Part 3: I don’t deserve to be successful
September 26, 2018
For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been writing about false guilt and particularly some belief systems behind false guilt that trip up some would-be great coaches.
Another negative belief that creates false guilt is:
“I don’t deserve to be successful.”
Let me tell you: it is impossible for a person who is weighed down by this belief to ever truly be successful. Even if the individual has some degree of success, it will never feel like it.
If this is your issue, I want to encourage you that it can be overcome. It just takes hacking your processing and embracing new beliefs.
Here is how you can do just that:
Why do I think it’s a bad starting place? Because the guilt associated with what we deserve or don’t deserve isn’t objective. Let’s face it: if I got Sean Connery to read you a laundry list of every reason why you deserve to be successful, it wouldn’t do a thing to touch your guilt, because false guilt isn’t reasonable.
So let’s start somewhere else. What if we start with the notion that much of what we have really isn’t merited?
In my own life, I know that is true. My great grandparents left the middle east in the late 1920’s and immigrated through Ellis Island with nothing but the clothes on their backs. And then the Great Depression hit.
Through some various decisions, they ended up moving to Honduras where a lot of Arab families settled and then my great-grandfather died. My great-grandmother was left alone to raise 7 children.
My grandfather emerged to be somewhat successful in terms of what was available on the island, but it was still a dangerous place with limited opportunities. He and my grandmother opted to move to the United States and start from scratch.
When I hear the harrowing details of how my own grandparents would go without so their kids could eat, when I think about how my own parents suffered through the recession of the 1980’s, what they would do to sacrifice for us as kids, I could very easily feel guilty. In fact, I did as a child. I can remember taking the $5 bill that I got for my birthday and sneaking it back into my dad’s wallet.
The funny thing is for a lot of years I found it difficult to be happy and think I deserved new clothes, new shoes, money for me to play little league baseball…and later I found it difficult to feel deserving of my grades for how little I had to study or how easy it was for me to land a job.
I know my parents, and they never wanted me to feel guilty. What they really wanted me to do was take ownership of the life that had been provided for me.
And that’s where I had to learn to live. I can’t take credit for where I was born, where I went to school, my appearance, my health, and a lot of other things that I received throughout my life.
What set me free was it really wasn’t about what I deserve. What it’s really about is what I’m doing with what I’ve been given.
Stewardship is how you hack your brain and get out of this perpetual cycle of false guilt.
I can remember an amazing man 20+ years my elder getting fired and his job being passed on to me – a 20 something. I’ll be honest: I felt guilty at first. But what I chose to do was steward that position and build the organization above and beyond what it had ever been.
Later in life as a successful coach, I’d have extraordinary favor with people that would push me to prestigious positions everywhere I went. I didn’t tell people: I can’t, because I don’t deserve it.
Instead, I led as a servant. I tried to figure out ways to promote and connect other people and other businesses through my influence. I did my best to give what I had.
I don’t have time for guilt, especially false guilt because it makes me feel bad even though I’ve done nothing wrong.
I’m never going to be in a position to pay things back that have been given to me, so I need to get over that. In fact, I’d say that everyone who’s given to me probably doesn’t want to be repaid.
But I do express gratitude. If that person is still living, I do that by simple thank you’s.
At times, I’ve called people – even a couple of my old clients – and I’ve said, “Hey I want to tell you about some of my recent success. I want you to know that this success is because of you. I’ve never forgotten!”
When someone praises you, receive the praise, and give other people credit along the way as well.
If I feel that false guilt come on, I use it as a prompt, and I’ll just raise my hands in the air and say: “Yes, that’s right, ‘I don’t deserve what I have and that’s incredible!'” And I’ll say “thank you! Thank you that I’m loved not simply for what I do, but for who I am!”
These two hacks were a gamechanger for me, and they caused me to keep my heart wide open for even more success.
You need to be excited about success, because you know as well as I do, that the more successful you are, the rest of the planet is going to benefit.
And that’s why You deserve it!