I worked with Ann as her coach as she was considering transitioning roles with her employer. She loved her specialism, her team and the clients she worked with. She enjoyed seeing her juniors grow into their talents and delivering new approaches to working in her clients’ organisations.

People wanted to be on her team and saw her as a role model of female management. Seniors had high hopes she’d be a rising star and become a Partner in due time. She commuted long hours and worked on the journeys to ensure everything was done to exacting standards. Her mobile was connected 24/7 just in case.

Just in case, anyone found her out. Ann feared being found as a fake, failing to achieve some invisible target or standard. She feared letting down her friends and family. Maybe she would be seen as lacking, not credible, not worthy of their time, respect or affection.

But Ann wanted more. More in her career and more in her life. We worked on busting those doubts and building empowering ways forward to create clarity, confidence and spaciousness.

Not enough: queue of people, one woman who is looking pensive

Do you recognise those kind of behaviours, thoughts and feelings too? That nagging sense of you’re not enough can be fleeting or more constant.

It might manifest in your body as an ache or cramp. It might affect your behaviours, such as avoiding eye contact or not engaging in discussions. You may find your thinking becomes foggier, hesitating in procrastination or self-critical. It’s also possible you might engage in people pleasing tactics or try to prove yourself by working extra hard.

All of these are where your inner Protector is working to keep you safe. It shows up for good reasons – you’ve identified potential risks. Maybe it is the possibility of being judged or rejected? Or the levels of complexity have gotten overwhelming.  You may fear disappointment – of others or yourself.

Your Protector has one purpose to help you avoid pain, upset, discomfort. It wants the very best for you. It supports your day to day healthy adult self to be, think and feel all the good stuff in life, and help you build resilience to the not so good stuff.

Not enough: seated queue of people. One woman looking anxious as she waits.

So when that icky feeling of not enough crops up or you spot yourself behaving or saying things that aren’t your authentic self, I want you to pause and slow breathing. You may even find closing your eyes helps you to connect with yourself. Lightly hold the sensations and feelings you’re experiencing for a moment and notice how as you breathe, they lessen their grip on you physically and mentally.

The Protector has no way to make your fears real. It simply wants to signal a risk to you. It isn’t the truth. So, what can you learn from your Protector?

Get specific – what exactly do you feel you’re not enough of? In what ways and in what circumstance?
 
Then flip it, when and how are you specifically enough, maybe even more than enough? How do you feel in that moment? What are you thinking and doing (not doing)? What do you believe? Make a note of this belief.
 
What can you choose to take from those moments into this uncomfortable one? How can you think, feel and do differently with that supportive, empowering belief? If you act from that belief what is possible? 
 

Hey guess what? The icky sensation of not enough has passed. You’re back in your more resourceful, powerful self, capable of compassion towards yourself and others, and able to take a small doable step forward. So, go on, take that true authentic step.

Not enough: women with head in her hands with people hodling out mobile, notepad, watch to her

His Holiness The Dalai Lama proclaimed at the Vancouver Peace summit in 2010, “The Western Woman Will Save The World”. He continued championing female leadership last year for International Women’s Day, saying “Since they are especially skilled in nurturing compassion and human values, we need women to take the lead in creating a more compassionate society.” 

You are a much needed person on this planet with all its challenges – you bring something no one else has or can do in your way. You are valued and loved in every way. We need more women, like you, to step out and lead – at home with their families and friends, in the workplace to drive collaboration and inclusivity, and in our wider communities such as sports clubs, religious groups and social activities.

You are needed. You are brilliant just as you are. You are enough. Come as you are.