No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. – Eleanor Roosevelt

Some years ago, I was asked by the women’s network of an international bank to speak at their monthly meeting about creativity, finding your passion and work-life balance. When I met the two women, I was impressed by their professionality, their corporate position and the way they seemed to manage their own work life balance. When I am in such meetings, I have a tendency to fall back into one of my default settings, which makes me go ‘Who do I think I am?… to be telling them anything about work, making it, or any balance at all’.

As the discussion moved on from creativity to me telling them with excitement about my upcoming retreat and my passion for coaching, one of them wanted to know more and afterwards signed up for private coaching sessions.

And it got me thinking. Here I was, feeling inferior to these women, yet they perceived me professional enough to be coaching and teaching them something.

WHY? Why is there this gap between what we feel we are or deserve, and what others perceive us to be?

Why do we women have this tendency of feeling inferior, of belittling ourselves, of making excuses for something others don’t even see?

As with every default setting, I have learned to deal with it. It just surprises me from time to time.

WHY you should beat your inferiority feelings

  1. Because you are great at what you do
  2. Because the world needs your ‘art’
  3. Because you are unique and only you can do the things you do
  4. Because often enough you’re the only one who thinks you’re inferior
  5. Because only by doing will you learn and get better
  6. Because you only have this one, precious life
  7. Because it will make you grow
  8. Because you have power
  9. Because your playing small does not serve the world
  10. Because you can do this

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. ― Marianne Williamson, Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”
(please feel free to replace God by any other term)

HOW you should beat your inferiority feelings

  1. Get a coach: she will help you work through your fears, default settings and blocks
  2. Do one thing every day that scares you. It gets you out of your comfort zone and used to stepping up.
  3. Smile at strangers. Simple to say but hard to do.
  4. Take imperfection action.
  5. Ask yourself: what is the worst that can happen? Most of the time the worst is really not all that bad.
  6. Ask yourself: will I regret this later in life if I don’t do this? If the answer is even the slightest yes, then go do it now!
  7. Ask yourself: what is the very next step? No need to go and put that thing in the world in one go. Just take the very next step. It creates momentum.
  8. Talk to someone you admire, someone who has done this, someone you trust. Get ideas.
  9. Ask for help. Talk to your boss, a professional who might be able to help you.
  10. Sign up for trainings such as: presentation skills, confidence boost, etc.
  11. Bring your idea to a collaborative hub and get the opinions of entrepreneurs, creatives and other startups.
  12. Get a partner. Doing something together with someone else makes it easier.
  13. Name the elephant: just tell people you are scared or feel inferior, be open and share your doubts. A whole new world will open up in front of you as you will realize that you are not alone!
  14. Write affirmations and practice them.
  15. Just do it! Dare!

Additional reading material: