?”
But, the question of finding someone always comes back to finding happiness within your own life. If you focus your strengths and do what you love, when you do find someone, it will be the icing on the cake rather than the whole cake.
To help feel less anxious when it comes to meeting someone, decide what you want your mantra to be. Nogg suggests “kick back and enjoy.” If you’re going on a date, try viewing it as an opportunity to connect with another person. Remove the seriousness of this specific person being “the one” and have fun being yourself.
Am I meant to be this way, or am I capable of changing?
Nogg often finds her clients asking if they should accept themselves the way they are, or if they are capable of changing. For example, if you stay up late working into the wee hours of the night, is it just the way you are or worth trying to change? She believes humans are absolutely capable of changing, but “a deep want to change, as well as an intrinsic reason for changing, must be present. If the motivation to change is coming from someone else telling you that you should, it’s unlikely the change will happen—at least in a lasting way.”
If you think there’s something you might want to change, ask yourself, “how is this serving me and how is it hurting me?” If it is hurting you more than serving you, it may be time to make an adjustment. If it’s working for you overall, why change it?