This question has appeared a number of times in the last few weeks and it concerns me.
This letter is to all graduates who ask themselves the question What if I'm not good enough?
Thank you for coming in, sharing a cofffee and your thoughts about the next steps in your adventure.
It's an amazing time.
Something like stepping off the edge and hoping that the parachute is in place and all the safety mechanisms have been locked in.
A little bit exciting. A little bit scary.
It's a life event and like all life events, it's worth savouring.
I must be honest though — when you asked me that question as you signed off, I felt that you were hiding an anxiety and angst about the next few years that you didn't let on during our conversation.
'What if I'm not good enough?'
I felt this question in my heart and I felt an enormous responsibility to give you an answer that was as meaningful as the question itself.
Dearest Graduate, we all have an image of ourselves that sometimes may not be true. It may not be real. We paint a picture rich with colour of who we are and how we want others to see us.
Our mind is an amazing thing and it can convince us of many things. Even a self image that sometimes may not be attainable.
A perfection that isn't real.
A promise that is false.
We all seek approval, confirmation, validation and we seek love. We all want to be cherished, adored, celebrated, awarded and commended for the good people we are and the good work we do. We all do.
These things are basic.
But as you and I both know, the simplest things are the most difficult to attain.
And sometimes they are the most difficult to explain.
Thinking that you may not be 'good enough' says so much; and let me tell it to you straight that there is no such thing as 'good enough' — not here, not there, not anywhere.
Trying to be 'good enough' is trying to seek approval from others. Trying to find validation in the opinions of others when in fact, we should be trying to find that validation from ourselves first.
Not some smart-arse Creative Director who fills their social media feeds with photos of award statues, after work drinks and meaningless drivel.
Not some dictatorial 'boss' who dangles carrots and fake senses of security.
If you're going to find the pot of gold at the end of the 'good enough' rainbow you'll be searching for a very long time. Trying to find the approval of everyone you meet in your career (or at least the people who will pay you your wage) is a never-ending endeavour that is doomed from the outset.
Consider this for a moment.
Consider that people's opinions — all our opinions — are simply thoughts. They exist in our minds and they can shift as quickly as they appear. They can be tainted if we've had a bad night's sleep and they can be swayed the other way if we have a belly filled with food and happily content with our lives.
Opinions are figments of our imaginations.
Opinions are random and in the scheme of things, rarely count for me anything. Opinions say more about the people who have them, then they do about you.
So, why then would we seek approval from others to bestow upon us the title of 'good enough'? Why would we be so beholden to people's imaginations?
If I had a single piece of advice for you it is to be independent of both the postive and negative opinions of others.
I would advise you to be clear on your values — the things that make you who you are — so clear in fact that you don't need, or seek the validation of anyone to confirm that you are 'good enough'.
And yes, there will be people who disagree with you. There will always be haters — and as they say, 'hater's gonna hate'.
'Good enough' is a losing game my dear Graduate and you have the choice to make. Right here, right now; a choice to play a winning game. A game that has your values at its centre, not the figments of imagination from complete strangers.
You will never control the thoughts, opinions and imaginations of other people. Never.
Dear Graduate these things are complex but they are real. Pave your own way, be true to your values and don't waste the moment being beholden to 'good enough'.
This is your chance to move forward. This is it.